This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Anya sat in the dark at her little wooden kitchen table and carefully tore a page from her small Bible. She folded the page into a thin strip, rolled it up tightly into a cylinder, inserted it into a drinking straw, and cut off the excess. Tomorrow, she thought, I’ll bring this to Yuri.

“Okay, Iwo, let’s go to bed now. Tomorrow you have to do an important job.”

Iwo plodded up the stairs after Anya and curled up beside her.


Bzzzzzzzt…The alarm clock sounded far too early for Anya. “Come, Iwo, it’s 4:30. We need to get ready to go see Yuri.”

Anya put on her thick stockings and overskirt, one shirt and a sweater. She laced up her old leather flats that were good for walking in.

Anya got out the tube with the scriptures in it. She fastened it onto the back of Iwo’s collar with some tape, and clipped on his harness and leash. She tucked two small cookies wrapped in wax paper into her pocket and set out for the two mile trek in the dark of twilight.

“We must be very quiet Iwo. We don’t want to cause any trouble for Yuri, do we?”

After battling the broken branches and bumpy roots on the forest floor, Anya and Iwo arrived at the outskirts of Dachau, the infamous concentration camp.

Anya and Yuri had just been married for nine months when the Gestapo broke into their home in the middle of the night. They tore open drawers, strewing the contents across the floor. They opened closets and cupboards, finally finding their much sought-after evidence to put Yuri away. His crime? Possessing a Bible.

“Bibelforschers!” shouted one of the Gestapo. He twisted Yuri’s arms behind his back, shackled his wrists together, and dragged him out to the Sattelschlepper. It seemed so long ago and yet it was only one month.

Iwo stiffened as he saw his master in the distance. His ears and tail stood erect. His nostrils flared as he anticipated running to meet Yuri.

“No, Iwo. Remember…we must be calm. Do it how we practiced. Here he comes.” Anya took the packet of cookies from her pocket and put them in Iwo’s mouth. “You go.”

After roll-call and marches, the prisoners were excused to do their daily jobs. Yuri was to do repair work on the wire fence. He knelt down and began. Iwo approached the fence near Yuri. Yuri whispered, “Good boy,” took the cookies, and put them in his pocket. He reached through the wire and ran his hand around the inside of Iwo’s collar. Feeling the straw, Yuri pulled it off and tucked it between the tongue of his boot and the upper. Adroitly, a prison guard was behind him.

“What are you doing?”

“I am working on the fence.”

“This dog…do you know him?”

“No, he just came along and I petted him.”

“Then you have no attachment to him,” he said, as he pulled out his gun, cocked it, slowly held his aim, and shot Iwo in the head. Iwo yelped shrilly and fell to the ground. A piece of Yuri’s heart broke off and died right there with Iwo, but he knew that he dare not react. He put his head down and got back to work.

Anya slunk down to the bottom of the tree...sobbing silently into her skirts.


At the end of day Yuri returned to his bunk. He waited until everyone was asleep and took the straw out of his shoe. He unrolled the paper, and when he realized that it was a page from the Bible he closed his eyes, offering silent thanks. He read that page for hours, until the words were branded on his brain. He squeezed his hand between his bunk and the wall, and pulled out a piece of brick that he had loosened earlier. He placed the scriptures in the cubby, and replaced the brick. It was a long day, but now Yuri was refreshed.


One month passed and Anya decided that she would make Yuri a small loaf of bread. She scouted the area first, and noted that at the end of every day Yuri had the job of emptying the garbage containers around the inside perimeter of the fence.

Early the next day Anya got up and set out all of her ingredients to make bread. When she finished baking, the house was filled with the comforting aroma of fresh, hot bread. Anya knew that was Yuri’s favorite thing. How she missed standing in the kitchen with Yuri, holding each other securely. When the bread had cooled enough Anya wrote a note on a scrap of paper… I love you always my Darling. She tucked the note under the little loaf, wrapped them together in wax paper, and put it in her coat pocket.

Anya arrived early but waited in the forest until dusk. The search lights had not yet turned on so she crawled low to the ground until she reached the fence. The garbage can on the other side prevented anyone from seeing her. She took the package of bread from her pocket and placed it through the fence near the garbage can.

When Yuri was making his rounds he noticed the parcel on the ground. He lifted the bag out of the can, making a piece of trash fall onto the ground so that he could reach for the package. As he did, he saw Anya crouching behind the can. Her hand stretched out through the fence at ground level. Yuri briefly touched her fingers while staring deeply into Anya’s eyes. She felt his love burning through her soul, and he felt hers. Quickly he grabbed the package, pretending to throw it into the bag, but holding onto the bread until he could put it into his pocket undetected.

Anya scrambled across the ground on her hands and knees, trying to escape before the search lights came on but it was too late…the deafening sirens began to roar. Anya got up and ran…ran for her life as she heard the dogs being released. Looking back over her shoulder, she knew that she had a long way to go but she ran like a gazelle in the wind.

Yuri didn’t know if Anya made it home alive or not. All he could do was pray. Later that night he read her message many times over before putting it in his secret hiding spot.


