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My Life in God's Hands
I don't know why, but it feels as if I have done this all before.
Running for my life, my heart pounding, only slowly inching towards my safe-place.
The shed in the woods.
I sense the dogs behind me.
I can hear all the buzzing of the bees, the tweeting of the birds and the sirens screeching out to find me.
I've been running for 2 years.
You see, when you're a Jewish girl in Germany, it can get kind of scary.
Especially during the Holocaust.
The German dogs race after you and never tire. It is almost like they are h***-hounds themselves.
Of course, Mama always taught me to be polite to strangers and always stay away from the scary looking people, but the Germans were different.
Before Mama died, the family was perfect. It was me, Mama, Papa, and my little brother, Aldric.
But then, Papa had to leave to America for business and left me with Aldric and Mama.
Then the Gestapo came to our little home on Lothringer Weg, a street in Northern Germany where once we lived.
They took Alric. They barked at us like the dogs they led, foaming at the mouths.
"We need him for the army!" they barked.
Mama screamed and kicked, until the tranquilized her.
"YOU CANNOT TAKE HIM TO THE ARMY! HE IS ONLY JUST A KLEINEN JUNGEN! A LITTLE BOY! DO NOT TAKE HIM FROM HIS MAMA, PLEASE! I BEG OF YOU!" she cried.
There was one soldier-there were two present-who was rather kind.
Apparently I was sobbing as one soldier took Aldric out to the little black Gestapo car outside my house, because I heard the soldier call out "HALTE!" after he closed the door in my brother's face.
The German kneeling in front of me was holding my Mama, caring about her...caring for her.
He turned to the soldier by the car and they started to say some things in German and Polish that I could barely understand.
I heard little words like, "No...only girl...don't yell...needs Mama" and such.
The soldier turned to me and said, “Do not worry kleins kind, little child. All will be well."
He brought me back inside the house and laid Mama on our beautiful tapestry couch.
He kissed my head and walked out, almost as if he was a littler version of my Papa.
When Mama woke up, sighing and saying "What a dream, what a dream" over and over, I had to finally tell her the truth of what happened.
Her REAL self believed, I could tell, but her subconscious did not let her mind process it.
She started cooking and cleaning, and finally went up the stairs to find Aldric's room empty.
She knelt on the floor by his bed, whispering at nothing.
I knew then that she was in shock, and that the tranquilizer had something else in it, for Mama would never do such a thing...whether in shock or not.
I made her some hot tea, and called over her doctor, a friend of ours who lived on Nacht Straße, Night Street, only few blocks away from us.
"Oh,, yes, I see..." he would mumble over and over.
"Oh, Hannah, your Mama is ill. Very, very ill. I am sorry, but the Germans...they have-" I cut him off, as rude as it was, but I told myself hearing it come from me would be less painful.
"The Germans poisoned her with the tranquilizer. Yes, I know." I said shakily.
"Hannah-leh, listen to me. I think it would be safer to stay with me and let your Mama stay here. She is quite...unstable right now, and burdening her with a child would be too much for her in this state of health." he told me.
"Will she die?" I asked quietly.
"Please!" I burst. "Do not let me come here one day and find her dead! At least give me some type of answer!" I was yelling now. "TELL ME NOW! OR MAY THE GERMANS COME TO YOUR HOME AND TAKE YOU AWAY JUST LIKE ALDRIC!" I spat at him.
He turned his sharp gaze towards my eyes, as if to say, "You have such a tongue, my Hannah, but your bravery will get you far in this war."
"Yes," he answered, "she will die, I am afraid. I do not have anything I can give her to reverse this...this...poison the Germans have given her. I am sorry."
At this I started to cry. I knew what the answer would be, but I thought maybe there was a chance it would be, "No! Oh Hannah-leh, she will be FINE! Do not worry. She will be her old self again by tomorrow, no doubt of it."
But, of course, that is not how it was, and Mama died later on that day.
Inside the shed I had blankets, food, water and some little crumbs of cake. Oh it was very scarce, all the ingredients for cake, but I had found enough to bake little crumbs.
I hid inside that shed for days at a time, and the Germans never ever found me in there, because underneath the floor was my hideout.
Inside the shed, it was just tools and old pieces of scrap metal from the German household next door, whom the shed belonged to.
The old man, the owner of the place, threatened to report me...and this he did.
Of course, I was wanted for a long while by the police, but I did not have a home or any records besides the ones from before the Holocaust began. But still, after a long while, I was found and brought to a "concentration camp" they called it.
Concentration camps were HORRIBLE. It was working until your bones break, sweating until you die of dehydration, starving because of the rarity of a meal, death due to disease, and of course, the soldiers walking around with their guns.
In my camp, the first one I went to, there were only little boys and little girls, such as me.
Little meaning less than 18 years of age.
I was 12 at the time, and was in barrack number 55478.
They gave you tattoos, also.
I was JG2110.
This means Jewish German, 2 parents, 1`sibling, and age 10 when first admitted to a camp.
Of course, they did not plan it like this, but everyone had to remember their number in order to stay alive, or respond to German commands.
There was one soldier in my first camp that everyone feared.
He was nick-named the "Ende Dämon", or the Death Demon.
Every day, he would kill a perfectly innocent Jew, just for fun.
Then, something everyone feared in my second camp was the gas chambers.
In my second camp, Auschwitz, there were the chambers.
This camp was open to every one of all shapes, genders, sizes and age.
Old, young, short, tall, boy, girl.
This is where I saw little Aldric again, but of course, then I was 26 and he was 19.
He was a fine young man, but he was very rebellious, having to grow up with soldiers at his doorstep inside a camp.
He was taken away at age 4, and was to grow up in a camp to be trained for the army.
He broke his arm, but instead of killing him, they put him in Auschwitz the same year as me.
we both stayed for two years, and then we were killed.
The day we were killed was July 17, 1942.
We were sent to the gas chambers.
I was completely calm, knowing that I would see Mama in Heaven.
But what about Papa?
I asked Aldric between his kicking and cursing, and he said, "You don't know?"
"No!" I replied.
"Papa never went away on a business trip. That was not his briefcase. That was his little traveling suitcase. He was taken here and shot. This was four years ago." he told me firmly.
"Thank you, Aldric, my baby brother."
At this he smiled, and let out a small laugh.
I smiled and laughed until I cried, and a German poked me hard in the ribs and asked why I was laughing before I had to strip down and enter the chambers.
"I am laughing because your leader thinks he can eliminate us, but on the inside you do not. You can kill my body, but not my spirit, so I promise you this: You will not walk this Earth for much longer, because God knows you are out there and evil. God will prevail and write our name in the Heavens. Am Yisrael Chai.
I was then pushed into the chambers, and as the gas started, I used my last breaths to sing out the holy Jewish prayer, the Shema, and the rest of the chamber began to join me.
I was the last of the group to die, and before I let the Angel of Death take my spirit, I faced the glass where the Germans stood on the other side, and with all my remaining energy, said to them, "I hope I taught you a lesson, because your Mama neglected to do so. AM YISRAEL CHAI!"