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My name is Liesel; the year is 1942. I am a Jew; I am marching to Auschwitz.

My whole body aches. Not only from the walking, the endless hours of toiling, the beating, the sickness, or the hollow hunger that eats me from the inside out. It is the weight of the world on my bruised shoulders, the pain of all my kindred spirits burdening my soul. We are all damned. For why else would we be put through this Hell?

My torn, burlap shirt and trousers scratch my skin; cold, jagged rocks and shards of glass dig into my bare feet; my heels are warm and sticky with blood. I do not know how much longer I can do this- keep my dirty chin up, force each bloody foot in front of the other.

But I cannot stop. For the second that I falter, they will strike me with their rifles and batons. They will scream at me, "Get up, Saumensch!" They will tell me what a worthless, dirty Jew I am. We are schwein, all of us.

Why do they hate us so much, the Nazis? Because the Führer said we have ruined Deutschland?

Have we? Does God hate us as much as they say?

Is this a punishment, Dear Lord, or is it some sort of cruel test? We have been beaten and starved, our hair shaved off in a rough, misshapen fashion. We have been marched through the streets of Munich with our flayed skin bare and humiliated. They have taken all our things, all but the gold star pinned to our shirt, as a reminder that we are not like them; we are subhuman. We are Satan spawn.

I look around me. I see my sister, and my eyes burn with tears. She will not make it through this, I know it. She always been soft of heart, Gabrielle, and already her stomach is shrunken; her skin clings to her skeleton for dear life. Already she is disease ridden; the scabies cover her cheek. Already her eyes are cast downward; she has no hope.

Finally we have reached the Hellish camp. They march us through, single file, the barrel of their guns stabbing some of us between the shoulder blades. They lead us into a big chamber, and firmly close the door on us, laughing.

What is going on? I look at Gabrielle, but she doesn't meet my eyes.

Suddenly there is a mist, or smoke, maybe, filling the room. I hear people in front of me scream in agony. I look around wildly. What is going on?

And then the gas reaches me, wrapping its tendrils around my body like Death. Every where it touches it burns. My skin is on fire, my skin is fire!

And my eyes, Dear God, my eyes feel as if they are burning, disintegrating right in my skull! Am I dead? Oh, this must be Hell, for I can imagine no worse torture, no greater agony. I hear Gabrielle's shriek and I want to call out to her, but I cannot speak over my own bloodcurdling screams. I want to die! If this is life, then I want no more of it! I want to die; I'm going to-

The End




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