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Life in Auschwitz

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The train screeches to a halt and all the bodies lurch forward. We have arrived at our destination. The living conditions in the boxcars are horrible, there are fifty people or more in each one and we were packed so tight that we can barely move an inch. I was lucky enough to get the very top of the boxcar, that way, I could get the most oxygen and I wouldn't suffocate. Through the cracks of the door, a ray of pure sunlight made its way through the door and pierced our awaiting eyes. This was the first time I had glimpsed sunlight in two days, the last being the day that we were rounded up and shoved onto a boxcar. As the door of the boxcar was pulled wide open, a steady stream of sunlight poured in and the bodies tumbled out from underneath me. The sickening stench of human feces and decomposing bodies hit my nose as I grabbed my few belongings and stumbled over the bodies to get onto the ground. I looked around for my parents who were aboard the same transport as me. I let out a sigh of relief as they rushed towards me running awkwardly with their belongings by their side. I have never been happier to see them! The officers nearest to us ushered us into a long line where many people of all ages were standing. As we got closer and closer to the beginning of the line I realized that they were separating people and either directing them to walk to left, or to the right.At that moment, as if he had read my thoughts, a man walked up to me and asked me how old I was. The truthful person I was, I answered with a 'Fourteen sir', the man then corrected me and stated 'No, you're nineteen, understand me? Nineteen!.' He did the same to my mother and father and told them to state ages ten years younger then in reality. Before we could ask any other questions, he vanished into the long line ahead of us. I heeded his advice and when it was my turn to be interrogated I obediently stated my age as nineteen. The doctor took a quick glance at me and pointed to the left with his pen. I joined my mama and papa in the group of people chosen to be in the right (Lawton 12). I glanced at the crowd of subjects directed to the left and observed that the majority of them were either elderly or very young. I realized that that their fate was death and that there was no escape for them. I felt extremely grateful that God had given me and my family a chance at life. I had no time to celebrate my happiness with my mama and papa because almost immediately we were pushed into a large shower and were commanded by the German officers to undress. At first, everyone was reluctant and one woman had the nerves to exclaim 'No!' and that was swiftly dealt with, with a gunshot to the head. Everyone immediately fell silent and quickly undressed. My mama was turning red with shame as she undressed quietly. The rage rose up inside me. Who are they to degrade my Mama in such a way? I too felt utterly embarrassed undressing in front of those young officers. I could feel their eyes looking me, up and down. They were pointing and snickering at all the women. They have no right! I silently cursed my beauty under my breath. For the first time in my life, I wished I were an ugly hag, for that would insure that I wouldn't be stared at. Thankfully, I received my alternative clothes a mere few minutes after I had undressed. After dressing out, we were made to stand in another long line where the barbers shaved our heads, the dentists pulled our gold filled teeth and a Nazi official etched into our arms with a sharp needle, a number that we are supposed to memorize. It was a number that was supposed to replace our name. The bright blue ink glistened on my arm and I rubbed at it with all my might in the hopes of it coming off. It read 98622. This was yet another step towards dehumanizing us. First, they round us up like cattle and shove us into boxcars. Then, they humiliate us by making us stand naked in front of them and shaving our heads, and now they are reducing us to a mere number. This is outrageous! My thoughts were then interrupted by the voice of my Mama quietly urging me to move. A female officer led us to our living quarters. There were about twenty beds and one hundred people that it needed to accommodate. The female officer then assigned our beds and our ration cards. I was lucky enough to be sharing a bed with only two other people, one of them of which was my own dear Mama. We also received ration booklets which we were supposed to guard with out lives since this was our only ticket to food and the fact that there were many prisoners out there that were desperate enough to steal ration cards. The officer then commanded us in the sharp tone of hers to follow her out. Not wanting to cause trouble, we did the only thing we could do: follow. As all of us followed her out of the building, we passed another white building that was letting out puffs of thick black smoke, and the sour smell that it was radiating smelt like the burning of human flesh. As we approached the building, my suspicions were confirmed. They were indeed, burning humans in oven-like compartments and to my horror, the executioners would accidentally stick a living human in there as well. A chill ran up my spine. I had hoped to never encounter such a fate. I had heard rumors of these horrendous crimes but I had never believed them to be true but witnessing