A/N: right, well... on my profile thinger, I rambled about a paper that I had to write for American History about the Holocaust. As I had stated, it was essentially supposed to be an essay, but I chose to write a short story of sorts... you might think it's awful, I want to know. ... at the bottom of the page I have my works cited info... like an awkward little nerd... I hope you kind of enjoy this :)
"Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart"- Anne Frank
As Americans, we often take things for granted. Sometimes we don't know we are doing it, but then suddenly, we're standing head on against the storms of racism and segregation. We often don't realize what we have until it is gone. We have nothing on the people forced into concentration camps. We think the world will end if our car doesn't start on a cold winter morning, or, heaven forbid, we don't get that promotion we've been wanting. Do we ever think of those who suffer more than us? Those who went, and still go, to bed hungry, cold, and scared out of their minds? In this paper, I've decided to take a different approach in writing about the Holocaust. I don't have the first hand experience, and I hope I never will, but I will try my best to create a tale documenting the life of a young Jewish girl forced into Auschwitz, a concentration camp based in Poland.
The young girl never did understand why her parents suddenly became such sticklers for the rules. Her brother and she were suddenly not allowed to leave their house without their parents, their friends started to ignore them, and they were forced to wear gold stars on all of their clothes. The girl's father lost his job, she and her brother lost their bikes, but most importantly, the family lost their freedom.
Then, in the middle of March, 1944, the girl's father woke her in the dead of night. "Wir müssen gehen, die Tochter. " He said. "Put on as much clothing as possible." The girl did as she was told, pulling layer after layer of clothing onto her body. She met her parents and brother in the kitchen. There was a man there, he was going to take them to the safe house, her mother informed her. The girl didn't understand why they had to leave during the night.
The journey to the safe house was interupted. There were bangs and shouts from men in uniforms. The next thing the girl new she was being shoved onto a tight, cramped cattle car. The smell of urine, vomit, and feces was prominant, but the fear was even greater. Men, women, and children, packed into a car like sardines, sitting curled up, covered in their own waste. There were gun shots being fired outside. The girl was scared, but she didn't want to show it. She had grown up believing that showing fear was a weakness. She sat on the car floor with her knees pulled up close, eyes closed, saying a prayer.
They traveled for what seemed like days, when the train finally came to a stop. They were told to exit the car and hand over all valuables, clothing and jewelry alike. The girl did as she was told, but watched as a young woman, refusing to remove her wedding band, was gunned down on the spot. Wincing and closing her eyes, she hurried over to her brother and grabbed his hand tight.
"Seperate the men, children go with women." The people were told. When nobody moved, the shots started firing again. The girl scurried over to the line of people. The group was marched up and down a broad avenue for four or five hours between posts of barbed wire with a huge sign, EXTREME DANGER, HIGH VOLTAGE ELECTRICAL WIRES. Glancing around, the girl took a deep breath, trying to calm down. There was no way she could escape, even if the fences weren't electric. Escaping would mean abandoning her family—her brother, her father, and her mother.
Eventually, the group stopped in front of a building. The girl soon found out it was a sleeping bunk. She didn't think she'd get much sleep. As it was, she went to the bed the soldier told her would 'belong' to her for the duration of her stay. Terrified of the man, the girl complied, scurrying to the bed. Minutes later a boy was at the bed next to hers. He introduced himself as Rudy. She listened to the boy's quiet tale of his journey. "In March or April, 1944, we got the dreaded notice that we had been selected for resettlement farther east. The train cars they took us in were actually cattle cars. We entered the cars and sat on our baggage. There was not very much room between us and the roof of the cattle car. Our car had from 80 to 100 people in it so it was quite crowded. We were sifting tight on tight. We had some water and some food but no comfort whatsoever. The cars were sealed. We could not open them from the inside. The windows were small, open rectangles. Perhaps we could have jumped off the train and run into the countryside, but we did not know if anyone on the outside would help us. We thought most civilians would probably turn us in. We could not speak the Czech language. It seemed better to go along with the SS and do what they wanted. By that time the war had been going on four or five years. We thought the end might be in sight and we would be liberated."
