The joy of escape for my mother Simone and her sister Zuza was tempered by the fact that my mother's twin sister, Diana had not escaped with them. They all agreed to only do it at the right moment. If you weren't in the right position, than you would keep marching and wait until the time was right. Then whoever escaped later would head back so they might find each other. What my mother and her sister did not know was that Diana marched another 29 km and two days. The right moment just didn't present itself until the night of the second day.
The prisoners were camped in a barn. A German soldier was playing with his guard dog. He was trying to get the dog to jump up into a loft that was perhaps 7 feet high. The dog tried and tried but couldn't do it. On the last attempt he bumped his nose on the edge of the loft, causing his nose to bleed. The German soldier petted his dog and told him, “That's enough play. Good dog.”
Hours later in the dead of night, when all was quiet, Diana and her friend Paula snuck into that hayloft. The next morning when it was time to march again the dog jumped and jumped at the hayloft barking. The soldier thinking the dog wanted to play again pulled the dog away and left the barn. Diana was free.
Meanwhile my mother, her older sister Zuza, and friends lived the good life in the deserted town where they had escaped. A week had gone by. It was the night of January 27, a day before my mother and her twin sister Diana's birthday. Come the next morning it would be the first birthday they ever spent apart. However, when my mother awakened the morning of the 28th she knew everything would be all right. She had a dream. It was the most vivid dream she ever had in her life prior or since. She told Zuza that they didn’t have to worry about Diana because she escaped and is coming on a sled with 28 cakes she baked for their birthday.
Later that day my Simone and Zuza went to a part of the deserted town to get some supplies. It was dusk when they began to make their way back toward the house in which they stayed. In the distance they saw some figures coming toward them. My mother and sister called out in German, “Five abreast!” That's what the German soldiers always said. “Five abreast, five abreast.” They marched five abreast, they dug ditches five abreast, they peed five abreast. The figures in the distance called back in German “Five abreast.” That's when Simone and Zuza knew those people were probably from the same march. As the figures came closer Simone and Zuza saw they were pushing a sled. When they were 5 feet away one of the figures said matter of factly, (as if you just happened to meet someone on the street), “Hello Simone.” It was Diana. “We are here for our birthday and we baked 28 cakes*.”
* (Diana and Paula had stayed up the whole previous night in a deserted house, baking according to recipes they found in a famous German cookbook. Although they had originally baked 28 cakes, there were only little over a dozen on the sled. At one point a Russian truck came by and the soldiers asked them if they wanted a ride. The Russian soldiers suggested they first hand them some of the cakes before they pull Diana and Paula onto the truck. But they simply grabbed the cakes and drove off.)