Broken Inside

June 17, 1945


The train jerks before finally moving and taking us away. I look around the dark boxcar at the silhouettes of other people huddled in corners with other people trying to keep warm and regain their hope that was lost long ago. I think now of the days, months, possibly years that passed while we spent our hours of struggling life in that retched, horrid, camp. I cant even find a single word to describe it. I remember the reek of death, illness and just plain dirty bodies that populated the camp. I remember seeing the women and children cry and fall to their knees for their loved ones and for the other who had to go. Think of the time I lived there brings a heart crushing pain and tears, and I know right now that it will be that way until the day I die. I thank the Lord that I was able to get through the days in what truly seemed like hell.

The day my family and I were discovered by the Nazis is burned into my mind and is now a fragile scar that will stay forever. It was in the spring, because I remember the fresh cool air mixed with the recently new warm temperature. I had opened the window just a crack that morning just so when the war ended, I would remember what fresh spring air was like. I always enjoyed spring weather, and that day I couldn’t help myself. That wasn’t the reason why we were found, though. If it was, I would never be able to forgive myself knowing that I was the reason I lost everyone I loved. Sending them to their own slow, painful death. I don’t think I will ever know how we were found. An old man and his son who looked to be in his 30’s kept us hidden. Oh, that sweet, poor man and his son. I pray for them every night. I remember hearing the crash of the axe against the secret door. The fear that ran up and down my spine. I remember everyone being frozen in their spot. Mother in the small wooden chair, father in his kneeling position(I must admit I do not know why he was in that position in the first place), and little May on the floor with her toy. Even a child of 3 knew that the sound of the axe did not mean anything good or friendly. After the second crash my mother rounded May and I up and whispered a small conversation with father. Then they had a sweet long kiss that I don’t think I have never seen them share. It is the type of kiss you would see two young lovers do in a performance, or how Romeo kissed Juliet in their novel. That moment, I realized they knew they might not see each other again. Then I saw father run to a cupboard and pull out a small hand gun. I knew that this was probably the last time I would see him. Then my mom turned us away just before the men in brown uniforms broke into the room. Father shot one, but he was shot back. Mother cried out as father fell to the floor. The men ran to us and grabbed us by the arms. Mother yelled and begged to see father, but they didn’t let her go. The other men went throughout the hidden rooms as the other men who had us by the arms led us outside. When we arrived outside, the sun and beautiful weather felt like heaven on my skin and face. It was an odd twist. While I was happy to be outside, we were being led to our final destination. I remember seeing the faces of people who stopped and stared at us as we were led out of the building and put into the truck. I saw people stare and whisper to one another. It made an anger burn in my heart and tears run down my eyes. It wasn’t bad enough we were being taken away to our obvious death, but rude people had to stare at us in our unfortunate state like we were aliens. Mother held May while they both cried. After the rest of the Jews were rounded up into the truck it took us away.

At the concentration camp in France, they pulled us out of the truck and lined us up. Mother was still holding May like a little baby in her arms, but the men ripped May away from her. They gave May one long look while she cried for mother. Her wails made me cry myself. They finally slapped her and yelled. That didn’t help though. She wailed louder from the slap and cried and kicked. They spoke something in German loudly so they could be heard over Mays wails. Mother must have understood what they said cause she cried “No, please she’s only a little child! I beg of you!” They ignored her and took May away, throwing her over their shoulder. May cried and kicked, flailing her arms and reaching out towards mother. Mother fell to her knees, covered her face with her hands and cried louder than before. I never saw May after that day.

The moment I arrived at the camp time seemed to slow down. Every hour seemed like an eternity. The people I shared that tiny house with slowly vanished in the mass of other Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies, and other people who were considered to the Nazis as “unworthy” or “the lowest beings of life”. I tried to stay close to mother. I tried to find her in the crowds and groups of people that shuffled through the camp. If I found her then I would feel less alone and like she wasn’t gone from this world. At night when I lay in bed awake due to hunger or pain or fear, I pray. I pray for the people I lived with in the small house, mother, father, and May. I pray for the old man and his son who took us in, and the thousands of innocent people trapped in the camps all over Europe. Days passed and everything seemed the same. The mass of dying bodies, the horrid skinny bodies that populated the camp, and the people standing at the doors of the gas chambers, staring with their deep, sunken eyes.

One day, I didn’t find mother. The next day I didn’t find her. And the next day. And the next day. And the next day. I finally got the courage to ask some people during feeding if anyone was sent out or something. In the end, a man with a scraggily moustache told me he saw the Nazi men take a large mass of women into a truck and drove away. He said he was here long enough to know that if they drove you off, then you either were sent to another camp or were being sent to be shot. At hearing the last word I felt my throat close up and my head grow heavy. Suddenly I felt like the loneliest person the earth. I feel guilty saying that sometimes. Thousands of other people lost everyone they loved. I have no place to say that I was the only person who felt all alone in this big world of ours. Yet I still feel lonely. I am only human. I can’t keep myself from feeling that way.

I remember painfully how things went. It’s hard to believe that out of the millions of people who died, I survived. Its hard to believe that people survived at all. They barely fed us, and when they did, it was horrid slop that only pigs would see appetizing. The clothes we wore were just rags. They were dirty and the only pieces of clothing we had. The bunks were cold and overcrowded. The hay from the mat stuck into my back to the point I had lumps on my back; it just became common. Many times while I would sit during feeding or I would just have a moment to my thoughts, I wondered how I would die, or how I wanted to die. I didn’t want to get shot, but no one wanted to in the first place, and most of the people here die that way anyways. I was sort of stuck between getting sick or going into the gas chambers. In the gas chambers you died with a large group of other people so you weren’t alone when we ascended into heaven. But if you were sick though you could die in your sleep. That is the easiest way to go. I would envy the elderly and how they would die in their sleep easily, just out of being overworked and old age. I pitied them on Earth, but envied them in death. I’m sure though I am not the only one. Many people here want to die. They don’t want to die in the hands of the Germans, but in their own. I can understand why. They do not want to feel like they totally surrendered and set their lives at the feet of monsters. Personally, I did not care.

I just realized that I had spent almost three years in the camp. I had missed three birthdays, thus I am now 16 years old. I have decided that after we are taken to the American hospitals where people in my condition are cared for, I will go to America. I do not have many special traits or qualities, but maybe I will find love with an American man who will take me in, care for me and heal my emotional wounds, and let me start a new life. I will be able to leave my horrid past behind me…. That is impossible though. How could I leave the fact that I had a loving family, and never look in that direction again? My children will question about my past someday. Yes, someday I will look upon my shattered past, but I will never be able to see it without a tear or a stutter. What I saw will never leave my mind, and no matter what I do, I cannot run away from it. The suffering will be engraved in my mind like a scar and shall never leave me. I look up at the twinkling stars in their dead black backdrop and wonder if all of those stars are the people who died these past few years. It doesn’t sound irrational. Many things in our world symbolize other things that to we humans are important. To me, the stars resemble the people who died from the wars or the concentration camps. I look up there and wonder if Mother, Father, and May are up there watching me, guiding me through life. Maybe they are the reason I made it through the torture. Maybe they will be the ones to secretly lead me through the rest of my life. I thank them with all my heart and tell them every night that I miss them, but I must go on and continue with my life. I must be strong.





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insane_lemons said...
May 18, 2010 at 5:50 pm
:) i do still love this! i like the new edits!
 
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