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Blondie died last night in his sleep. I didn’t expect him to make if they don’t wake up after a few hours they’re usually gone. Still a death is a death. I got his body to a safe spot before the night guard woke up. I didn’t have enough time to burry him so he will be burned like the rest. It’s sad. But it’s life for me now.
The boy I found last night with Blondie woke up but he still can’t move. I think he broke his leg. I hope for his sake this isn’t so because people with broken legs are out for up to 6months. He’ll be dead in no less than one. The guard I talked to said he was 14, but he told me he’s really only ten. He is very smart for ten. The SS will only use someone for labor if they’re 14 or over and that’s what he told he was. He looks a little short for 14 but the guard said he pulled his weight in work and then some. He was beat for trying to do another man’s work for him.
I don’t understand this. If they don’t care enough to keep us alive, then why do they care if it is us doing our work? If the work gets done they should be happy. Then again they are never happy without our blood on their fists. Not my blood, however. It’s too pretty for that I suppose.
The boy, Andrew, he asked my why I was here while I was changing his gauze to the more durable kind so he could wear it longer.
“Why are any of us here?” was my response.
“That’s easy,” he replied, “We’re Jews. We have big noses and we’ll trick you out of your money if you’re not careful and we’re the reason for all of Germany’s problems”
I almost laughed but I saw he truly thought that and my heart almost stopped.
“My dear boy, where did you hear that?” I asked him.
“Teacher told us” he looked up at me with sad eyes, as if he was worried he’d been wrong.
“Child” how could I make him understand, “you have done no such thing, I promise. Jews have done nothing wrong”
He looked relived but another question came quickly to his lips, “then why do they do all this to us?”
“That’s easy,” I mimicked him, “Hitler told them to”
“But why does Hitler hate us?”
“That I do not know”
“No one should hate you” he informed me on the brink of unconsciousness, “how could anyone hate an angel?”
“I’m not an angel” I protested.
“It’s ok. I won’t tell God I know. I knew he hadn’t left us all alone. We all have you. That’s all we need. An angel. Now we have one. Good night, angel”
And I didn’t have the heart to tell him the truth.
That was the second person who has called me an angel since I arrived in the ghetto. The first was the third man I ever saved. He is dead now. They took him away with the last of the people over 60. Before they shipped them, the guards would always try to beat and kill as many as they could. So the machine would have to do less I suppose. Always after these nights I would have the least luck finding survivors. When they try to kill, 85% die in their arm and10% while they’re singing patriot song after. After walking through over half of the bodies, I cried at the death for the first time. I sat down and my whole body shook with my tears. I was silent because that was the first thing you learned here. You can get away with a lot so long as you were quiet. Tears fell from my face and onto the bodies around me. Then I heard the voice.
I turned in that direction, sure I was crazy.
“Isn’t it sick what humans do to each other?” I saw him this time. He was in his late 60’s. He was barely injured but half of his leg was crushed between two bodies.
“Not that you would know about that. You being from heaven and everything”
I didn’t know what he meant. Me? From heaven?
“Are you here to get me?”
I then realized what he was speaking of. He obviously was malnourished and he thought I was an angel coming to save him. He wasn’t going to make it much longer so I decided to play along with him.
“I’m sorry sir but not yet. You must look your best when you meet Him.” He knew just what I meant.
“I really get to meet Him?”
“Yes sir. But only if you come with me to get ready” I started to bend down to pull the body off him.
“Get ready for what?” the question caught me off guard. Why was I helping him? I knew his death was inevitable.
I gave him the only answer I could, “to get ready to die,” I spoke softly. The man got serious.
“If that’s what He wants” and I couldn’t help wishing I had as much faith that I would die if it would appease God. I had to half carry him to get back to were I was staying. I sat him down on the best bed there was (it had an extra rag to use as a blanket) and started to rap his leg. As I wrapped he asked me questions about where he was going.
“What’s it like?”
“You have to see it to believe it. Humanity does not have a word to describe ”
“Will it be hard to… to die?”
“Only if you let it be hard” I couldn’t truly say as I had only ever died in my dreams. But what I told him stirred some thing inside me. Could you make death harder or easier for yourself? Is fighting your death good or bad? None the less I will always help anyone I see to make it through these times. Before Hitler, I was a nurse but I had dreams of becoming a doctor. I long more than anything to feel a human, so close to death and then to be able to pull them back. It’s all I’ve done since I got here and until the day everyone here is free or I take my final breath it is all I will every do.
Andrew woke in the night yearning for water so I gave him the last of mine. After it was all down his throat he talked to me.
