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​Anna & Rose

Updated: Dec 22, 2022

Not long ago, innocents were hunted based on their birth during troubling times. During this horrible period, there were few who sought to help the suppressed ones by offering them homes and, thereby, their lives.


“Anna & Rose” by Niranjan Vemireddi tells the story of a jew named Anna living with a german called Rose. Though Anna’s family is dead, Rose protects the child and wants to keep her safe at any cost.

 

While the soldiers’ march, Anna peeps through the basement.


Anna is a jew who lost her family because of a man’s atrocious racism and now feels like a bird in a cage waiting for freedom!


Rosa called her from upstairs. “Today, you don’t have to take your breakfast in the cellar, and you can come up to have it!”


While they walk up, Rosa tells Anna, “Gobbles just announced on the radio that Germany won the war, and if it is true, no jew will be spared.”


“I have managed to cook for today with whatever is available, please eat full, and I will make arrangements to send you to Switzerland. You will be safe there.”


Due to her young age, Anna didn’t bother to listen carefully to what Rosa said but moved towards the radio. She tunes it to a different channel and hears jazz coming in. She makes a few moves, and her frock pulls a plate from the table.


At the same time, there is a knock on the door with a familiar voice calling out. Suddenly, all surrounding sounds drowned out, making the heartbeat progressively louder. Lieutenant Herman comes demanding, “Open the door.”


The pleasant atmosphere in the room fades away. Anna understood it was time to go. Rosa asks her to hide and then opens the door calmly to project everything is all right, and Herman comes in to ask, “Who all lives here?”


Rosa says her husband is in the Army, although she knows he is dead, and lies to people around to protect herself and the jew in the home, and she only stays now. Lieutenant asks Rosa, “Who likes music?” and she answers her.


The lieutenant goes around the home to search leisurely and goes down to the basement to see if someone is there, as almost everyone hides in the basement. Rosa feels a bit stressed when she sees him going down to the cellar because Anna usually stays there and worries that he might find anything of her.


He finds nothing in the basement and comes upstairs, and searches around. He notices a box in the corner and asks what’s that? Rosa says, “We keep used clothes in it for washing,” while she manages to keep herself regular though she is nervous about where Anna is.


The lieutenant goes towards it and makes a carelessly random push with his long-barrel revolver on the clothes to see if there is something in it, and he senses nothing except the clothes. He confirms that the house is just having Nazis and moves out heedlessly and tells Rosa to turn off the music saying, “Nazis don’t like Negermusik.”


Illustrated by Renius Mercy

Anna hears the lieutenant’s steps going away through the holes of the box, and as he goes out, Rosa closes the door, thinking about where Anna is.


Anna comes out of the box, and the room starts to sense relief.


While they both eat silently, Anna asks Rosa if she can get help. While patient eyes of Rosa seek what the girl wants, Anna says, “My mom thought this situation might come true one day, and so she safely kept her necklace in a paintbrushes box in my home. Could you please go get it for me?”


Anna’s mom and Rosa are friends and neighbours. One day when soldiers took Anna’s parents to a concentration camp, Anna was at Rosa’s home, and even today, she is still at Rosa’s house. Rosa thinks about the situation tomorrow as it’s hard to get a single meal today. So says she will get the necklace in the afternoon.


Rosa manages to go into the wrecked Anna’s home, and she notices a lot of valuable items looted and thinks to herself, “This society doesn’t want Jews, but they want their wealth? What a pity!”


She goes in and finds the necklace in a box. She is shocked to see Albert when she turns back with a relieved face. Albert is a drunkard and one of the worst Nazi informers.


Albert: Long time no see Rosa.


Rosa: There are no groceries in my home. I just came here to see if I get something valuable to trade it off. Anyway, these Jews were well off.


Albert: Oh, is it? In that case, how did you know there was a necklace in that box? I know you are hiding a Jew in your home, and I will not tell anyone about it. Just give that necklace to me.


He grips Rosa’s hand and asks again.


Rosa tries to push him away.


Albert goes back in a wavy motion as he is drunk. While Rosa tries to run away, Albert pulls her back!


Albert: If you give that necklace to me, you will go home safely. Otherwise, I will rape you and get away with it.


Helpless, Rosa gives the necklace to Albert.


While Albert manages to get away from the scene with the necklace in hand, someone hits heavily on his head, and he collapses. When Rosa opens her eyes, she sees Anna!


Anna and Rosa managed to reach home safely. But they are petrified, thinking about what soldiers would do to them. Will they hang them, or will they shoot them to death? If they come to know that Albert is dead there.


That night, they notice an increased frequency of Nazi vehicles’ movement around their home. They think that Nazi soldiers might have come to know that Albert is dead, and no one can stop their death. By the time they try to get some sleep in that tension, it becomes morning.


The first thing in the morning, they hear an announcement on the radio saying, “Germany has lost the war; Hitler is dead.”


“No harm will be done to any more Jews”, announces a Russian voice that fetches a craving relief to Anna and Rosa.


At last, Anna goes out of home in a rush and makes a few elegant moves from her lovely ballet!

 

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Awards

This contribution won the first runner up in the Creators Contest 2022.

 

Credits

This contribution is edited by R. S. Chintalapati & Tarun Chintam & illustrated by Renius Mercy.

 

Product

This short story is available in paperback & ebook.