- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
How would you cope if you were of Jewish decent during the Holocaust? Would you fight back? Run? Hide? Give up? What if you were German? Would you save lives or help to destroy them? A few simple actions could save someone’s life. Are you willing to take the risk?
It is August, 1943. My parents traveled to Poland leaving me all alone in Germany. Not that I couldn’t take care of myself. Fifteen years old, you’d think I’d be able to survive; though it is fear that takes over more than anything else. Everyday, I hear gunshots in the distance and the pleading screams of my poor Jewish friends. I feel as if I am looked down upon for being Christian and not saving those Jews. But if I save them, I’m as good as dead. Is saving my own skin really more important?
I stand alone in a dark alley way, shivering, and trying to get a breath of fresh air yet staying away from the massacring going on just a few blocks down. I hear the rhythmic beat of feet clattering against the sidewalk. The sound gets louder, followed by heavier footsteps and distant shouting. They are coming closer. Two small boys round the corner, skidding to a stop when they discover they’ve come to a dead end. Gunshots make all three of us jump out of our skins. Panting, one of the boys runs to the corner opposite of me. He doesn’t seem to notice my presence though I make no effort to hide myself. The other boy stands frozen not even moving when two soldiers appear in front of him and point their pistols in his direction.
“John!” the boy beside me cries.
“This one is frail and young. He is of no use.” One of the soldiers spat on his face. The other nodded and pulled the trigger. The boy beside me whimpered but can’t seem to look away as his friend crumples to the ground. The soldiers pick up the limp body and drag him away.
The boy looks to be around six or seven. He has thin black hair plastered to the top of his head. His skin has no color, almost transparent, and his brown eyes have a swirl of green. He’s shaking either from the cold or from just witnessing a murder. He begins to sob and I reach over to touch his arm. His head is back up in a flash, and he stares at me with panic-filled eyes.
“Who are you?” his voice comes out as just a whisper.
“I’m Annette,” I whisper back, “Don’t worry. I am on your side. I will do you no harm.” I can see my reflection in his eyes as he analyzes me, taking in my perfectly blonde hair and blue eyes—German.
“What’s your name?” I ask him kindly.
“Where are your parents, Elijah?”
He hangs his head down. “Dead,”
I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t good with sympathizing. I let the silence take over. My ears were alert—listening for the Nazi’s, waiting for them to announce my death for not turning in this Jewish boy immediately. The streets seem quiet now, though.
“I’m checking to see if they’re gone,” he said quietly.
“Don’t,” I call after him; the foolish boy.
He continues walking as if he didn’t hear me. I get up and walk behind him. He looks around the corner and I peek over him.
About five or six soldiers stood less than five feet away from us. My heart stops beating and every limb in my body freezes. One looks over and sees us.
“Hey!” he shouts angrily. I shove Elijah behind me; he was just a small child. He didn’t deserve for his life to be lost so soon.
Elijah ran to the end of the alley way and that same soldier hovered over me. I recognize him as the one that killed Elijah’s friend, John.
“Hiding a Jew?” he questioned. “Looks like you couldn’t suppress your kind heart enough to save your life. What a shame. You’re a pretty young girl. You could make a fine maiden.” Another soldier appeared behind this one. He didn’t take much time to decide what my fate was to be for hiding Elijah.
“Kill this one.” I brace myself.
The first guard pulled out his gun and aimed it at my forehead. Time seemed to drag on as I wait for him to put presser on the trigger and end my life. I closed my eyes—hoping. I didn’t think that there was much left in me to hope, but I did. I hoped that Elijah would make it through. I was tempted to turn and catch a glimpse of him. When I opened my eyes the guard gave me an unfriendly smile. He pulled the trigger and the last sound I heard was Elijah’s frantic scream.