What Was Happening

Summary: This tells what was happening in Providence with the Hansen family, and with Elizabeth Corday in England during The Diary.

August 4, 1944

Providence, Rhode Island.

While Syd was being taken away to a concentration camp with the Frank family and the Van Daan's Joanie Hansen stood at the kitchen window of her father's house, her five-year-old daughter beside her. It had been two years since Joanie had seen or heard from her older sister Syd, after Syd had been selected to go over to Amsterdam to help the Jews and the people in need. Joanie hadn't wanted her sister to go, but Syd had insisted. Being the sister that she was, always supporting her sister in whatever she wanted to do, Joanie hadn't argued much.
"Mommy, I'm hungry," five-year-old Hannah said. She looked up at her mommy with questioning eyes.
Joanie smiled down at her daughter. She was glad Hannah didn't understand what was going on in the world. She was glad that Hannah was unaware of the horrible killings and bombings that had been going on lately.
"Mommy!" Hannah pulled at her mommy's skirt, sounding more persistent by the moment.
"OK, sweetie," Joanie said gently. She got out the pan and began preparing breakfast, hoping that would take her mind off Syd.
Then Jim Hansen walked in with the family dog, Fearless. He unhooked the leash and let Fearless loose. "Morning, girls! Joanie, did you take down the black out curtains?"
"Yes," Joanie replied. She hated to put up the curtains. They made everything so dark, but now it was important, just in case they were to be bombed.
"I got a letter from Robbie," Jim said.
Joanie smiled. Her younger brother Robbie was off in England, fighting, and had written them several times in the past month. "How is he?"
"He said he saw Elizabeth Corday the other day," Jim said.
"Really?" Joanie said. "I wonder if she's heard from Syd. Dad, it's not like Syd not to write."
"I know, but Syd is very busy, helping all those people," Jim said. He opened the letter and began reading.
Joanie tried to listen as her father read the letter from Robbie, but her mind kept wandering back to Syd. Was she hurt, safe, scared? Joanie wished her sister would write, just to let them know she was OK.

London, England:

Elizabeth Corday sighed as she came into the living room of the small apartment she shared with her husband Mark and their one-year-old daughter Ella.
"Hello?" Elizabeth called as she came into the house.
"Mommy," Ella said. She ran to her mother and hugged her.
Elizabeth smiled and picked up her daughter, who laughed happily. Ella didn't know all the horrible things Elizabeth had seen, and she hoped Ella would never know.
"Hi," Mark said. "How was work?"
"OK," Elizabeth said. "I saw Robbie Hansen, Syd's brother."
"How is he?" Mark asked. He took Ella from Elizabeth, and Elizabeth sat down on the couch.
"Fine," Elizabeth said. "Listen, Mark, I need to discuss something with you. It's very important."
"We'll do it after dinner. Ella and I made dinner," Mark said.
Elizabeth gave Mark an amused look. "Oh, really?"
"Yes," Mark said. "Well Ella wasn't much help, she spilled the beans all over the floor, but I managed to save them."
Elizabeth laughed. "I bet."
Mark carried his daughter into the kitchen and Elizabeth followed.

After dinner, they settled down on the couch. Ella was asleep, so Mark and Elizabeth could talk quietly.
"What is it you wanted to discuss?" Mark asked his wife.
Elizabeth looked down at her hands, not wanting to bring up the subject. "Mark, I was offered to go to Germany to help at the concentration camps, to be a medical person. Mark, those people are suffering over there, and they have no one."
"Elizabeth, if you try to help them then you might suffer the same fate, and Ella needs her mother," Mark said. "Where would you be working?"
"In the camps, I don't know where yet, but I know that the conditions are very bad. I feel this is something I have to do."
"I think you've been hanging around Syd Hansen too long," Mark joked. "Speaking of Syd, did Robbie say how she was doing?"
Elizabeth shook her head. "No, he didn't. He hasn't heard from her in a while. She's been over in Amsterdam helping the Jews."
"Wow, that's got to be rough on the family," Mark said. "Elizabeth, if this is something you want to do, I won't hold you back. But I don't want to lose you."
"I'll be careful, I promise," Elizabeth said.
"When do you leave?" Mark asked.
"Sometime this month," Elizabeth replied. She sighed; she hoped she was doing the right thing.

