During World War II, Hitler was terrorizing people, especially the Jews, Gypsies, and even Blacks. Hitler wanted to create an Aryan race dominate society, and truly preferred that anyone who did not fit that “mold” be removed from the Earth. The Aryan race consisted of tall, blonde-haired blue-eyed people, which is odd, considering the fact that Hitler was short (5’9″), and had brown hair. He did have blue eyes, but that was about the only part of him that fit the “mold” of the Aryan race. Nevertheless, he terrorized many people and for that reason, many people tried to escape the occupied areas of Europe, like France to the free areas like Spain.

One of the routes was to go across the ridge of the Pyrenees Mountain range, in order to cross the border into the “promised land,” the neutral territory of Spain, to find a way of escape, a second chance, a future. It was a perilous route to go through the Pyrenees mountains, but it provided a means for hundreds of thousands of resistance fighters, civilians, Jews, allied soldiers and escaped prisoners of war to evade Nazi pursuers. Failure was not an option, because behind them was Nazi-occupied France, bringing certain imprisonment or death. Many of the travelers had come quite a distance, helped by resistance fighters and citizens who disagreed with all that was going on with the Nazi regime. The perilous journey up through rocky boulder fields and frozen glaciers was the final stretch in a long and dangerous trek across wartime Europe, hiding from German military, Gestapo secret police and SS paramilitary forces.

The Freedom Trail, whose final ascent has a zig-zag path through an ice sheet, is an annual “walking memorial” these days. People, some of them descendants of the original people who walked the trail in a desperate run for their lives, walk to remember those who went before them to freedom, those who could not make the journey and lost their lives, and those who lost their lives on the trail itself. The area really is quite beautiful, but I’m sure it didn’t feel that way to those who were running for their lives.

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