Hans couldn’t take his eyes off the garish yellow star. A sacred symbol of the Jewish faith, the ancient Star of David had been transformed by the Nazis into a distorted image used to identify Jewish shops and businesses. This was yet another reminder of government rules designed to segregate Jews from the rest of the German population.
It was, Hans thought, as if an ever-tightening net was being cast over the Jewish community: “Good” Germans were expected to boycott their businesses; famous and respected entertainers, scientists, professors and prominent officials were losing their jobs; public spaces were becoming more and more restricted. Hans worried the yellow star could signal even more dangerous consequences for Herr and Frau Less, although he found that quite hard to believe. He knew how many people liked and respected them.
Suddenly, words he had heard from a friend in Hamburg returned to haunt him: “No one is safe.”
If Hans had learned one thing during his time in Hamburg, it was that he was Germany’s hope for the future. Hitler called boys like Hans his “magnificent youngsters”. Hans had believed him when he proclaimed, “With them I can make a new world!” Memories of those years flooded back as he stared at the yellow star. He had learned again and again what he was expected to do. It was necessary for him to set an example, right here, right now. Hans understood, for the first time, that he had not only been an apprentice to his uncle, but to Adolf Hitler as well.