The year was 1939. I was seventeen and my brother was nineteen. He worked in the factories producing parts for planes, and I went to school, where I was taught how to be a loyal Nationalist. I had never bought into the Aryans or the superior race, but being a part of it, a part of everything, made me feel welcome. It made me feel like I belonged to something, even when the entire world blamed me and my people for the Great War.
Leading up to the Second World War, everything felt wrong. I saluted when I had to, 'heil'ed when I had to, but I had a bad feeling about the coming war. Whether it was just me, or misread signs, I still don't know, or remember. But one night, the rain poured, my mother, Opa, and my brother were still not home, and I did something, bad, something illegal, something I shouldn't have done and I paid for it with the rest of my life.
I took out the radio, and listened. I hear voices, static, and voices again. It's nothing special, and I should have turned it off right then. But something about it intrigues me.
At the beginning of September, Germany invaded Poland, and I'm drafted into the army. I stay in Germany while the government decides what to do now that we have part of Poland. They decide to invade France, but through Belgium instead of the Ardennes.
I saw things I never want to see again. People do things, bad things.
I'm disgusted, at humanity, and myself. I knew, if I spoke out, I'd end up in somewhere bad, but I never thought I'd end up here. Not in this place, and I never thought I'd drag my brother down with me.
My brother and I were put into solitary confinement for a couple of days. We communicated using radio code through the wall. I would tap out a response with my fingers, he would listen, and then tap his response through the concrete walls. For us, life had no meaning anymore. I ruined it, we were stuck here, and it felt like eternity.
The day the Nazis invaded was the day my life was officially over.
Ah, sorry, I haven't properly introduced myself. I'm Toris Laurinaitis, a Jew from Lithuania that found refuge in Poland. Before the Nazis and Soviets attacked, that is. I owned a small shop in Warsaw, but it was trashed when the Nazis occupied the city. Me and my brothers, Raivis and Eduard, moved to Poland in 1934 to escape persecution, but we just found more.
When the Nazis invaded Poland, I narrowly escaped the first deportations, and I found myself in the ghettos. A friend, a flamboyant, rambunctious medical student of Warsaw was one of the first deported after he opposed the Germans. I eventually found him in the work camps when I was sent, as they were clearing out the ghettos.
It was a dark night, the lights were glaringly bright. The occupation had been about two weeks long so far, and I was awakened from my slumber by shouts and trucks. Raivis was already at the window, peering curiously out onto the streets, and Eduard was still asleep. I got up and Raivis looked at me with frightened eyes, then turned back to the window.
The streets were filled with bodies, some dead, others standing to face the Germans with fearful tears. I saw my friend, Feliks, watched as they took him by the hair and shoved him into the truck. My eyes burnt with tears as the it left.
For days, I couldn't speak. I stay cooped up in my room, blinds pulled, sniffling in my own self-pity and missing his smile, his eyes, his way of making me feel better after a bad day, his way of making me laugh. I missed him, up until the moment I found him in a bunk at a work camp.
Damn him, he can't do something like this! That stupid bastard just can't!
My brother, Feliciano is beside me, humming a slight tune as we walk back to the house we share with our five siblings. My brother seems rather calm, but the night was young. A lot could happen in tonight, whether it be for better or for worse.
I stop my brother for a second, making out the outline of a figure standing in our path. It's dark, and hard to see, but the scent of his leather hits me in a wave. I frown. What could he possibly want? Is he lost, or waiting for us?
I walk past the SS officer with my brother, watching warily as he lights a short smoke. My family hasn't been on good terms with the fascist regime since the Rome takeover in 1922. My brother is beside me, chattering about something, but I'm too jittery about the SS being in Rome, never-the-less, right next to me.
It's not like I've done anything wrong. I've defended the ideas of God, and yet, somehow, I am being watched. Did I do something wrong? I don't know the ways of life or even God anymore..
The SS member takes a drag from the cigarette, even though it's just a nub now. He curses and drops it, stamping it out with his polished leather boots. After, he turns to me, watching me with unnerving red eyes and calling out to me. "Warten, warten! Habt ihr einem Zigarette?"
In all honesty, I have no clue as to what he said, but Feliciano smiles and nods, handing him one of the rationed cigarettes.
He smirks, thanking us and lighting it up, relaxing as the smoke filled his lungs. He waves us off, "Danke. Jetzt, geht nach Hause." And we both turn, heading on our way.
When we arrive safely at our house, I collapse against the door, panting in relief. We've survived one more night.
A/N: Well, I promised to rewrite this, and I am going through with that promise. The story is going to be different than before, but still relatively close to the overall plot. Reviews are loved, and so are favs and follows! Just be patient with me, I have exams, and other stories I have to work on, even though the chapters should be up relatively fast compared to my other stories. Any criticism is also welcome! Thanks for reading!