That night, and for the rest of my unfortunate childhood, I lived in the orphanage. In the orphanage, there was never enough to eat, or clean water. We got some of each, but just enough to keep us going so that we could work. It was brutal, but maybe it was what kept us alive through the war. The girls cleaned, cooked, sewed and we boys were beaten near daily, even though we worked hard in the factories preparing ammunition, weapons, uniforms or building shops and houses for the rich and wealthy partons that hired us out for cents a day.
Every day, for ten or eleven years, I was almost always beaten, starved and forced to work in the factories. Every night, I had nightmares. In one, I would walk into a large room, and there would be inches of blood, limbs and bodies, with a large pile of the same in the center of the room. Once in a while I would have a dream, with my mother’s voice singing sweet, low tunes and lullabies, rocking me on her chair. It was one of the few things I could remember about her, and kept me sane.
My job in the factories was that I assembled the guns. They intrigued me. I loved the smoothness of the hilt, the sharp click of the trigger. I wondered why someone would use it, why someone would need so many. I’d heard of a great adventure coming, and was taught to look up to Fuher Hitler as an authority figure, like a dad or uncle. I didn’t want a new dad. I just wanted what I’d had left of mine.