Several weeks later: The Dock in London, England.

Elizabeth turned to Mark as the whistle sounded for everyone to board the boat.
"Just be careful," Mark said. He kissed Elizabeth on the cheek and gave Ella to her.
"Bye, sweetie," Elizabeth said to her daughter. She hugged her tight for a moment and then gave her back to Mark. She boarded the boat with tears in her eyes. She couldn't believe she was doing this, but she felt she had to. Elizabeth sighed as the boat started to pull away from the dock; she wondered what lay ahead.

AUSCHWITZ Concentration Camp: November, 1944

Syd Hansen laid on her bunk next to Anne Frank. The temperature was beginning to drop, making everything worse then it already was.
"It's so cold," Anne whispered. "And I'm so hungry."
"I know," Syd whispered, her voice shaking. "But hopefully they'll give us something soon."
"It's been two days," Anne wept. "Margot is so weak, I don't think she can last much longer."
"Hey, don't talk like that, we're all going to be fine," Syd said, trying to sound strong, for Anne's sake. She wished her father were here to help her figure out the right thing to do. Syd felt tears coming to her eyes as she thought of her family and how worried they must be at that moment. She hadn't written in two years because it was too dangerous. She'd started a letter while in hiding with the Franks, but Miep had said that it was too dangerous to send out. Syd regretted not sending it and she hoped that someone had found it and had sent it for her.
"Anne, there's someone here to see you," Mrs. Van Daan said. Mrs. Van Daan had found Anne and Syd a few days ago and was now bunking with them. "I think it's your friend Hannah."
"Hannah?" Anne whispered. "Come on, Syd, I want you to meet her."
Syd followed Anne to the fence.
"Anne, is that you?" Hannah whispered.
"Yes, it's me," Anne said, almost in tears. "This is my friend Syd Hansen from the US."
"What are you doing here?" Hannah asked. "I thought you were in Switzerland?"
"That was just a story, so that they wouldn't come looking for us," Anne said. "We were hiding in Father's attic."
"Oh, Anne," Hannah said.
"It's so cold and there's no food."
"Oh, Anne," Hannah wept. "I can't believe this is happening, it's so unfair."
"We have to go, the guards," Anne said. "I will see you tomorrow then?"
"Yes, tomorrow," Hannah said.

At a Dock in Germany:

Elizabeth steps off the train that has taken her from Amsterdam to Germany. She is about to meet the person who will show her where she will be working.
"Dr. Corday, I presume," the man said.
"Yes," Elizabeth said.
"I am Dr. Fisher. I will be helping you and showing you where we are going. This is a very dangerous mission, are you prepared for it?"
"Yes," Elizabeth said, trying to keep from crying.
"The Nazis, or anyone else, for that matter, may take this as not a good sign. I speak some German and some Dutch, what about you?"
Elizabeth shook her head. "No, I'm afraid not."
"I'll translate for you then," Dr. Fisher said. "Our first stop is a camp in Poland."
Elizabeth followed Dr. Fisher, hoping he knew what he was doing.

