One and Only

 BY KATHY PERUTZ

 

My parents were skiing in the Austrian Alps the day Hitler’s troops marched into the village, planted their swastika flag in front of the Hotel Edelweiss and gave the straight-armed salute. Watching from above, my future parents and their guide Robert stood for a long moment, rabbits before a snake until Robert shook himself, made a gesture to the young couple to throw away their cigarettes and in his Austrian twang told them, Mir gengen, we’re off.

He led them out over the tops, across the Alps and into Switzerland where they would get a train back to their home in Prague. From there eventually they made their way to America, sailing into New York Harbor on the S.S. Normandie and less than a year later I was born.

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