Scared, alone and missing her family, thirteen year old Rachel sobbed on the beach of a small island occupied by the Germans in 1941.
Her family was Jewish and Bavaria was about the worst place they could have lived during those dark years. The Levi family had so far escaped the excesses of the Nazis as they owned and operated a factory considered important for the war effort. By 1940, their special position could no longer protect them and the full force of anti-Semitism was brought to their home.
Rachel’s mother used her wits in a bold attempt to save her daughter from the fate she could not avoid for herself. It paid off but the young girl alone in a labour camp on the Channel Island of Alderney, many miles from home could simply not comprehend what was happening to her life.
Wartime in the occupied islands brought dangers and sacrifices that no one else in Great Britain had experienced for hundreds of years. The evacuation of Guernsey was intended to remove vulnerable children from the area before invading troops arrived but some stayed behind. Fourteen year old Tom was one of these children and he resolutely refused to leave his mother and grandparents to the threats of an occupying army.
His family could of course have insisted, and they did, but argument after argument persuaded them that Tom, an expert boat handler, was resolved to make his way back if evacuated. The dangers of a Channel crossing in wartime far outweighed those of letting him stay.
Like most islanders, Tom and his family just about tolerated the occupying forces but he tested the limits of their control orders by ignoring various proclamations that would kerb his passion for fishing. Tom loved nothing more than drifting offshore in his wooden sailing skiff ‘Fish’, dangling a line for mackerels over the transom.
It was on one such fishing trip that his luck ran out and he was forced to evade capture by seeking the cover of a huge rock far out to sea in the direction of Alderney.
Tom and Rachel’s quest to escape the threats of war brought their lives together. As the months and years passed, they grew both physically and emotionally and increasingly became romantically involved with each other. They hoped that when the liberation of Guernsey finally came, they could start a peacetime life together.
Danger, however, can arrive from unexpected quarters and Rachel’s mother had negotiated more than a transfer for her daughter away from Germany, she had safeguarded a valuable legacy. She couldn't have known that this legacy would become a new and deadly threat to her daughter’s life.