"There's no need. I wrote the report."

Michael's head began whirling in different directions, more memories of him and Hanna only strengthening his point. He shot up in one motion, shouting, "No!"

Everyone there but Hanna immediately turned their heads to Michael, shocked at his sudden cry, and maybe more especially at what it said. Michael's eyes wandered over the gazes directed at him as he was still upright. He swallowed, then continued somewhat calmer, "She cannot read, nor write. She can't have written this."

The judge quietly returned his look to Hanna Schmitz. She had lowered her head at recognizing Michael's voice. "Is that correct? Are you illiterate?"

Hanna's head slowly moved up to look at the judge. "No! That's ridiculous!"

"Alright, then write down your name," the judge easily suggested.

Then, Hanna suddenly began to cry, uttering, "I only was a guard, just like the others… We were being executed if we disobeyed, or even made issues…" By that, most gazes had returned to Hanna Schmitz. Everyone attentively listened to what she said, and some had opened their mouths gaping. "You have no idea how many were killed…"

"Can't you see she was just terrified because of the threat for her life itself?" Michael yelled.

"Hanna!" His voice echoed through the very busy corridor. She didn't give any indication of having heard him, but just continued walking slowly to the open air she hadn't really seen in a while. "Hanna!" Michael repeated, yanking at her wrist, and turning her to face him.

He had no idea what he would have anticipated, but at least not the eyes filled with fury now directed toward him. "Why?" She wondered. "Why did you have to take away my dignity? Why did you have to take away my chance to go with my head up high?"

Michael's eyes searched the much older woman's face. "Shouldn't you be thankful? After what you have done? I never would have thought you were able to do things so…"

"So what?" Hanna questioned. "So what? So what? So disgusting? So horrible? So what, Michael?"

Michael quietly took a couple of deep breaths to gather himself, before saying, "You actually had no other choice if you yourself wanted to live." Then, his eyes reconnected with hers. "I'm no kid anymore, though," he added, and it sounded bitter for him.

"What does that have to do with anything?" She said, somewhat calmer than before even though the anger in her eyes only appeared to have flared up more. "What–?"

Michael then yanked at her wrists, pulling her closer to him. "Why didn't you say anything? Why didn't you say anything to me about going to Siemens? Why? You said you loved me! Then how could you not trust me? Then how could you not even take the time to say goodbye?"

"I couldn't!" Hanna yelled, replying everything at once. "I just couldn't!" She repeated, and that's when tears began streaming down her cheeks.


"I couldn't!" She yelled once again, then pulled herself loose from him, turned on her heel and walked away. He didn't go after her.

He later even wondered why he had done everything he could to give her her life back. Hanna Schmitz wasn't thankful. He wasn't really sorry. He just would have wanted her not to run away there, and leave him behind. He just would have wanted to see her again, and would have liked it to take up their relationship from how it had ended eight years before. She hadn't. The very only comfort was that now at least, they were both free when apart.