a homeless child especially one forsaken or orphaned
The midwife looked from the witch's hovel to the dirty, uncombed
waifs, already cooing at the infant in her arms.
cry weakly or softly
Whimpering, he stood, taking hesitant steps until he came upon a procession of fir trees that formed an immense circle.
feeling great delight
Eins, Zwei, and Drei held one another’s hands, their faces
in deplorable condition
The cottage was dank and
ramshackle; the witch never replaced a thatch.
hard monotonous routine work
The sisters hod two consolations in their lives of
an abstracted state of absorption
But whenever he felt afraid, he secretly took the harmonica from its hiding spot, played a song, and escaped into its
reverie, feeling the familiar sense of happiness and comfort, that peculiar and euphoric well-being.
allow without opposing or prohibiting
Father would never have
tolerated this posture.
obvious to the eye or mind
But it made Friedrich feel less
conspicuous, even if he was more vulnerable to things in his path.
having spots or patches of color
And on one side, his skin was like everyone else’s, but on the other, a painter had dabbed shades of purple, red, and brown, turning his cheek into a
a person employed to keep watch for some anticipated event
And the fat water tower—a stodgy obelisk standing
sentry over the entire enclave—was his guardian in disguise.
capable of being perceived
The energy inside the factory was
marked by or composed of disconnected parts or sounds
As Friedrich and Uncle Gunter entered the massive hall—part warehouse and part assembly-room floor—Friedrich listened to the comforting whir of saws interrupted by the
staccato sound of metal being punched.
provoke as by constant criticism
They’d only exchanged a few pleasantries since he had started at the factory, but he seemed to enjoy
of heaven or the spirit
The harmonica had a rich,
ethereal quality—the same alluring sound he’d heard earlier in the graveyard room.
marked by quiet and caution and secrecy
Would he be able to sit in a classroom with students he’d never met? Even if he could endure the
furtive glances and downcast eyes, what would be the point anyway?
the inherent capacity for coming into being
“They will be lucky to have your talent,” said Elisabeth. “And now, more than ever, Germany needs its true citizens to rise to their
potential to be shining examples.”
express a negative opinion of
disparage an instrument that goes back to the ancient Chinese sheng.
sing or play with trills
The cuckoo clock
diffusing warmth and friendliness
At first, Uncle Gunter was
genial and asked questions about Elisabeth’s work.
make believe with the intent to deceive
Feigning tiredness, he put on his coat and picked up his accordion.
deficient in color suggesting physical or emotional distress
“What’s wrong? You look
a symbol of disgrace or infamy
She had an aunt with the same type of birthmark, and knew that it would be burden enough. Adding the
stigma of epilepsy would be too much.
violent uncontrollable contractions of muscles
Some people think the
convulsions are caused by demons or insanity and that it’s not a medical condition.
the violation of a law or a duty or moral principle
Every doctor has been ordered to report all of their patients with physical deformities, alcoholism, mental illnesses, blindness, deafness, epilepsy—there’s a list of
a hypothesis that has been formed by conjecturing
“There is already
speculation about how many will actually survive this surgery. Who is to say they won’t just kill people the Nazis think are undesirable, to create Hitler’s so-called pure race?”
being against something that you disapprove or disagree with
And when I’m around, Father, I request that you speak favorably of Hitler, or say nothing. I need to believe that you might join the party, so that when I am questioned about my family by my superiors—and I will be questioned—I can say that I have no reason to suspect you of
lacking warmth and generosity of spirit
In the broken chords, he heard the rhythm of Father and Elisabeth’s argument. The alternating notes—their banter back and forth—rose and fell. The music was as precise as their conversation had been
worthy of imitation
“They appreciate me. For my knowledge as a nurse, for my moral character and
exemplary behavior. I’m ... I'm somebody to them.”
Anger and sadness choked Friedrich. His words came out
conformity with some aesthetic standard of correctness
Father and Elisabeth tripped over the
niceties of civil conversation.
greatly exceeding bounds of reason or moderation
Any injustice the Nazis impose on the Jews, they will impose on you, or anyone else they deem undesirable. It is
an exemption from some rule or obligation
He said if you’re admitted, we can ask a conservatory representative to write a letter on your behalf—a
dispensation letter. Apparently, Hitler and the Nazis make concessions for ‘loyal and true Germans of great aptitude.’ Your musical ability could be your saving grace.
occurring by happy chance
fortuitous has happened, Friedrich. I called a few friends to see if they’d join me to play some impromptu chamber music tonight and they’ve agreed.”
a collection of works that an artist or company can perform
“Before we talk about the
repertoire,” said Father, “Friedrich has agreed to play something for you at my bidding.”
an officer in charge of a military unit
For heaven’s sake, Martin, my brother is the new regional
commandant for the Nazi police.
someone who shares your feelings or opinions
I cannot risk being thought a
sympathizer. I cannot even be in the same house with a Jew. If anyone thought I was colluding...
doubt about someone's honesty
Friedrich and I will go to work as usual ... go to the bank and take out money, but not enough to arouse
suspicion ... luggage packed and ready ...
occurring in spells and often abruptly
The next morning on the way to work, Friedrich was shadowed by worry and exhaustion; he’d hardly slept, and when he had, it was
deprive of freedom; take into confinement
He and Uncle Gunter had hoped Father would be questioned and released the next day or the following. When he wasn’t, they mulled the same questions over and over: Was Father being
detained in town?
steal goods; take as spoils
Every room had been searched and turned upside down; every drawer and closet had been
a deceptive maneuver, especially to avoid capture
That Martin and I are eager to join the Nazi Party. That you will join the Hitler Youth. And that you need help for your father’s sake, to bring him back into Germany’s arms. Part of it would be a
ruse. But what difference would it make if it saves Martin’s life?
knowing how to avoid embarrassment or distress
“She asked for my
discretion in the matter.”
someone sent on a mission to represent another's interests
If Mrs. von Gerber hadn’t been trustworthy, Elisabeth could be the one questioned next. I think we can assume she won’t be our
take temporary possession of a security by legal authority
You can take nothing of sentiment or value or it will be
confiscated by the Nazis, except for the Reichsmarks, of course.
disposed or willing to comply
I suspect the commandant at Dachau will feel more
amenable right before Christmas, too.