Here are some brief excerpts from six of the true-life stories of young Jewish refugees told in Hidden on the Mountain.
When JAKOB was ten years old, the Nazis had already been in power in Germany for three years.
Iím sick and tired of being bullied, just because Iím Jewish. Before I started school, I was a happy kid. But now all the Nazi kids call me "Dirty Jew," and I come home from school bloody almost every day. I might not be the biggest, strongest kid in Germany, but Iím tough, and I know how to stick up for myself. My brother, Martin, is eleven, a year older than I am, but Iím even tougher than he is. Martin and I used to do everything together, but last year my parents sent him to Berlin to stay with our aunt. Before they sent me to school in Frankfurt, Mutter (Mother) was worried about my fighting back. She said, "Look at you! Youíre going to get us all into jail yet." And I told her, "I donít care, Iíll defend myself. This is my right!"
RUDI was born in Germany, but when he was thirteen, his mother sent him to the Netherlands, where she hoped he would be safe from the Nazis. At this point in his story, he was living in an orphanage there.
The city is in flames! The Germans invaded Holland [the Netherlands] four days ago. This morning we all had to run down into the basement when the bombs began to fall. We were down there for hours, and we could hear all the explosions. Any second, a bomb could have hit our building.
ELISABETH was born in Austria, but she and her mother had been living in Paris when the Nazis invaded France. They fled south.
I canít sleep. This bench is so hard and Iím so angry. Mutti [Mother] and I were arrested. They think weíre German spies! The police looked through my bag and found my book of German poetry, my diary, my sketchbook, and Ernestís passport and identity papers. This is so stupid! If I really were a spy, I wouldnít have had those things with me.
Itís five oí clock in the morning. Someone opens the door. "Run, run, the Germans are coming," he shouts. I grab Muttiís hand, and we go.
NATHALIEís parents sent her to stay at a childrenís home in Le Chambon for the summer break. However, she received only one letter from her parents that summer, and her stay in Le Chambon went on and on.
I still look for a letter from Mama and Papa every day. Some kids get lots of mail, but I donít get any. I think my parents have forgotten me.
Born in Germany, HANNE was lucky to end up in Le Chambon during the war. After less than two years there, however, she left for the safety of Switzerland.
I have my false identity card. It says I was born in Paris. I have a visa for Switzerland from my aunt who lives there. But I have no exit visa to leave the country, so I will have to sneak out of France.
Originally from Germany, PETER spent time in Le Chambon as well as at boarding schools elsewhere in France after his parents were arrested. When he was fifteen, he attempted the dangerous crossing into Switzerland.
Now we can see the border -- two rows of barbed-wire fences -- and the Swiss buildings beyond. But we canít cross over yet. We have to wait until the changing of the guards. The passeurs [people smugglers] tell us to lie down in the grass. Itís been raining, and now the grass is soaking wet. We wait.