The Last Breath

March 11, 2013
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Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. With every breath I can feel the gas invade my lungs, and I realize that only minutes remain. Soon I’ll just be another insignificant tally on a long, treasured list of deceased.

We are deemed “too weak to work” and allowed the luxury of a shower. Do Nazis really think we are the scum of intelligence? Sure, they have mastered the ability to control our physical movements, but only the true weak allow them to dictate their mental mind-frame. Exhale.

Inhale. What have we done to deserve this? Why us? After all the suffering we’ve gone through, we can’t have a solid answer to understand why? It’s unfair, unjust, and unbelievably incredible how cruel the men can be. The Nazis don’t know what it is like to freeze. They weren’t packed like cattle into a train car with nothing to remember the family, friends, and memories of the home they were ripped from in the mid-January. They have never felt the biting cold air through the boards of an undersized boxcar freezing the flesh into a stone sculpture, but even so, they manage to be colder than the Arctic. Exhale.

Inhale. The officials are harder than diamond and not worth a slight fraction of one. The Nazis unloaded us like livestock, and forced us to walk a path of misery through an immense gateway guarded ever so intricately. It was then I realized we could not escape alive. I came to understand that our guards weren’t individual men in uniforms, but hypnotized uniforms doing Hitler’s dirty deeds. The uniforms possessed no emotions as they shaved us of our hair and pride, stripped us of our clothes and dignity, became a mountain of fury and took everything. The Nazis left us with nothing–not even the comfort of our families. Next, the men forced us to work from dusk till dawn. Who am I kidding? It was much longer than that! The minute we finally got the relief to escape from the horrid camp into a light sleep, their voices would come echoing through the door abruptly waking us up. We only had a few minutes to be out the door and ready for work again. The work wasn’t easy either. A human can only dig so many graves in a day, but we aren’t humans; we are livestock. Exhale.

Inhale. Now, here we are barely hanging on to our lives. Every time I blink another one falls to the ground. I have no emotion left. The tears streaming down my face come from the gas burning in my eyes. As the end approaches my will finally breaks, and I can’t help but beg for my life, “Please, give me mercy. Give me another chance. I promise to do anything. Just one more chance.” That’s all that rings through my head, but there’s no point. Who would want to suffer through more of life? Why would I want to watch others become skin and bone? I should hold on for my family. Oh, how I would love the chance to hold my dear children one more time. As I exhale my knees give out.

Inhale. As I kneel, the poison infects my heart. Each beat rapidly gets slower while my lungs cling to the hope to find fresh air in a gassy dungeon. My insides are to a breaking point. No more. I’m done. The dead and the hopeless striving to hold on surround me; it’s too much. My wife couldn’t bear to see me die in pain. My children would be emotionally scarred to see me wear away in such a fashion. They know it would be best if I just let go. Exhale.
The image of my youngest daughter flashes through my mind. I gasp for my last breath. Just let go.

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