Walking Out of War
by Scott Bury
Genre: Historical Adventure, War
Ukraine, 1944: After the Soviets burned the Ukrainian city of Ternopyl to the ground to crush the stubborn Nazi occupiers, they rounded up every remaining Ukrainian man around for the Red Army’s final push on Germany. Maurice Bury, Canadian citizen, Ukrainian resistance fighter and intelligence officer, is thrust once again into the death struggle between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR.
Fighting across the Baltics in the autumn of 1944 is tough and bloody. Then the Red Army enters Germany, where they’re no longer liberators—they’re the long-feared Communist horde, bent on destruction, rape and revenge. The Communists are determined to wipe Nazism from the face of the earth. And the soldiers want revenge for Germany’s brutal invasion and occupation.
Maurice has determined his only way out of this hell is to survive until Nazi Germany dies, and then move home to Canada. But to do that, he’ll have to not only walk out of war, but elude Stalin’s dreaded secret police.
By late May, some refugees were beginning to give up. On a bright afternoon, a non-military Russian-made truck took three families from Belarus back to help rebuild their homes.
Maurice knew it was time for him to leave. Few of the refugees in the camp, and probably none of the American and French guards believed that he was from Montreal.
Then Corporal Knight handed him an envelope bearing the stamp of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, or U.N.R.R.A. “This came for you in today’s mailbag, Morrie.” The letter had been opened, following the protocol of the U.N. and the American Army to check letters sent through their postal system but addressed to non-military or U.N. personnel.
Heartbeat accelerating, Maurice unfolded the letter. It was a small piece of paper, two-thirds the size of the standard letter paper the Army used, and again, it bore the U.N.R.R.A. heading, along with a more specific designation of the author in French.
However, the text was perfectly typed in English.
“This is to certify that the U.N.R.R.A. Administration has no objection to accepting Mr. Maurice Bury, a Canadian subject, as an inhabitant of Camp Kufstein.”
It was signed by E.F. Squadrille, Director, Camp Kufstein, and stamped by the U.N.R.R.A.-D.P. Center – Kufstein.”
Camp Kufstein was close to the German border, and closer to the U.S.S.R.
“You planning on leaving us, Morrie?” Knight asked. He sat behind his desk, and Maurice thought he looked a little hurt. “What’s the matter? Don’t you like us no more?”
“No, nothing like that … I applied to go to Kufstein about a month ago. Now I have permission to go. But I don’t know how I can arrange transportation there.”
But there was one important aspect of the letter that Maurice knew was more important than permission to travel that he neither wanted nor could afford.
Director Squadrille’s letter, stamped with the official mark of an agency of the United Nations, acknowledged him as a “Canadian subject.”
Documentation was the only weapon Maurice could use to save himself from the NKVD, and this would be a powerful addition to his arsenal.
Kufstein was about 150 kilometres, or 100 miles from Landeck. While civilian trains had been partially restored in Austria, buying a ticket required that he had permission to travel from the Allied occupying forces. If Corporal Knight’ reaction was any indication, Maurice might have trouble getting those permits from Commandant Whitney-Coates.
Soon after that, a letter arrived that changed his plans.
It came in a large envelope made of heavy, almost luxurious paper with a Montreal return address. The unfolded letter inside bore a red wax notary’s seal at the bottom left corner, and his Aunt Eudora’s signature on the right.
C A N A D A
PROVINCE OF QUEBEC
DISTRICT OF MONTREAL
A F F I D A V I T
I, the undersigned, Mrs. Evdokia Babiak,business Lady, residing and conduct the business at 1915 Centre St. Montreal, Que. Canada, after being duly sworn in , on the Holy Gospel, before the undersigned Commissaire of the Superiour Court, declared and say:
– That I am a Canadian Citizen .
That Mr. Bury Maurice who was born in Canada, and who is at Present in Austria directed by the address U.N.R.R.A. D.P.C. 188, Camp Landeck, Turol Austria-is my cousin.
That his sincere wish to leave Europe and establish himself in Montreal Canada as soon as possible.
That to give security to the Government of the Country where he has chosen to live, to the effect that he will
have sufficient money to live independently, without being
at the charge of the Government, I, the undersigned, bind
and oblige myself to take care of my said cousin, to pay
all the transportation fees, and to provide him with –
sufficient money, for any other living expenses.
— That my present wealth is approximately of $15.000.
And I have signed at Montreal, Canada, this 25th day of April, 1946.
Mrs. Dora, Babiak
Sworn before me , at the City
of Montreal, Canada, on this
25th,day of April, 1946.
Commissaire of the Superior Court.
“What are you smiling about, Morrie?” Knight asked.
Maurice showed him the letter. I am one step closer to home, now.”
“Huh. So you really are Canadian.”
“Of course I am. I told you. I showed you my birth certificate.”
Knight shrugged. “Those things can be forged. But mostly, it’s your accent. You don’t sound like a Canadian to me. You sound like a Russian. And you don’t speak French.”
“A lot of people from Canada don’t speak French.”
Corporal Knight responded with a half-smile and a wink.
Scott Bury can’t stay in one category.
After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s story, came out in 2011, with all the proceeds going to an autism charity. Next was a paranormal short story for grown-ups, “Dark Clouds.”
The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, came out in 2012. It was followed in 2013 with One Shade of Red, an erotic romance.
Army of Worn Soles, published in 2014, tells the true story of Maurice Bury, a Canadian drafted into the USSR’s Red Army to face the German invasion of the Soviet Union.
Invited to participate in two Kindle Worlds, he published Torn Roots: A Lei Crime Kindle World Novella and Jet – Stealth: A Jet Kindle World Novella. Both came out in July 2015.
In between writing books and blog posts, Scott helped found an author’s cooperative publishing venture, Independent Authors International. He is also President of author’s professional association BestSelling Reads.