Chapters 5-7 Summary
The following morning, Joseph returns to the site of his old house hoping to meet Jan again. Jan is there with his wooden box and his cat. Joseph tells him to not steal anything from him, as he has realized Jan is quite the little pickpocket. Joseph says he has decided to head for Switzerland and asks the boy if he knows the best way to find a train leaving Warsaw. Jan tells him he will either be caught and shot or freeze to death, but Joseph insists and Jan eventually takes him to a bend in the track where the trains slow down. Jan gives Joseph food he has stolen from the Nazi barracks and Joseph is able to board a goods train heading west. Jan walks back into town, thinking of the silver sword in his wooden box.
The story moves backward at this point to tell the reader about the plight of the Balicki children. On the night Margit is arrested by German soldiers, the children are locked in their rooms while their mother is taken. Edek, a member of the Boys’ Rifle Brigade, is able to shoot at the soldiers from his upstairs room, but the van with the soldiers and his mother drives away. Knowing the soldiers will return, Edek breaks down his bedroom door and frees his sisters, Ruth and Bronia. They are able to escape before the Nazis return and blow up their house. The three of them walk through the night until, in the opposite end of town, they find shelter in the bottom of a house ruined during the war.
The Balicki children are able to make a sort of home in the underground cellar. They are told by the Polish Council of Protection that their mother has been taken to Germany and will return after the war, although this seems more and more far fetched as the war continues. Edek finds most of...
(The entire section is 476 words.)