Emilia knows her “knight” (Florian) has secrets, but she has secrets too. She thinks back to one day when she went to school in Lwów, and arrived to find German forces taking all their desks and chairs, and burning their textbooks. Emilia remembers “The Nazis claimed I didn’t need an education […] The Nazis said the people of Poland would become serfs to the Germans.”
The Nazi Party wanted to control the lives of the Polish people. They wanted to begin by controlling Polish children, and the minds of the population. By preventing them from reading or learning, the Nazi’s were depriving them of a variety of futures, including any future that required literacy.
Emilia’s father was an academic, and disagreed with this massive disenfranchisement of Polish children. Although all books in Polish were burned, luckily Emilia had already “learned to read very young.” She knows “they could never take that way from [her].” Emilia takes a break to pee against a tree. As she squats she sees a soldier with a gun emerge from the trees and point it at Florian.
Emilia was able to escape from the Nazi’s control because she was already able to read, and because her father was actively rebellious. Although the government tried to lay out a specific future for her, Emilia was able to escape through her and her father’s force of will.