Excerpt of P.A.W.S. by Debbie Manber Kupfer
Vienna, October 2, 1941.
Today was Celia’s tenth birthday. This was not how she imagined celebrating it. She was with her family – her mama, Miriam; her papa, David; her elder brother, Issel; and her baby sister, Sara. They were huddled together in the back room of their tiny two-room apartment in Grosse Spielgasse, in the dark, barely breathing.
Outside the building, the boot steps got nearer and nearer. Celia heard shouting, screaming, gunshots. She crouched down even closer to the ground, wishing that somehow they could all melt away into the shadows. Celia clutched her cat, Max, tightly in her arms, feeling his warmth, his soft tabby fur close to her skin, willing him to stay quiet.
Her mama cradled little Sara at her breast, nursing her so she would not cry out. Outside, the pounding footsteps were getting closer, closer: “Juden…
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