In The Company of Death
Author's note: An experiment into writing war horror, I first came up with the idea shortly after watching "Good... Show full author's note »
The Hole and the RescueFebruary 1st, 1945
Beneath Dachau Concentration Camp
After a few months, I became desensitized to the death. You saw it everywhere. It became as normal and as regular as breathing. That’s when I discovered the hole.
It was a hole used to bury bodies in, but evidently was never used. It was about 15 feet wide and 5 feet deep, more than enough for my small body. I first found it while trying to find some bread to feed the men in the hut I lived in. It was covered by some cloth, hidden behind a storage building. I moved my things discreetly from the hut to the hole, envying the free space and darkness in which I could hide. I stayed there for 26 grueling days, stealing bread from the dead hands of corpses. Anything was better than living with the doomed.
February 27th, 1945
Dachau Concentration Camp
When the Russians came, I stood there with a confused look. Were the Russians taking over the camp? Will they kill us too? I shook with fear as gunfire raged in the front courtyard, explosions shaking the ground like Hell itself was angry, angry at me, wanted me to die. I thought I WAS going to die, that the world was coming to an end. Not that I cared too much; I was living in a firsthand Hell anyway. But I was still scared.
Only when a Russian-speaking prisoner by the name of Alexei Yardinov came, teary eyed, and told us we were being set free, did I realize that my hell was over. The massive death and fear was finally over.
After the Soviet Union takeover, many American organizations adopted child survivors from the event that became known as the Holocaust. I was one of the few adoptees. I went to a shelter in New York City, and learned English very quickly, as well as a basic education. I also earned citizenship status, and began to work.
I enlisted into the United States Army, and that’s when my life became hell. Again.