Where was I? Who was I? All these questions were running through my mind. My body and mind felt weak, I felt the anger of this young girl run through my body like a gush of wind. As I looked around hundreds of other young girls like myself men and women were compressed into a carriage like animals the stench of illness the old. The air pervaded with the veil and rotten stench of urine and sweat. Many of the girls were crying and I then realized many of the people had already died. The words “someone help us”, were being called out repeatedly.
The train carriage stopped still, the men and women were lead out of the carriages like cattle one after another people fell to the floor in weakness. I looked around and realized where (I was in a camp for Jews) . I later found out it was in Auschwitz. People were separated into two lines left and right. Many were left crying for their family, they had been separated from their loved ones. I felt the tears roll down my face not only was I in Auschwitz my family had been separated from me, they were in the other line. We were led off in our two separate lines.
We were asked to take all our clothes off, I felt embarrassed and ashamed, I covered myself up the best I could, all the time feeling shame. The Germans led us to a timber hut where other Jews shaved the hair from my head. By this time may shame was evaporating all I could feel was the biting wind, the frost underfoot. My eyes filled with water, we were then forced into a shower block where we were washed down in freezing water and thrown carbolic soap. By this time my tears had all but gone all I could think about was where my family had been taken, papa, mama and Sebastian my baby brother.
I stood useless and disgusted whimpering in pain and anger. I was lonely and confused. They then lead us out of the shower blocks and lined us up to be coded “give me your arm” one of the men shouted at me while looking at me like something he had trodden in out side a dog kennel. I put my arm out where I was engraved with the code P34G5 which stays with me to this day. I no longer had my identity it was taken away from me. My name was no longer Helga, I was just a Jew with a number. We were lead off one by one to cold wooden huts where we slept on slatted beds just narrow enough to lay your head and an old flee infested mattresses.
There must have been at least 100 of us in the hut. ‘Here’ shouted an old women throwing over a thin grey blanket. I felt claustrophobic, crammed into these beds but pleased for the warmth that the bodies next to my grave. My life had come to an end – well as I knew it. I tossed and turned trying to get to sleep but all I could here is young girls and boys like my self sniffling and crying over their lost ones, grey people with red eyes. The next morning the sirens went, everyone shot out of bed as fast as possible, I followed the crowd. My heart pounded, I felt nervous and week my legs shook, the sweat ran down my back.
Line up” was screamed by a tall soldier dressed in grey, shiny black riding boots with a hat that shaded his face and a gun that made me quiver at the sight of it. I quickly ran into a line as fast as possible, my head automatically dropped to the floor. I stared at the brown dirt and felt like I was part of it. We we’re marched off to the sound of singing German songs over the camp tannoy. The Nazis marched beside us carrying they’re guns like it was they’re life, they’d been trained to hate us, trained like robots. The line then came to a stop. We were stood outside a dark building.
The young soldier ordered us “In and out, in and out” I was confused by what he was saying. As I entered the building the image was horrifying bodies upon bodies piled sky high, they were all dead, the young, old and infirm. These were the lucky ones; they were free from the hunger, the cold and the beatings. At the time my reaction was horror but in the coming months I longed to be one of them free from all this. We carried the bodies out one by one, I felt ashamed and disgusted initially they were people that I carried but as days passed into weeks they became nothing more than a chore to be carrying these bodies – they meant nothing to me.
I wanted to be dead, I no longer wanted to live, at the age of 15 my life felt over, but I carried on.. The bodies were then carted off into trenches where they we’re burnt. Working besides me was a old man he mumbled under his breath “god , dam Nazis I hate them”, ‘bang’, the old man was shot dead in front of me, perhaps this was what he wanted. My eyes filled with water I tried to keep my head down and ignore everything, but I couldn’t. The experience I was to gain with my fellow Europeans will be with me for the rest of my days.
We were the lucky ones; we dealt with the natural human wastage from the camp, the people that couldn’t carry on carrying or lifting. I found out later this was only part of the horrific tale. The other side of the camp the Germans marched my people into oblivion – the cyclone gas taking the lives of women and children, my mother, my farther and the baby, Sebastian. Poor Sebastian to young to have sinned, too young to appreciate his lose of life. The day the Russian came two years later with freedom and food I felt to weak to be joyful, to hungry to eat.
I took me some weeks to start to appreciate that I was one of the lucky ones. The Germans had killed 6 million Jews by brothers my sisters. Do I hate? Yes, time has passed the history books blame the Nazis, but what of the society that let it happen who allowed the monster to take them to war and butcher the innocent. The white tunnel of light sped past me I can to a shuddering halt. I could hear the doctors shouting get the drip in, get hold of the next of kin. I knew I was going to be fine – Helga told me not to worry my life was far from over.