Renate pulled her knees up to her chest and rested her chin on them. Across the attic, her mother was cradling her baby sister, Brigitte, to keep her from crying.
A few weeks ago, Renate and her family had been safe and happy at their home in Prussia. Then her father had heard that soldiers were coming. Mother decided to take Renate and Brigitte to Germany, where they would be safe.
They had planned to take a train to Hamburg, but the train had to stop because it might be bombed. They had to leave their luggage on the train and walk through the dark, snowy forest. Over the next few days, they passed through several villages, looking for somewhere to stay, but nobody would help them. Everyone knew they could get in trouble if they hid refugees like Renate and her family. She and her mother had said a lot of prayers, thanking Heavenly Father for protecting them and asking Him to help them find somewhere safe to stay.
A few days later their prayers were answered! They found an older couple who let them hide in their attic. Renate thought they would be safe there, but then the army arrived in the town. Renate and her family had to stay hidden in the attic all day.
Renate pulled her shawl tighter around her. Usually the man they were staying with brought them food, but today they hadn’t seen him, and Renate’s stomach was rumbling. She tried to say something to Mother, but Mother pressed a finger to her lips, a reminder that they needed to stay very quiet. Renate sighed. Sometimes it felt like she hadn’t spoken in days.
Suddenly she heard a noise downstairs. Someone was knocking on the door. Renate heard the door open.
“Good day,” she heard a man say. “We are checking homes to see if any refugees are being hidden.”
Soldiers were here! Renate felt her heart begin to pound. If they were discovered, they could be punished! She looked across the attic at her mother. She was clutching Brigitte, and her eyes were wide.
Renate heard the soldiers’ heavy footsteps come pounding across the entrance hall and up the stairs.
Suddenly Brigitte began to cry. Her loud, wailing sobs rang around the attic. Mother tried to comfort her, but Brigitte kept crying. Renate started to panic. If the soldiers found them, they would be in danger!
Brigitte stopped crying after a moment, but was it too late? Renate held her breath, listening hard for the soldiers’ voices. What could she do if they had heard?
Then she remembered how Heavenly Father had answered their prayers to find somewhere safe to stay. He had watched over them as they had traveled, and she knew He would keep protecting them. Her mother had taught her that when she was scared or in trouble, she could always pray.
Renate got onto her knees, folded her arms, and started to pray silently to Heavenly Father to protect them. When she opened her eyes, Mother was kneeling too, Brigitte still clutched in her arms.
Through the floorboards, Renate heard the soldiers’ voices again—they were much closer than before. Renate held her breath.
Then she heard a soldier say, “There doesn’t seem to be anyone here. Thank you very much, sir. Have a good day.” She heard the footsteps retreat and the front door close.
A few minutes later, the attic’s trapdoor opened and the man who was hiding them poked his head through. “You’re safe!” he said. “The soldiers have left. I can’t believe they didn’t hear your baby cry!”
Renate felt warm relief sweep through her. “Heavenly Father protected us,” she told him. “I know He was the one who kept us safe.”