It seemed as though the boy didn't know what month or year it was. "It's March." The girl said quietly. Days passed, and the girl quickly fell into an unfortunate routine. Each morning she was given a metal cup and spoon, two slices of bread with the occasional margarine, coffee consisting of ground up toasted acorns, then, the counting of the prisoners. People were arranged in groups of five with small distances between them The SS trooper would count 5. If he messed up, he would start again. Sometimes, it went on for hours. At midday, the meal consisted of potato soup with maybe a little meat. People were beginning to starve. Evenings, the girl was given a slice of bread. Just a slice of bread.
The girl didn't realize that the camp was an extermination camp, or that people were being put to death daily. She did know that there was always this sickly sweet scent in the air. There was a large chimney billowing smoke 24 hours a day. Rudy and his brother had a hidden book; they read it constantly, memorizing the content. The girl and her brother had a deck of cards that they played GO FISH with.
Auschwitz was a barren waste land. No living thing could possibly survive there. But somehow, the girl did. One day, it was announced that the girl's brother would be moved. Her father had already passed, 27 days after that first one—gunshot to the head for disobeying.
The girl was starting fall ill. She was weak and could barely move. Her head constantly felt heavy and her stomach screamed for attention. She traced the numbers tattooed on her arm with distaste. She hated the Nazi soldiers. She hated her mother for allowing her brother to be taken away—she'd heard that he had tried to escape, but was gunned down 15 feet outside of German territory. But, most of all, the girl hated herself for thinking the way she was thinking.
Then, on August 17th, the girl was told she would be allowed to shower. She followed the line of sickly looking people, not looking around. When she got into the shower room she was told to take off her clothes. She did as told with great difficulty. Slowly, the showers turned on, but water wasn't coming out. The girl started to panic, her breath fast and erratic. She started to see stars and heard screaming, and then, a bright light before everything went dark. The girl never regained consciousness, dying the same way many before her had. Her body to be burned and ashes mixed with so many others.
Many people try hard to understand what it was like to be a survivor of the concentration camp times, but it's honestly impossible. I tried as best as I could, but writing about it and living it are two completely different things. Those who died, and those who may still be alive today, suffered greatly, many of them probably still suffer. I don't think we give those people enough recognition. It took great courage to last even a day at one of those camps. The next time you complain about your mom making you 'take out the trash' think of the children who died because to someone else, they were the trash.
Holocaust Memorial, D.. "Life in the camps." Speak Up, Speak Out. Speak Up, SpeakOut, 2012. Web. 19 Apr 2012. .uk/genocides/the-holocaust/life-in-the-camps.
"See a Camp." Oracle ThinkQuest. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr 2012. 12663/camps/.
"Holocaust Survivors." /auschwitz_ . NatureQuest Publications, Inc., 2011. Web. 19 Apr 2012.
Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars. 1989. 138. Print.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Bantam , 1960.
Wir müssen gehen, die Tochter.- we need to go, daughter
Quotations: Rudy's story: thinkquest
Anne Frank Quote at the beginning: Diary of Anne Frank
The question now is, could this happen again? I try to believe the way Anne Frank did, but sadly I know that there are some truely evil people out there. I like to think that we would be able to stop it before it gets as out of hand as the Holocaust did, but I know truthfully, we probably would'nt interfere unless we were in danger. It's wrong, and it's dispicable, but it's the way things work. As much as we try, people are still going to be prejudiced and are going to single out and hunt down those they think are beneath them. In my research I learned that some Jews weren't forced into hiding, nor were they forced into camps. Okay, fine, but they were forced to betray their own people to accomplish this. I don't believe in that.
A/N: Well, that was a bit depressing... to write... I have a strange desire to kill off my characters.. I don't know why... I hope you liked it... It's my birthday tomorrow... reviews as a gift? :)