Soon, they arrived at the camp in Poland and were led through a wired fence.
"These people have food, but some of them are very sick," Dr. Fisher said.
Elizabeth looked around. She could see people walking around, in nothing but oversized clothes. Then she heard shouting and saw everyone getting in a line.
"This is Dr. Corday and Dr. Fisher, They have come to check you over for transport," the guard screamed.
Elizabeth shuddered at his tone of voice. What did he mean by transfer? Were these people being taken somewhere else?
"Dr. Corday, you may proceed, but make it quick," the guard barked. He turned to Fisher. "I'm doing you a favor, do your stuff and get out. I could get in major trouble for this."
"Best get to work," Dr. Fisher said.
Elizabeth stood there, amazed at how horrible this place looked. After looking everyone over, Elizabeth was able to sit and talk with some of the people, as long as there were no guards nearby.
"Are you going to be here long?" Hannah asked.
"I don't know," Elizabeth replied. "I'm lucky I was able to help. What's your name?"
"Hannah," Hannah said. "And I have a sister named Gabby, she has an infection."
"I think I saw her today," Elizabeth said. She noticed the girl was shivering, but there was nothing Elizabeth could do.
"It's all so horrible," Hannah continued. "My friend Anne Frank is in a lot worse shape than I am. She's just across the fence, over there." Hannah pointed to the fence and Elizabeth followed her gaze. "She says they haven't eaten for days, and I gave her some food, but it was stolen. Her sister Margot is very sick and there's nothing I can do to help her." Hannah started crying. "They cut her hair off, she loved her hair."
Elizabeth put an arm around her, not sure what to say. She'd never seen anything so horrible and cruel.
"I'm meeting her tonight," Hannah said. "Maybe, if you're quiet, you can check her out."
"I'll try," Elizabeth promised.

Syd, Anne and Margot lay on the bunk later that night. The wind was blowing, making the room feel like ice.
"Anne, wake up, Hannah is here to see you," Mrs. Van Daan said, shaking Anne awake.
Anne got up and went to the fence where Hannah was waiting.
"Anne?" Hannah asked.
"I'm here," Anne whispered.
"Where's your friend?" Hannah asked.
"Inside, she's too weak to come out," Anne replied, shivering from the cold. "Did you bring it?"
"Yes," Hannah said. She threw the package over the fence.
"I got it," Anne said. She unwrapped the package. "Thank you so much."
"I have a friend I want you to meet," Hannah said. "This is Dr. Elizabeth Corday, she's been checking us over because we might get selected to go on the transport."
Anne nodded. "You're going away? I have so much to tell you."
"Me too," Hannah said.
"Hi, Anne," Elizabeth whispered. "Don't worry, I won't hurt you."
"Are you a doctor?" Anne asked.
"Yes," Elizabeth replied.
"My sister Margot and my friend are very weak and sick," Anne said. She started crying. "There's been no food for days. I have to go, the guards." Anne disappeared before Hannah or Elizabeth had a chance to say anything.

"Who was her friend?" Syd asked Anne the next morning as they waited for role call.
"I don't remember her name," Anne said. "But she was British, Elizabeth something?"
"Oh," Syd said. She shivered. "Maybe she can find a way to get us out of here."
"I don't think we're going to be going anywhere anytime soon," Anne said.
"Anne, I wish you wouldn't talk like that," Syd said. "Your father wouldn't want you to."
"I know," Anne whispered.
"Number 3457," the guard barked.
Syd raised her hand, too weak to say anything. The guard looked at her and moved on. Would she ever get out of this alive?

That afternoon, Elizabeth came back to the camp and found Hannah with her sister Gabby.
"Are you going on the transport?" Elizabeth asked her.
Hannah shook her head. "I don't know. Anne wasn't there last night, I'm so worried."
Elizabeth put an arm around her, not sure what to say. "I'm sure she's fine."
"You don't know these people, Dr. Corday," Hannah said, tears rolling down her cheeks.

Across the fence, Syd and Anne sat by what little fire they had, shivering. Syd was so weak she could barely move, and she knew Anne was feeling it, too.
"Poor Pim," Anne muttered. Pim was Anne's nickname for her father.
"I'm sure your father's fine," Syd said through chattering teeth.
"I itch all over," Anne said.
"I know, me too," Syd said. She tried to stand up. "Let's go check on Margot."
Anne nodded, and they leaned on each other for support.

In Providence:

Joanie sat in the living room, watching the birds and thinking about Syd. She'd decided to close the shop early, since no one wanted to shop in the nasty weather. Then Jim came into the room, with Fearless at his heels.
"Hi," Jim said. "Are you OK?"
Joanie turned around. "Fine, I guess I'm just really worried about Syd."
"I'm sure she's fine," Jim reassured her. "Syd's strong, she can take care of herself."
Joanie wiped the tears that had slowly been working their way down her cheeks. "Yeah." She hoped her father was right.

