Chapter no 28 – Making Socks

All the Light We Cannot See

Werner wakes past midnight to find eleven-year-old Jutta kneeling on the floor beside his cot. The shortwave is in her lap and a sheet of drawing paper is on the floor beside her, a many-windowed city of her imagination half-articulated on the page.

Jutta removes the earpiece and squints. In the twilight, her wild volutions of hair look more radiant than ever: a struck match.

“In Young Girls League,” she whispers, “they have us making socks.

Why so many socks?”

“The Reich must need socks.” “For what?”

“For feet, Jutta. For the soldiers. Let me sleep.” As though on cue, a young boy—Siegfried Fischer—cries out downstairs once, then twice more, and Werner and Jutta wait to hear Frau Elena’s feet on the stairs and her gentle ministrations and the house fall quiet once more.

“All you want to do are mathematics problems,” Jutta whispers. “Play with radios. Don’t you want to understand what’s happening?”

“What are you listening to?”

She crosses her arms and puts the earphone back and does not answer. “Are you listening to something you’re not supposed to be listening


“What do you care?”

“It’s dangerous, is why I care.” She puts her finger in her other ear.

“The other girls don’t seem to mind,” he whispers. “Making socks.

Collecting newspapers and all that.”

“We’re dropping bombs on Paris,” she says. Her voice is loud, and he resists an urge to clap his hand over her mouth.

Jutta stares up, defiant. She looks as if she is being raked by some invisible arctic wind. “That’s what I’m listening to, Werner. Our airplanes are bombing Paris.”

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