this event opened my eyes to reality. The guard stops us in out tracks and points to a large room right next to the ovens and she explains to us that we will be working here in Canada. I looked at her as if she were insane. Canada? Is she crazy? Canada is clear across the world. Other prisoners seemed to share the same look of disbelief on their faces. The officer then explained to us that Canada was used to describe the room where the valuables and clothes of dead prisoners were placed her in a huge heap and the reason it was called Canada was because it was full of riches just like the country of Canada. Our job was to go through this pile and separate these riches into piles so they could be shipped off to soldiers and German families in need. My mom and I looked at each other mischievously. We had the same plan concocting in our minds. We could take complete advantage of this situation and it was possible that we could smuggle a few of these goodies out and use them for ourselves. This was probably the most sought after job in the entire camp since there were so many advantages. We dived into the pile of clothes and valuables in sheer joy. As I dug through the pile, I came across the pack of belongings that I had carried with me on the transport from my homeland to this camp. These were my belongings! In my sack, I found a pencil, a notepad, and a special box that was painted baby blue and had a gold latch that my Mama had given me for my thirteenth birthday. Instead of working, I used all my time writing all my worries, sorrows and all the hardships me and Mama have had to face since our arrival here. Eleven hours later at the end of my shift, I tuck away my finished letter into the fire resistance box and toss it back into the pile. Mama and I trudge back to our camp and we stand in line for our dinner. The cook is a stout, fat man who looks like he got more then his share of ration cards. He provided a generous amount of soup and bread and as I looked at it, I could begin to see why. The soup contained rotting vegetables and even a couple of fat squirming white worms and the bread was stuff with sawdust. I looked at it with disgust but I swallowed it anyways because if I intended to survive, I had to stop being so picky. I leaned over to hug Mama and to my shock, she was very warm. I ask her if she is Ok and she just replies with a 'I am fine, now lets go to bed.' I keep quiet and go to sleep listening to the hums of the mosquitoes and the scurrying of the rats' feet in the beds below us. The next day when I woke up, I was shocked to see that Mama was no longer sleeping beside me. I leapt out of bed and rushed out of the barracks and started calling out for my Mama. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of life without my Mama. The tears were like a curtain of rain in front of my eyes. I blindly pushed open a white door and rushed in. I bumped into a bed and who should lie in it but my Mama. I was overjoyed to see her. I grabbed her in my arms but as soon as I did, I let go. My Mama was like a furnace, she was boiling hot and she whispered in her quiet, timid voice to me that she was suffering from typhus. I had heard of typhus before, we learned it in biology at school. It almost always resulted in death. My heart nearly stopped. My Mama couldn't die, she was the only thing that was willing me to live, without her I would not survive. At that time, I heard some of the doctors nearby whispering about how there will be a liquidation of all the hospital patients in about half an hour. That comment took my breath away. I had to get my Mama out as soon as possible. With all my strength, I grasped my Mama and carried her out to the front of the barracks for the daily role call. Today was not a typical role call; they did not just make sure everyone was in line. Today, they called out five random numbers to come forward The officers' voice rang out sharply through the air '98623, 87384, 75893, 25374, and 98622.' Both our numbers had been called and so we obediently stepped out of line and in front of the commanding officer. The officer then guided us to a shower and commanded us to undress and step into the shower. It was d'j' vu again. For the second time in a week I had been made to undress in front of a officer. My Mama and I stripped down and walked into the shower together. I immediately sensed that my time had come and that we were walking into the dreaded gas chambers where we were to be gassed to death (Sydner). I knew that death would be only minutes away and I gave my Mama a quick hug who was completely silent for she knew her fate now as well. My Mama and I were in this shower with a thousand other people. The metal door to the shower slammed shut. My thoughts wandered to the lengthy note I had written and put in my box. I hoped that someone would find it and read the horrors that I had to face in my few days here at this camp. I was jolted out of my thoughts when a scream pierced the air. The first Zyklon B pellets had been dropped. There were only a matter of moments before my Mama and I died. My Mama collapsed beside me and I could feel my eyes getting heavier and heavier. My eyelids started drooping and I could feel death creeping onto me. Then, everything went pitch black.
In 1945: The Allies come to Auschwitz and they go near the ovens and they see in the rubble a small baby blue box with a gold latch. . .





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