The English Girl 5 (Chapters 52-67)

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As I suspected, Frank asks more from Estella.

He wants her to find Rainer’s diary and find out the date for the next meetings. Estella is reluctant to do that first, but when Harri announces he is leaving to America because he fears the worst, she wants to do her bit. So she manages to get hold of the key to the study when the married couple are out and Janika is busy in the kitchen. After some snooping around, she finds his diary and discovers the date of the next meeting with his comrades. She has the information, but instead of leaving the study, she continues searching the drawers. Then she finds the photograph of her mother, which she has seen with her mother. Finding out the photograph upsets her as she realises this means that her mother had an affair with Rainer, and he is her father, and not the man who raised her. I have to say that the jump from finding the photograph to assuming Rainer is her father is huge. I really don’t understand how she believes so firmly that Rainer is her father after just seeing a photograph, and she has no doubts she might be wrong whatsoever.

Learning about Rainer and knowing Harri is leaving is making Estella very miserable. Things don’t improve when she learns that Harri won’t be leaving alone, but with Ulrike, the colleague she saw him with the first day when they met. Estella gets all jealous, and she leaves him in a huff. It is days later that Harri goes to find her, and she tells her he is not leaving. Estella is happy, but I was afraid for him because I knew what was coming. Harri is in a very dangerous position staying in Austria, as Hitler is looming powerful and threatening.

There is supposed to be a referendum for Austrians to decide whether they want to remain independent or be annexed to Germany. Everyone is eager to show that they are a united, proud nation. However, as the day of the referendum approaches, there are rumours that it might be postponed. Then one night the chancellor announces that after Hitler’s threats, he has surrounded Austria to prevent bloodshed, and now Austria belongs to Germany. What follows is days of change; lorries and planes invading the streets and skies respectively, swastikas everywhere, scenes of cruelty to Jewish families… Estella is shocked and scared. Marthe talks to her in a trance, trying to convince herself that there are some lesser evils to put up with for a bigger good, and Rainer is out very often. That first night when the chancellor announces the annexation of Austria to Germany, Estella goes to see Harri and his family. He has decided to leave, but he won’t leave until Monday as everything is fully booked. I wonder if he will finally leave for security, or whether the Nazis will get him and his family.

We also learn what happened to Verity Miller, the girl who used to work for the Krauses before Estella. Janika finally tells Estella. Verity was Jewish, but the Krauses didn’t know until her father visited. So Ranier forced his wife to fire her just because she was a Jew. Terrible. I am now afraid for Estella. I imagine since she is living with people who are Nazi sympathisers, she will be safe, but I’m afraid that she has nobody to turn around for support. These people who she lives with have become hostile and distant all of a sudden, and we know that if Harri doesn’t leave, he won’t be able to help her much because he will be the one in much more difficult circumstances. Will she be able to return to England?

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