Tomorrow, said Anya to herself, it will be Yuri and my first Anniversary. I want to do something special for him. I will bake him his favorite dessert– chocolate cake. Anya poured all of her love into making every layer. She went to her special hiding hole – a loose board in the floor under the sofa, and lifted it to retrieve her little Bible. She carefully tore out another page that had words meant for Yuri’s eyes only. Anya meticulously folded and rolled the scripture up into a little ball and wrapped it in plastic. She pushed it down into the bottom layer of cake and smeared chocolate icing over each consecutive layer, and then on the outside of the cake. Because it was a special occasion, she piped the words Happy 1st Anniversary Yuri on the top.

The next morning Anya set the cake inside a wicker basket and covered it with a checkered dish towel. She didn’t walk through the forest like usual. She strode through the roads, feeling confident and happy that day. It was a day to celebrate her love for Yuri.

When she arrived at the front gate of the concentration camp a guard brusquely halted her.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

Anya held her head high. “My name is Anya Pavlov and my husband is Yuri. It is our first Anniversary today and I want to give him a chocolate cake that I made for him. Please will you allow it?”

“It is forbidden,” said the guard. He gazed at Anya, licking his lips with a lustful thirst. “What will you give me in return for this favor?” His dirty hand stroked her soft cheek. Anya turned her face away in disgust.

“Nothing!” Anya retorted, and spun around on her heels to leave.

“Wait, wait!” said the guard. “I was only teasing. Of course I will help you. Give me the cake and I will make sure that your husband receives it.” Anya felt hesitant, but she also felt that she had no choice. She handed the basket to the guard and left.


The guard brought the basket to the SS Lieutenant General. Looking at the cake, his eyes narrowed. He drew a machete out of the drawer. Swinging the sword like a madman, he slashed the cake to pieces. Dripping with sweat, he slumped into his chair and contemplated the mess before him. Suddenly, he spotted a small object reflecting the sunlight from the window. It was a piece of plastic.

“What is THIS?” he fumed. He plucked the plastic from the cake and opened it.

“A Bible page? Who does this belong to? Bring him to me!” he blared.


The guard returned with Yuri and stood him before the Commandant.

“Are you aware that having a Bible is a criminal offence?”

“Yes,” answered Yuri.

“Then why would your wife send you a page…against the law?”

Yuri looked at the broken cake on the table and saw the letters H-A-P-P…V-E-R-S…Y-U-R. Yuri’s heart sank and felt joy at the same time. Anya was alive!

“You must pay for this! Guard, take him outside and make him kneel before all of the other prisoners. We must make an example of him.

“Yes, Commandant.”


Yuri knelt on the ground with his wrists tied behind his back. His purple triangle symbol on his uniform declared his faith.

“This prisoner has committed a horrific crime against our Fuhrer. He has in his possession a page from the Bible. It reads, “Love is patient and kind…It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

He must pay for his mistake.”

Yuri looked up to the heavens. His heart welled up with gratitude for the love that his wife had shown him. Then, rat-tat-tat-tat-tat…the machine gun riddled his body with lead and he crumpled to the ground.

“Let this be a lesson to all of you,” said the Commandant.


Anya visited her doctor that day because she had been feeling unwell for the past month. The doctor entered her room after her examination and said, “Well, I’ve got some good news for you. You are pregnant.” Anya was elated! She could hardly wait to tell Yuri. She set out a plan to go and see him again the next week so that she could share her excitement with him.


Two days later a knock came on Anya’s door. A woman wearing a trench coat, kerchief and sunglasses handed Anya a letter and left without a word. Anya sat down and began to read:

“My Dearest Anya,

You have been my joy in life and my faithful companion in our service to God. If you have received this letter then you know my Love, that my life has ended. Please do not cry for me. I’m so happy for the time that we have had together. We will see each other again someday, but now, go and live your life, and find joy in it. Remember, life goes on.

Love, Your Yuri

A hot tear spilled down Anya’s cheek. She looked out the window, placed her hand on her belly and said, “Yes, Yuri. Life will go on my Darling. Life will go on.”

July 01, 2022 19:56

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Michael Regan
18:22 Jul 14, 2022

Loved the story. You certainly achieved your goal “To evoke an emotional response in my readers"


Gigi Gibson
20:40 Jul 14, 2022

Michael… how kind of you to say that! I appreciate your heartfelt compliments very much.


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Jame Michaels
16:51 Jul 14, 2022

I have three dogs. Reading the part where Iwo was killed, was difficult to read. I am also an Army veteran and know well the horrors of war. Thank you for the story.


Gigi Gibson
17:46 Jul 14, 2022

Jame… thank you so much for sharing your experiences with me. Though I could never imagine the horrors that you have seen, I’m sorry for what you’ve had to endure. I can only imagine how hard it was for you to read about Iwo. It was hard for me to write it. While the characters and scenes were fictitious, the story was based on some real events that happened during World War II. As for me, I had two such beautiful little dogs that were rescued from puppy mills. They were damaged souls, and suffered with PTSD I believe. After five years w...


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