Concentration Camp:

"Come, Hannah brought her friend," Anne said. She got up and headed outside.
Syd followed her, weakly. She came to the fence and saw Hannah.
"Hannah?" Anne whispered.
"Here," Hannah whispered. "How are you?"
"Its so cold, there's no food. My clothes have lice crawling all over them," Anne said, crying. "Where's your friend?"
"She's coming," Hannah said. "I got a care package today, I'll go get it and bring Elizabeth out to meet you. She's a doctor."
Syd wondered if Hannah was talking about Elizabeth Corday and if she was, then Syd couldn't let her friend see her like this. "Anne I'm going to go back inside."
"No, stay here," Anne pleaded.
"Anne?" Hannah asked.
"Here," Anne answered.
"Here, I'm going to throw it over," Hannah said.
"Be careful," Syd warned.
Hannah threw the food over but neither Syd nor Anne could catch it. Suddenly a person emerged from the darkness.
"Hey!" Syd screamed. She tried to get the food away from the person but the person was too quick.
"Anne what's happening?" Hannah asked. "I have Elizabeth with me."
"He stole our food," Anne said, in tears.
"I'll try again, not tomorrow but the next day," Hannah promised. "Where's Syd?"
"She went chasing after the thief," Anne said.
Syd came back to the fence, collapsing beside Anne. "He's too quick."
"Its OK," Hannah said. "I'm going to try again. I have Elizabeth with me."
"Hi," Anne said to Elizabeth. "I have Syd with me."
"Anne, the guards," Syd screamed. "We have to go, NOW."
"Syd?" Elizabeth called. She saw a shadow on the other side of the fence. "Syd, is that you?"
"I'll talk later," Syd whispered. She pulled Anne by the arm. "Let's go."
Elizabeth couldn't believe it. It was Syd and Elizabeth wondered how Syd had gotten mixed up in this horrible mess.
"We have to go," Hannah said. She started walking back toward the barracks.
Elizabeth followed her, still in a daze, still thinking about Syd.

Two months later:

Syd walked out of the camp, Anne and Margot not with her. Both girls had died two weeks earlier, leaving Syd alone. Syd was still dressed in the striped suit and was still very weak from the lack of food and sleep. She couldn't believe that she had survived that horrible place, but she had. Syd boarded the train with the other survivors and waited until she would arrive in Amsterdam, and possibly go home. She hadn't seen or spoken to Elizabeth since that night at the fence and she had so much to tell her.
Soon, she arrived in Amsterdam, surprised to see Otto Frank waiting for her.
"Syd!" Mr. Frank said. He hugged her.
"I'm so surprised to see you here, I thought...." Syd didn't finish her sentence. "Where are Peter and Mr. Van Daan?"
"Gone, I am the only survivor," Mr. Frank said. "What about the girls?"
Tears wailed up in Syd's eyes. "Margot and Anne won't be coming back." Syd saw tears in Mr. Frank's eyes. "They were both very sick."
"My wife, Margot, but Anne, I still hoped she would make it," Mr. Frank said. He took Syd's arm, to support her. "I was just heading to the hiding place."
Syd nodded and followed him to the place where the fear had begun, the place where she'd gotten to know Anne and her family. They walked through the building, and up the stairs to the attic. Syd opened the door quietly and stepped in. She heard voices and saw Miep sitting at the table.
"Mr. Frank," Miep said. She hugged him. Then she noticed Syd. "Syd, I was so afraid you wouldn't be coming back, where are the girls?"
"Margot and Anne won't be coming back" Syd managed to whisper. She felt tears come to her eyes once again.
Miep put a hand to her mouth. "Otto, I'm so sorry. They searched the place, but I was able to save your papers and Anne's diary." Miep handed Otto Anne's diary and he took it, hesitantly.
"Syd, we found a letter you'd started to your family. It was on the floor," Miep said.
Syd looked at her. "You didn't tell them, did you?"
"No, that's not something you reveal in a letter," Miep said. "Syd, do you know what you will do?"
"Go home, to Providence," Syd said almost immediately. She looked around and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. Her hair was just above her neck. It had started to grow back several weeks ago, but no one had bothered to cut it. She still looked pale and had the striped suit on. Syd looked at the number on her arm, which would remain with her for always. She still looked pale and sick, and would probably look that way for a while.
"I have to leave Amsterdam," Otto muttered. "Too many memories for me here."
"But Mr. Frank this is your home, Amsterdam is your home," Miep pleaded.
"Well if you're up to it maybe you could go back to Providence with me," Syd suggested. "If you want to. You are the only one who knows what happened and I'm not ready to break the news to my family just yet."

