Deja Vu in a Hayloft

The same barn where Munye hid from the Nazis is still standing a half-century later
Nataliya Lukhanina

I realize we will have to go around to the back to find the little barn in the alley, where I hid in a hayloft while police guards searched for me. Like a dog catching wind of a scent, I hurry through a gate. I feel like my young self and, in my excitement, begin rushing faster as my family straggles behind. I wonder, will the barn still be standing after more than half a century?

Yes, it is there—the same outbuilding behind the same humble house where I desperately sought cover on that terrible night. I enter and spy right away the large slatted compartment stuffed full of freshly cut hay, just as it was on that evening long ago. I jump in and cover my body, inhaling the musky odor.

Florence and my children outside now, and keep silent in order to trick them. It is only because I have told this story of my escape so often that Florence knows right where to find me. She brushes aside the hay and there I am, smiling impishly and feeling reconnected with a vanished moment in time.

The memory that has replayed in my mind so many times in the past 57 years is now made real again.