My grandmother was an American women living in Russia at the time Joseph Stalin had taken over after the power struggle following Vladamir Lenin's death. When Joseph: Man of Steel came to power, she attempted to flee the country, but the love for the kids she taught (she was a teacher) kept her. Eventually some of the kids started disappearing, and she realized they were leaving the country. She began to pack her things and head for the train that let into Europe. As she boarded it, she saw many other passengers, some were full with joy of leaving, others had no emotion.
After the train pulled out of the station, several passengers stood up and took out the standard Russian gun, the M14. A Russian commander also entered. He pointed to a young man who was shot on the spot. He pointed to a mother and her child, the mother was stabbed and the baby thrown off the train. Some passengers began running whom were mostly shot. My grandmother hid under a table and waited for the men to pass. As the Russian soldiers passed a pair of boots stopped.
She looked up to see a young man staring at her. When she thought he would shoot her in the head and end her life, he walked off to his fellow soldiers. As she sighed in relief and got off the train into the Polish station. As she got off the train, she noticed she was the only one off. And then she saw it, a pair of eyes staring at her through the train. She didn't know why but she began to run. She heard guns go off behind her and was almost killed. If it wasn't for a Polish officer who returned fire she would have been killed. As she thanked the Pole, she realized he was the same man from the train. Questioning this, he told her he had an identical twin brother whom left for Russia to become a baker. He also told her they were sympathizers for foreigners in Communist states.
As my grandmother continued to live in Poland, she woke up to machine gun fire one day in 1939. As she kept up with the news, she realized Germany had invaded Poland. Her reaction was quick to leave this time and flew to the neutral country of Greece. As she lived in Greece for a year, the Italian invasion dragged the Greeks into "the hell of a war" as she called it. As her door was broken down by a Greek soldier, she was ordered to come with him. As she turned left and right she saw the Italians being slaughtered. "The Italians had poor equipment, poor tactics and poor moral while the Greeks had high of all these things," she tells me every time I ask. As she was put in a civilian center, she could still hear the fight going on.
Flash forward four years. She had survived the occupation of Greece and had helped the Red Cross bring food to the starving Greeks and aid to the wounded resistance. As the war ended with Hitler's supposed suicide she moved back to the U.S. Flash forward 50 years. She was in New Jersey (her home state) when she spotted three immigrants, a Pole, Russian and Greek. To this day she swears that these three were the Russian soldier who kept her secret, the Polish officer whom helped her and the Greek officer who escorted her to safety.