A week later the two boarded the boat that would take them to America and then the train that would take them to Providence. After much convincing Syd had finally managed to talk Mr. Frank into coming to Providence. Syd had written her family for the first time in two years, but didn't know if the letter was there yet.
"Providence is a wonderful city," Syd explained. She still had the striped suit with her and she hadn't regained all of her strength back.
"I can't wait to see it," Mr. Frank said. "I know Anne would have loved it."
Syd began to cry softly, thinking about Anne and Margot and about the horrible place that had killed them.
"Syd I know things are going to be very rough for awhile, for us both," Otto said. He touched her softly on the arm. "A week doesn't solve everything."
"I can't seem to get my strength back, and I still look so pale," Syd observed.
"That will heal in time," Otto said gently. "Anne looked up to you, you were like a mother to her."
Syd smiled, tears coming to her eyes. "Thanks."
Soon they reached the Providence train station. Syd got off with the help of another passenger.
"Do you see anyone you know?" Mr. Frank asked as he stepped off after Syd.
"Not yet, I don't even know if my family got the letter. I think Miep was going to wire them," Syd replied. She leaned on Otto for support both were still very weak.
"Syd!" Syd heard someone shout. She turned to see Joanie running up to her, a huge smile on her face. "I can't believe its really you, I thought I'd never see you again?" Joanie hugged her sister so hard Syd almost fell over.
"Joanie," Syd said. "I'm fixing to fall."
"Sorry," Joanie said. She let go of her sister and looked at her. "Well, your hair looks good, what did you do, shave it?"
Syd tried not to burst into tears at that fraise. "Something like that."
"Well do you have any luggage?" Joanie asked. She could see her sister was near tears and she wondered why.
Syd shook her head. She held up the small bag, Mooshie inside of it. Syd had found Mooshie still in the hiding place and had managed to bring him on the boat and train.
"OK" Joanie said.
"Joanie I'd like you to meet Otto Frank," Syd said turning to Otto.
"A pleasure to meet you Joanie," Otto said. "I've heard so much about you."
"I bet," Joanie said giving her sister a look. "Well, Dad is waiting to see you so let's get going."

When they reached the house Jim was in the kitchen reading the paper and talking to Robbie who had come home a week earlier.
"Syd!" Jim said. He hugged his daughter.
"Hi," Syd said. "I missed you so much."
"Me too."
Then Mooshie hopped out of Syd's bag. "Mooshie," Syd said.
"Well whose this?" Jim asked picking up the cat.
"A friend of mine's," Syd said, trying hard not to think about Anne, Margot and Peter. "They couldn't take care of him anymore so..."
"He looks healthy, I'll run some tests just to make sure," Jim said.
Syd nodded, too exhausted and weak to care about anything. "Oh dad, Robbie, I'd like you to meet Otto Frank, I was staying with him and his family while I did my work." That was a total lie, Syd realized but she couldn't tell her family the real reason she hadn't written or where she'd been staying.
"Please to meet you," Jim said. "Syd I know you must be exhausted."
"You have no idea," Syd said.
"Well the guesthouse is currently being used right now," Jim said. He looked at Robbie. "But not for long."
'Hey," Robbie said.
"Its OK Robbie, I can bunk with Joanie," Syd said. She looked at her sister.
"Sure," Joanie said. "Let's go get you settled."
Syd followed Joanie upstairs to her room. She looked around, the room hadn't changed much. "It hasn't' changed much."
"I know," Joanie said. "Why don't you rest, you look exhausted."
"Thanks," Syd said. "Where's Hannah?"
"Down for her nap, you can see her later," Joanie said.
Syd sat down on the bed, it felt so good, Syd couldn't remember the last time she'd slept in a soft bed.
"I'll let you get some rest," Joanie said. She walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.

