Arbeit macht frei

November 11, 2011
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
A loud clanging wakes me from my restless sleep. Groaning, I straighten into a sitting position, attempting to mute the noise of my creaking joints. I slowly roll off my brick pallet and jump clumsily to the floor. I stand there for a moment, catching my breath in the oppressing darkness. The air was musty, laced with the scent of death and disease, an odor that I had reluctantly adapted to during my days at Auschwitz. Ignoring the hollowness of my stomach, I joined the line heading to the outside world. My prison-mates and I winced at the bright sunlight, yet we trudged on, our scraped and bruised feet stumbling over the rough terrain. Looking to my left, I see my mother file out next to me, and shortly behind her was my brother, coming out of the men’s barracks in the row next to her. Catching my glance, my mother sent back a slight smile, her pale skin stretched taught over her skull. I turned and marched on. The gas chambers on my right sang their silent song; one of torture, pain, and death; a chorus that i would hopefully never have to sing. Surrounding Auschwitz was a chain link fence, topped with coil after coil of barbed wire. Every day, transportation trains brought imprisoned Jews to Auschwitz, carting hundreds of thousands of innocent men and women to this hell-hole in the middle of no where. “Okay heebs, single file!” Rudolf Hoss, the devil himself, stood near the front of our line. He was the camp’s commandant and the worst one yet if you asked me. The round faced man with thinning hair marched up and down the line, throwing names and kicks to anyone who so much as blinked an eye. He grabbed a handful of closely cropped hair and pulled a young girl no older than me out of the line. “Stand over there” he growled. The terror showed plainly on her sickly face as she hurried to regain her balance. He pulled several more people out of the line, shoving them aside as he deemed them unacceptable. Many had physical injuries, such as lost limbs or broken bones that had failed to heal, and others still had traces of vomit around their mouths, more than likely from the maggoty bread and soup they feed us here. I held my breath as he looked me up and down, a foul sneer or his scraggly face. “Well, you’re a pretty one.” he stated, a disgusting look in his eyes. “It’s a shame you have to dig your own grave!” He spit in my face, and it took all my will power not to reach up and slap the ugly pig. He laughed a noise without humor, and moved further on down the line. The older woman on my right turned and carefully wiped the spit off of my face with the sleeve of her thread-bare tunic, a look of pity on her face. “Are you all right?” she whispered. I nodded slowly, nervously glancing at the guards surrounding us. The woman smiled faintly and turned back to face front, smile vanishing. I turned to look down the line and froze. My mother and brother were in the reject line. I stifled a gasp as the tears started to flow. My brother was clutching my mothers shirt, burying his face in the scratchy, over-sized blue-striped uniform. Her face was ashen, and she was holding my brother under her arms, nearly suffocating him. I longed to run to them, to pull them back into my line, to tell them everything would be okay, but a quick glance at the armed soldiers made the decision for me. Hoss and the soldiers began to herd the separated Jews in the direction of the gas chambers, the cries of the condemned ringing in my ears. My mother paused to look back at me, tears in her eyes, until a rough shove from guard behind her forced her to march on. I stared at her back until it was lost in the crowd, then at the smokestacks above the gas chamber, watching her ashes drift away.
The next day, I stood in line with the others, waiting for our daily ration. I tried to ignore the leering cat-calls from the watching soldiers by listening in on the conversations of those around me. “I heard that they stopped them before the gassing, and pulled some people out” said a voice behind me. My spirits started to rise--had my mother and/or my brother escaped? But the flicker of hope vanished with the answer of the responding voice “i heard it was so they would have enough subjects for medical experiments” Horror filled my mind, then unbearable heartbreak. My family had no chance in surviving the medical experiments, even if they were lucky enough to avoid the gas chambers. “I heard that one little boy was crying his poor head off, begging to be back with is mother and sister. his mother was to be gassed but the girl was saved. Thankfully, the soldiers were merciful on him and got Dr. Mengele to give him some phenol. Poor child. He’s in a better place.” That did it. I burst into tears right there on the spot, the salty flow carving trenches into the layers of dirt and grime on my face. I stood there bawling until one of the guards yelled “Hey you, heeb! Shut it over there!!” I covered my face with my hands and ran from the line, tripping and falling as I made my way back to the womens barracks. I rushed up the cold brick ladder and flung myself on to the “bed”. I lied there, shaking and sobbing, by body wracked with sobs. That was how the soldiers found me, curled up on my cot, stiff limbs folded under me, face still damp, dead.





Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

funnybunny said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 11:23 am
This is really good!  I like it a lot!
 
kdbug replied...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 11:24 am
thanks random classmate that i happen to know!
 
Mremk said...
Nov. 16, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Wow, that  really describes what happened in that time period pretty well. I liked it. 

 

 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback