Men aged between sixteen and sixty are compelled by the Germans to register. Arthur registers, and there are rumors that men are being sent to camps and killed. Arthur does not believe this. The next day, October 18, 1939, the family has a sad breakfast, knowing that Arthur has to leave that day. After breakfast he goes away, to an unknown future.
The Weissmanns appear to have been a close family, and this marks the first rupture they must endure, coming less than seven weeks after the war began. As powerless civilians, and also as Jews, there is no way they can resist the Nazi edicts. The old gardener and handyman, Zeloski, knows that Arthur will not return, and that Gerda will never see him again, but Gerda refuses to believe the worst. Not unreasonably, and throughout her long ordeal, Gerda almost always clings to hope.