“Angel?” he had called me that since he decided that’s what I was, “how is my momma in heaven? She saved my lift you know. It was her who told the guard I was 14 when I only ten. And when the guard wanted to take me where the people go to die, she told him, ‘I’ll go instead. This boy can do twice the work of me’ that was the last thing I ever heard her say” he took a deep breath, “so that’s why I work so hard see, every day I gotta do twice the work she does” he was crying. I let him lean his head on my shoulder.
“Andrew, let me tell you something. Your mother is so proud of you. She loves you so much. Did you know every tear you shed over her is really her cry of happiness that you are still alive? And she is the one who protected you from the Nazi’s from you and she will keep doing that until this is all over” I don’t think I should have told him that, because he was likely to die before all this was finally over, but children need to be protected. This is a man’s world and we are selfish to bring children into it.
He was sleeping now so quiet and I thought for the first time in a long time about my family. Not my adopted family, I thought of them everyday. This time I thought of my old family, before they were killed. I was 6. My mother took me to school and went back home like any other day. My father was a writer and did all his work from home. Some time while I at school, the fire started. Neither survived. I waited 4 hours at the school before anyone thought to come and get me. I was 6 year old child who had just lost her parents and the only thing they worried about is that no one could keep me. So, they sent me away. I had nothing, the fire destroyed it all. I didn’t want to leave and so I blamed the people who had taken me in.
They didn’t yell at me when I yelled at them. They gave me all the space I needed. Slowly I started to take part in their everyday live. They taught me to work hard and never give up. Had I been raised by my old parents, my last breath in the camp would have come so much sooner. 1933, the year I turned 13, Hitler came into power. That night mother cried and father talked on the phone for several hours.
It took me only a few weeks to realize what they were planning. They were going to leave. I told them I wanted time to finish school and they agreed. It took a while, but everything was in order by the time the first law came about for Jehovah Witness. I was 15 then. They were worried that I would make it through school but education was very important to me and I wanted a good one. Three months after they left I was arrested. The judge almost begged for me to just repent my beliefs, but I knew I would never do that. They ended up just taking me to a Ghetto and some has asked me to repent my beliefs. No other Jehovah was given the same chance. Not everyday at least.
I knew what the boy had really meant when asked me why I was at the camp. It wasn’t the first time I was asked. People who look Aryan don’t go to camps. Unless that person is me. People judge me by my looks. The guards give me lighter work and more food and water than the other prisoners. I usually just give it to my injured patients anyway. It’s also helpful that the guards try to keep me off the list of people that die. I can be of no help to anyone dead.
Still I would rather give my life than have a child like Andrew die. All of us should die instead of them. To me it would be a fair trade.
I dreamt of angels again last night. It seems the more people think I am one, the more I see them. The first part is the same as it always is, they come up to me whisper kind words. They wash me. Then it got it a little different. Andrew came up to me. He pulled on my arm and pointed to one of the older angels. She had beautiful dark hair that shined with the light of the heaven, and soft brown eyes that made you trust, as long as she was there, thing would be alright.
“That’s my momma,” he whispered.
“She’s beautiful,” I whispered back.
“Thank you,” she was now standing over us, “thank you for saving my son when I was not able to. He is a good boy.”
“Yes,” I said smiling at him, “he sure is.”
The boy looked at me, then her, then me, and his eyes asked to go to her.
I nodded and pushed him towards her. He ran and threw his arms around her. Tears streamed down his young cheeks. Tears started to fall down mine too, and I became enraged with the Nazi’s. What right did they have to rip an innocent boy from his mother without even a second look back? This family would never be whole and the SS have the nerve to say that’s right!?! I promised right then and there to do everything in my power to keep that boy alive until the Nazi’s got what was coming to them. Even if I have to sacrifice my own life for his like the mother had done. The boy deserved to live and I was going to make that happen.
When I woke up, I realized I had been crying because my cheeks were wet. Within ten minutes Andrew was awake as well.
“Momma visited me last night,” he informed me, “you were right she does still love me,”
I nodded thinking of my dream as well. I didn’t want to start crying again so I asked him something to get my mind of that.
“Do you want to try to walk?”
His eyes widened, “can I?” he desperately needed to. If he wasn’t to walk now, he would be on his way to his mother before next week. And I would NOT allow that.
“Only one way to find out,” I helped him stand up. I walked across the room, turned and smiled gesturing with my hand. He nodded and started to take I tentative step forward. He winced but managed to take one whole step. No one with I broken leg could’ve down that.
I was content to have him stop there, but it was very clear he was going to walk the whole way. Step-wince step-wince, he made his way to me. When he got there, I had to hold him up so he didn’t fall.
“Can I work again?” I forgot, he had to do twice the work his mother did. But he could hurt himself again.
“Maybe, tomorrow” I told him. He knew better than to argue.
“You really are an angel” he told me, “I really like you”
“I really like you too”
He hugged me and I realized, I never wanted to let go.