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Ruthie lay in bed listening to the dead silence of the night. She was afraid. Afraid she would here the rat-a-tat-tat of the town crier’s drum.
Ruthie was a young, quiet Jewish girl. She did whatever she was free to do. After all, Jews had their limits. They had to wear a yellow star on all of their clothing, couldn’t walk the streets after seven, and could not even go to public school. In addition, there were ridiculous laws, such as no bike riding, no listening to radios, (which they couldn’t even own) and no talking to non-Jews in public. Ruthie was scared for herself and her family Mom, Dad, and little brother Ricky. If they would be safe she did not know.
Rat-a-tat-tat! Rat-a-tat-tat! The town crier banged on his drum.
“All Jews must report out here by the town square. Bring food and clothes with you.”
Ruthie flipped on the light. She ran across the room, grabbed a suitcase, and started packing. Ruthie raced into the living room. She grabbed her coat and was ready to leave. There was only one small problem she couldn’t find her parents. She ran into her parent’s bedroom; they weren’t there. Ricky wasn’t in his bedroom either. She ran down the hallway and opened the closet door. There, hiding in terror, was Ricky.
“Ricky, where are Mom and Dad?”
Ricky, sobbing uncontrollably, said, “I don’t know. I can’t find them. All I know is that they already went to their friend’s house for a party.”
Of course, Gregor and Elisa’s house! It was Elisa’s birthday. Ruthie snuck next door and found her parent’s getting ready to leave.
“Mom, Dad are you okay?”
“What are you talking about? Everything is perfectly fine,” her mother said.
“But the Town crier called all the Jews to the town square.”
Her parent’s looked out the window. Ruthie was right. There, standing huddled together, were all of the Jews in Amsterdam. They raced out of the house and went home. Ricky was sitting there alone on the couch with his bags packed. Ruthie’s parent’s, Shannon and Robert, ran to pack a bag and were back out in the family room in five minutes.
“It’s time to go,” Robert said as he picked Ricky up, closed the door and left with his family.
Ruthie jumped as the rickety old cattle car wobbled along the tracks. It had been a week since they left Amsterdam. They had not eaten in days, and had absolutely no idea where they were going. Finally, the train screeched to a stop. A solider slammed the door open. What’s going on, Ruthie questioned herself. What’s going to happen to me?
“If you are not out here in five minutes I’m not sure you will live to see the next stop,” the solider sneered.
Ruthie and her family walked out as quickly as they could. They raced through the crowd of Jews only to see an old, concrete building covered in weeds.
“This is where you will be staying, at least for a while,” the solider shouted.
Each family walked through the building, noticing how unstable the floor was. Since it was nearing night, people began setting up a small place to sleep. Ruthie took out her small lumpy pillow and torn blanket and laid in the silence of the night.
BAM! Ruthie heard screams and a crash. She sat up in terror.
“What’s going on,” Ruthie whispered to her mom.
Shannon peeked to see what was going on. She grabbed a lantern and climbed over their bags. She quickly scrambled back up with a white face.
“The ceiling collapsed! There is a very big hole in the middle,” she said in a hushed tone.
Ruthie laid back down and stared at the ceiling the rest of the night to make sure she didn’t here any noises in the floor.
Ruthie found herself wet from head to toe. It had rained heavily the night before. She woke her parents and ran to get some water from the nearby bathroom. She cupped her hands and drank it all, trying not to spit it up. The musty water made her sick to her stomach.
She went back by her family to get some clothes, a towel, and some soap. Ruthie hopped into the bug infested shower and washed off as quickly as possible because the water was freezing.
Ruthie found her parents running frantically around to get some food and water.
“What’s wrong?” Ruthie asked.
“Ricky is really sick,” her mom answered.
Ruthie raced over to comfort Ricky. As she was talking to him, tears streaming down her face Ricky’s arm’s fell and hit the floor. His skin turned pale and his hands were as cold as the shower Ruthie had just taken.
“Ruthie! Wake up quick! We need to be out of here in five minutes!”
Ruthie woke up with a start. “What’s going on?”
“We’re leaving,” Robert said to Ruthie. “The solider said we have to be back on the train by 4:00 in the morning or he would kill us.”
Ruthie jumped out of bed and put her stuff away as quickly as she could. They raced outside to the front of the building and got on to the cattle car.
They sat in the train for three hours before arriving at their next destination. Ruthie read the sign on top of the gate. It read: “Auschwitz.”
Everybody was immediately split into two groups. One group was told they were going to the showers and was given a bar of soap. The second group, which Ruthie and her family were put in, was put in a different section of the camp and was immediately given work clothes and told to go straight to work. As Ruthie and her mom were changing, they saw a lady coming around with in order to cut their hair off.
Ruthie was really embarrassed and her head was bleeding from the rusty scissors. She was immediately sent to work and didn’t get any food for the time that she was there. Ruthie worked hard through the heat of day and her body was becoming very frail because she was not fed. Ruthie was working and digging a hole in the ground and heard a loud noise and saw somebody fall over. She had no idea she was in this much danger.
It was nearing night and Ruthie headed to her “block.” As the darkness fell she heard more screaming and breaking beds because the beds were old, wooden bunks that held up to fourteen people. Her bunk creaked and she heard the second layer fall on top of the first. She laid awake the whole night but finally fell asleep.
“Ruthie you need to get up,” her mother said in a quiet voice.
“I really don’t feel good,” Ruthie replied. Ruthie got up any way and went straight to work.
As she worked in the boiling hot sun she felt very sick. As she went to bed that night she fell fast asleep. In the morning she woke up and saw the dark rain clouds coming into the sky.
“What’s going to happen to me,” she asked her mom in pain.
“I do not know, sweetie,” her mom answered.
Later that day Ruthie was diagnosed with tetanus and her shoes were put in the pile with millions of others.