Downstairs Joanie sat with Mr. Frank, telling him about Providence.
"So do you have any other family?" Jim asked Otto.
"Yes but...." Otto didn't finish his sentence.
Joanie could tell the man was suffering, maybe from the war or another reason.
"All of my family is gone," Otto explained. He didn't want to mention that Syd had been with them and with Anne and Margot in the concentration camp because Syd hadn't wanted her family to know the horrible conditions she had been under.
"That's awful," Joanie said. She couldn't imagine losing her whole family.
"Joanie I think Mr. Frank would like to get settled," Jim said.
Joanie nodded and led Mr. Frank to the upstairs guest room. "You can get settled if you want, Syd is asleep and dinner will be ready shortly." Joanie closed the door after him and stood there thinking, how had his whole family died? Had Syd helped them? Questions spun around in Joanie's mind as she walked back downstairs.
"Does Syd look different to you?" Jim asked when Joanie came into the living room.
"Well she cut her hair and she lost a lot of weight," Joanie said. "She seemed weak when I met her at the station but she's probably just tired."
Jim nodded. "Let her rest as long as possible, I'm going to go see about her cat she brought home." Jim walked out of the room to the basement, leaving Joanie alone.

Syd awoke with a start. She could still hear the shouts and screams of the guards and feel the cold seeping through her skin. Syd sat up and planted her feet on the ground. She didn't remember the last time she'd felt a rug under her feet. Syd stood up but fell against the bed from exhaustion and hunger. She'd eaten on the boat and train but that hadn't been enough to regain her strength. Syd finally managed to stand and walked slowly toward the stairs. She heard a tiny voice call her name and looked over to see Hannah standing in the doorway of her bedroom.
"Auntie Syd!" Hannah said excitedly. She ran to her and threw her tiny arms around Syd's waist.
"Hi bug," Syd said. She didn't want to pick her up because she was still so weak. "How's my girl? Why don't we go downstairs and sit OK."
Hannah took Syd's hand and walked slowly down the stairs with her. Hannah went into the living room and climbed up on the couch. Syd sat down beside her.
"Hi bug," Joanie said coming into the room. She kissed her daughter on the head. She turned to Syd. "How are you holding up?"
Syd sighed. "OK, still tired."
"I bet, you had a long trip," Joanie said. "But why on earth would you cut your hair? You had such pretty hair."
Syd tried to blink back tears. She knew this moment would come but she wanted the whole family to be there when she told her story.
"Syd?" Joanie asked. She noticed her sister was near tears. "Are you OK?"
"Fine," Syd managed to whisper. "I really don't want to talk about it right now OK?"
"OK," Joanie said. "Are you hungry?"
Syd nodded. "I thought you would never ask."
Joanie laughed. "Come on, let's go get something to eat, I'll call the rest of the family in a minute."
Syd stood up, a wave of dizziness washed over her. She fell against the couch.
"Syd!" Joanie said. "Are you OK?" Joanie helped Syd up.
"Fine, guess I'm just hungry, I haven't had anything to eat in the last several hours," Syd said. Really it had been several weeks.
"Let's get you something to eat," Joanie said. She helped her sister into the kitchen.
Syd sat down at the table and Hannah sat beside her. "Well looks at you, a big girl now."
Hannah laughed. "Mommy I want milk."
"OK sweetie," Joanie said. She brought Hannah's milk over and Hannah took it eagerly. She went toward the basement door. ", Dad, Robbie move it."
Syd laughed, the first laugh she'd had in months. "I think the whole house knows its time for dinner Joanie."
"Once dad gets downstairs you can't bring him up again," Joanie said. She sat down beside Syd. "So, we have a lot of catching up to do huh?"
Syd nodded. "I guess so."
"Well things between Burt and I are like, amazing," Joanie said. "You do know I'm back together with Burt don't you?"
"No," Syd said.
"He's so supportive and understanding its like scary," Joanie said.
Then Robbie and Jim came up from the basement.
"What's cooking?" Robbie asked sitting down beside Syd. He looked at her. "You know I think I would have chosen a different hair style but that's just me."
Syd gave her brother a look. "Shut up Robbie. Even though I haven't seen you for two years I am still your older sister."
Robbie shrugged and got up to fix his plate.
Then Mr. Frank came into the kitchen.

