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Authors: Roberta Kagan

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A Flicker of Light

BOOK: A Flicker of Light
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A Flicker of Light:  Petra's Story

Copyright©2011 by Roberta


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The characters and events in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or
is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.


Please visit my website:
to see other works by Roberta

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[email protected]

:  Roberta


Edited by:  Karman Moore

ork provided by: 








I would like to dedicate this book to my husband, who has proven to have more patience than anyone I have ever met; to my daughter, whose brilliant assistance I could never do without; to my wonderful and talented editor
and best friend, Karman Moore, who made this book possible; to my cat who is my constant muse; and to everyone who has suffered due to the reign of the Third Reich.
And to you…the readers who make it all possible.
Blessings to all of you, Roberta



A Flicker of Light: Petra's Story














In 1935, under the direction of Adolph Hitler,
Heinrich Himmler created a program to genetically engineer children
, although that term for what they were attempting to do had not yet been coined at that time
. These children would be the superior race of the future - perfect Aryan babies – and they wo
uld rule the world in the newly-
conquered Europe as the leaders of the Third Reich, which Hitler assured the German people would last for at least 1
000 years.

The Nazis
built institutions where blonde-
haired, blue-eyed women with acceptable ancestry mated with SS officers, like thoroughbred horses. These carefully chosen women of German or Norwegian de
cent would have only Aryan characteristics in their bloodlines.

Unwed mothers found themselves welcomed without stigma, provided they met the proper criteria. Given the finest food and medical care available during their pregnancies, these women lived surrounded by extravagance in sprawling mansions. Unbeknownst to them, the furnishings had been stolen from the homes of
arrested Jews. The mothers
on admittance
agreed to surrender their children at birth to be raised in the
orphanage until they could be adopted by families who were approved as devout followers of the Nazi doctrine.

The babies’ biological fathers had the first option. If they so chose, they could adopt the children themselves. Some of the fathers married the children's mothers and brought their offspring home. Many married men came to impregnate the
women; sometimes they took the infants to live with them and their wives. However, many of the babies remained in the orphanage and never found homes. Later, after the war, some of the children spent years in mental hospitals. The ugly stigma surrounding their birth followed them throughout their lives.

Unable to find information on their birth parents, some children of the
still search today. The first establishment,
(commonly r
eferred to as Heim
, which means h
ighlands) was located in the outskirts of Munich. This charming country castle sat cradled deep within the fertile emerald hills of the German countryside.

And so, it is here - in one of these luxurious prisons, where a group of delusional men felt it their right to play God -
our story begins.


Chapter 1

Institute for the

Outskirts of Munich, Germany, 194



uietly, so as not to alert her roommate in the
Institute, Petra Jorgensen reached beneath her small twin bed. Her long slender f
ingers gripped the handle of her
black cardboard valise
taking care not to scrape the floor as she pulled the small suitcase from its place under the bed. Then, taking a moment to glance over and reassure herself that Ursula, her roommate, remained asleep, she continued to pack. Ursula lay on her side
propped up on two thick pillows and covered with heavy blankets. The only sound that could be heard in the small room that the girls shared was the deep
of Ursula’s sno
ring. She was unlikely to awaken

had few belongings
so the packing would be quick and efficient. She held the latch of the suitcase
it would not make a sound as she opened it. Reaching
inside, she caressed the binding of the sm
all book she found there
. In the darkness
her hands felt the familiar
burgundy leather cover with its raised gold letters: Hans Christian Andersen’s
Fairy Tales
. This collection had been her favorite when she was a little girl. She planned to read it to her child when the baby reached an age to be capable of understa
Smiling, Pe
tra remembered gazing into her mother’s soft blue eyes and listening intently as Mama had read the stories aloud.
Petra thought briefly of
The Little Mermaid
- a
story of love and sacrifice.
n fact,
so like her ow
n that the thought of it brought heat to her face
like a slap of reality.