As the family sat down to dinner Syd couldn't help but to think about meal time in the hiding place and how for a while the Van Daan's and the Franks had been at each other's throats.
"Here you go," Joanie said. She placed a plate in front of Syd and it took all of Syd's effort not to start eating right away.
"Thanks," Syd said and smiled.
Finally the whole family was seated and Syd could feel the tension in the room, so thick not even a knife could break it.
"Well I would like to propose a toast to my daughter Syd, who is now finally safe and sound after doing work over in Germany and Amsterdam," Jim said.
"I second that emotion," Joanie said.
Syd started eating, taking small bites. She didn't want to make herself sick by eating too fast, which had ended up happening on the train over.
"So Mr. Frank what kind of work do you do?" Jim asked.
"I ran a spice factory," Mr. Frank replied.
"That' sounds like it would be a good job," Joanie said.
Mr. Frank nodded Syd could tell he was trying so hard to not think about his family.

That night as Syd was getting ready for bed Hannah came into the room, in her pajamas.
"Hi sweetie," Syd said when Hannah climbed up on the bed. She gave Hannah a hug.
"You tired Auntie Syd?" Hannah asked. She lay down next to Syd.
"Yes," Syd answered. "Hannah you are getting so big."
Hannah laughed. "I big girl now."
"Hey bug," Joanie said coming into the room. She scooped Hannah in her arms. "Let's go to bed."
"No bed," Hannah said.
"Yes, bed," Joanie said. She turned to Syd. "I'll be right back."
Syd nodded and Joanie went to put Hannah in bed. Joanie came back a few minutes later and started brushing her hair.
"I can't believe how much Hannah has grown," Syd said.
"Yeah, she has," Joanie said smiling. "Syd why didn't you write? At least tell us you were OK."
Syd sighed. "I couldn't Joanie, it was too dangerous. I was working for Jews and if anyone had found out it would have not been good." Syd didn't mention that someone had found out and that she'd gone into hiding with the Franks.
"I see," Joanie said. "Well, are you ready for bed?"
Syd nodded and got under the covers. Joanie turned out the light and got in beside her.
"I'm glad you're home Syd," Joanie whispered.
"Me too," Syd whispered back and within seconds she was asleep.

In England:

"So you haven't heard from her?" Mark asked Elizabeth. Elizabeth had just arrived home the night before and had briefly told Mark about Syd.
"No," Elizabeth said. "I stayed there after the camps were liberated to try to help and I didn't see her. Mark I don't know if she's even alive." Elizabeth took Ella from Mark.
"I'm sure she'll write or she may even phone," Mark said. He put a hand on Elizabeth's shoulder. "I'm sure Syd's fine."
Elizabeth sighed. "I wish I could believe you."


Syd sat in the living room early the next morning looking at the sky. It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky and Syd could hear the birds singing, a sound she hadn't heard in over two years.
"Syd?" Jim asked coming into the room. "What are you doing up so early?"
Syd shrugged. "I couldn't sleep."
"Mind if I join you?" Jim asked.
Syd nodded and smiled. Jim sat down beside his daughter.
"Birds, I'd forgotten about birds, listen," Syd said. "I'd forgotten about a lot of things."
Jim didn't know what to say to that and he wondered about Syd's sudden change in mood. "Syd are you all right? You've just been very distant ever since you got home."
Syd looked at her father, she wanted to tell him the truth, that she wasn't all right but she wanted the whole family to be there when she finally revealed what really happened. "I'm fine, just tired from the trip and all."
"All right," Jim said. He got up and went into the kitchen.
Syd sighed and soon fell asleep.

Joanie came downstairs an hour later and found her sister on the couch, asleep. She went into the kitchen to find Mr. Frank and her father already there.
"Breakfast is almost ready," Jim said.
"I'll get Syd," Joanie said. She went into the living room where Syd was sleeping. "Syd, its time for breakfast," Joanie said shaking her.
Syd stirred and opened her eyes. She could still feel the cold against her skin and the itching. The itching wouldn't stop. Syd sat up, a wave of dizziness swept over her.
"Syd are you all right?" Joanie asked.
"Fine," Syd whispered. She stood up and leaned on Joanie for support.
"Auntie Syd sick?" Hannah asked. Hannah stood at the bottom of the stairs, watching.
"Yes bug," Joanie said. "Go on, Grandpa has your breakfast ready." Joanie turned to Syd. "Do you feel like eating?"
Syd nodded, she had suddenly become very weary and she wondered if she was still recovering from the shock and starvation of the camps.
Joanie helped her sister into the kitchen.

After breakfast Syd and Otto sat in the living room talking while Joanie and Jim cleaned up the kitchen.
"I'm not ready to tell them," Syd confessed.
"Syd you're still very weak and so am I," Otto said. "You've got to tell them."
"I can still feel the lice crawling all over me," Syd wept. "And I can still hear the shouts of the guards."
"That's going to stay with you for a while," Otto said. "But you could overcome it with the support of your family."
Syd sighed. Then she remembered that Otto had no one to turn to, all of his family was gone and all because of the Nazis. "I miss Anne everyday."
"So do I," Otto said.
Syd took a deep breath. "OK, I think I'm ready to tell them now."
"I'll help you," Otto promised. "You're not the only one that suffered."
Syd nodded. "I'm going to go change into my striped suit, so they'll really understand?"
"You still have your striped suit?" Otto asked.
Syd nodded. "Yes." Syd disappeared upstairs and Otto went into the kitchen to tell Joanie and Jim that she had something she needed to talk about.
"What is it?" Joanie asked Otto as she went into the living room, holding Hannah.
"She'll have to tell you that," Otto said.
Then Syd appeared in the room, wearing the striped suit.
"Syd what's going on?" Joanie asked. "And what are you wearing?"
Syd took a deep breath and sat down beside Joanie. "I have something very important to tell you, something that happened to me and Otto." She turned to Otto. "Please, feel free to jump in at any time." Syd turned back to the group. "I went to Amsterdam to help the Jews but after I got there I was caught and ended up going into hiding with The Frank family. I shared a room with Anne and for two years we hid in the attic of Otto's office. On August 4th we were discovered and taken to the train station. We made several stops and were in several different camps. Finally the men were separated from the woman. I was with Anne and Mrs. Frank and Mrs. Van Daan and Anne's sister Margot. We had no food and were forced to wear this suit. Finally we were transported to another camp, where our heads were shaved because of lice and that's why my hair is so short."
Joanie couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her sister had almost died. "What about Anne and Margot?"
"Anne and Margot are gone, they won't be coming back," Syd said. Tears sprang to her eyes. "Margot died of Typhus and a few days later Anne, two weeks before the camp was liberated. Otto and I are the only survivors from the hiding place." Syd pulled back her sleeve, to reveal the number on her arm. "We were called by numbers, each of us had a number and everyday around five AM we would stand in a line while the guards took role call."
Joanie gave her sister a hug. She couldn't believe what Syd was telling her, it was all so awful.
Tears streamed down Syd's cheeks. "And that's why I couldn't write. I was so scared and I thought of you everyday."
"Oh, Syd," Joanie whispered. She wished there was something she could do for her sister.

A few years later:

Syd will never forget the horrible pain she went through but she says that in itme she will learn to cope. Syd is now married and has three kids. Elizabeth and Syd finally got together and have been keeping in touch ever since. Joanie finally married Burt and is expecting another child. Otto Frank went back to Amsterdam but writes Syd often. He has published Anne's diary and promises that Syd will be the first one to read it. Jim has closed down his vet office and now helps families who lost everything during the war. Robbie started dating a wonderful girl named Tina and they are due to be getting married.


I hope you liked this story. Please r/r.