Although Petra
knew she would
love the baby regardless of its
sex, she secretly wished for a girl - a pretty child, whom she could dress in lacy frocks, with
curls - someone to read to who would listen as she had done
. She’d spent many nights envisioning a garden in the summer with the sun cascading down like ribbons onto a patch of creamy golden daffodils, the little one beside her with bows in her hair. In her mind’s eye, she could see the child looking up at her with a face of wonder, eyes wide and innocent. Petra had gro
wn up with two younger brothers, a
nd although she
loved them, she knew first
hand how different boy
s and girls could be. A girl child would be someone she could understand fully, someone
whose emotions and thoughts would be reflective of her own.

Her toothbrush and a bar of soap wrapped in a rough washcloth waited on the nightstand t
o be placed with her other
possessions. Then, she removed two floral cotton dresses from the small
both garments were large enough to suffice until the baby's birth. When she’d left home in a huff, she’d given very little thought to what she might need. And now that the temperatures had dropped, she realized she should have packed warmer clothes. Petra shook her head, annoyed at her own thoughtlessness. Then, without taking care to fold them, she tossed the dresses into her suitcase. Ne
xt she added some undergarments:
a thin pale pink cotton nightgown, a thicker red flannel one, an alternate pair of sensible black shoes, and finally the picture on the night table.

Petra looked at the picture
paralyzed with sentiment. She caressed the photograph and stared into the familiar face by the moonlight that filtered through the window. Her heart ached as she remembered Hans - his clear ivory skin and bright smile, how his corn-colored hair would bleach by the sun to almost white. Then she allowed
her mind to drift to his lips a
the memory of his kiss
. The sweet spearmint taste of his tongue and the clean, crisp
citrus smell of his cologne descended upon her as if he stood right there beside her in this dark God-forsaken room. Her heart cried out in a silent voice only she could hear. The pain enveloped her as she pressed the picture to her breast. Like a dark sword, grief tore a cavernous hole in
side of her that she feared
would never

She would never look into those gentle blue eyes again.

“Hans,” she thought, “how could you leave me here in a place like Heim
? How? What happened to our dreams? Where is your love? You promised to always be here for me. And now you are gone. Hans, can you hear me? Hans, I’m alone and frightened, so frightened. Hans?”

Petra bit her lower lip
she must steel herself against the tears that threatened to betray her resolve. With heaviness in her soul, she focused on packing. She must hurry.

So she would not see it when she opened the valise, she turned the picture frame upside down in the bottom of the suitcase and then placed the package of Hans’ letters tied with a red ribbon on top of the photo. All she had left of their love
lay right here in front of her -
a pile of papers, and a photograph. Then she remembered and a bittersweet
smile came over her face. How could she have forgotten the mos
t important thing he’d left her - t
ir baby?

shivered as
eality hit home
was alone.
Somehow, she must find a way to raise their child herself. Regardless of how hard she tried to be strong, the tightness in her throat and the emptiness i
nside of her would not go away.

ed that no matter what crossed her path in the future
she would never love again
The pain
of loss
was too devastating. At that moment Petra resigned herself to living for the speck of life that grew quietly within her protective womb.
All of her l
ove would be given to her child
from now on.

Although she tried to stay on task, her mind traveled back to the beginning. She remembered the shock, and shame she’d felt when she
learned she was pregnant. The dread she’d felt knowing that she must go
to her parents had been
overwhelming, b
ut she
no other option - Han
s was still
enlisted in the German army. And she’d been right to be ter
ed. When she
told her paren
ts that she was pregnant
, her father's Viking blood
raged with anger. His face
on a crimson shade and his features
distorted until she hardly recognized him. Tears of disgrac
covered her mother’s
face. At that point,
Petra had known
she could no longer stay
at her childhood home. She had to
leave, and with Hans’ help
she would seek refuge. They were
seventeen and neither had much money. This
had left them with
where to turn until Hans
heard about the
program. He
sent a letter to Petra
filled with excitement
sharing all the details. Together, through letters, they
made plans for her to have the baby at Heim
Hans’ brother was in the
, so with his help she
had been
accepted into the program. Once things had been arranged, sh
e ha
d refused to cry or show weakness as her father stomped through the Norwegian seaside shack where they
lived, slamming doors and shouting. Instead
set her jaw in determination, and without a goodbye, Petra
left her family behind. When she
closed the door on the petrified faces of her little brothers and her youth, her journey into an uncertain future
had begu

BOOK: A Flicker of Light
7.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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