Margot Heuman February 17, 1928 Hellenthal, Germany http://www. museumoftolerance. com/site/apps/nlnet/content2. aspx? c=tmL6KfNVLtH&b=5759983&ct=7872847 In early 1942, 14-year old Margot and her family were arrested, being sent to the Theresiestadt ghettos in Czechoslovakia. Her family was not separated until later when they were transported to Auschwitz. Seen One Day, Gone Another I’ve become emotionless, knowing the events that occur around me. Living in the ghettos in 1942 is hell; for me and everyone here, our lives have become a routine of slave labor and starvation.
My sister and I work hard to produce anything our ruthless enemies want, in the hopes of getting another ration of bread. They work us to the bones in the factory till dusk. After being outrageously worn out, sweating away our lives at the factory, my stomach screams of hunger. Like a pack of starved lions being released and set toward their favorite prey, I feel the hunger boiling inside of me. I rush toward the already-forming line for nutrition. I reach the front of the line, grabbing a single slice of bread- the only dinner we are allowed.
As I chew the tiny slice, I can sense the dry sourdough bread scratching my throat, like sand paper to wood. The pain that overtakes my body is unbearable, yet the thought of my beating heart that still circulates brings me joy; after all, this could be my last day alive. Standing with my family, we talk of the old days; the days when we were not starving for air or food, the days back in Hellenthal, Germany, “I miss your cooking, Momma. Your food always makes me happy. ” said Lore, with as much breath as her body can allow, for her breath is weak and stained with smoke.
She is the youngest in my family, making it hard to explain to her what is happening in her life. Being fifteen, even I understand the serious changes that have been made to our lives. “I know darling, don’t worry. You are here with us. Everything is alright. But you have to understand, life is different now. Things most likely will never return to the way they once were,” my mom’s words remind me of the life I will never see again. My body fills of distress. “Yes, my young Margot, my dear Lore, your mother and I do not plan to leave either of you anytime soon.
We are here with you through this, we promise,” my dad agrees as we finish our bread. As I lay in my bunk that night, my thoughts are nothing but hateful, expect for when I think of what my parents told me at dinner, that only fills me with depression. What does Hitler know? All he has created is a world of death. My thoughts only connect to my hatred for him. Why did he do this to us? What have we done to him to deserve such grand torture? As I think of the reasons why he would plan such an event, I feel my body sink into my bunk, falling into an intense slumber, afraid for the next day’s events.
Praying for another day alive- I fall into a deep sleep that is only due to my over-worked body. ~~~~~~~ As I wake up the next morning, I feel the sun beaming down on my skin. Feeling my body decaying, my skin burns at the sight of the large sun through the wood planks of our prison. Once the entire camp is awake, I hear Franz, the general of our camp scream the words that always send shivers down my spine, “SELECTION TONIGHT! ” he barks to us all, in the harshest tone I have ever heard from him. I feel the entire camps collective gasp.
As everyone falls into a fit of worry, I gallop to find Lore through the hundreds of children who ponder their existence. I find my fragile sister huddled in the corner, scared for her life- she is trembling. I run to her aide knowing she needs me at her side. After finding her, the SS guards scream for order and silence. We jump from our places when we hear the barking demands, afraid of the blows that would come from their mallets if they find need to yell again. We both run out together to find mom and dad.
Once we found the other remaining members of our family, we wait to find new directions from our camp leaders. “I wonder what’s going to happen. It always scares me when we have selections. ” Lore confesses to us as we wait to be told where to stand. Franz’s harsh words brought us unwanted fright throughout the next couple minutes. We are constantly scared for our well-beings, but on the days of selections, our worries triple. Who had I seen for the last time at the factory yesterday? Who from my past life, will be taken to the afterlife?
These and many other thoughts rack my brains until I find the ultimate fear: Is this my turn? Will they call my number, and it will be my last day? As the sun light glistens in the distant sky, my family and I decide to pray before the selection begins, but right as my father begins the starting words of the prayer, there is a loud commotion. Thunderous screaming came from Franz and the guards. The selection is beginning earlier then we had expected. We jump into our formation as quickly as possible. I keep Lore close to me, thinking it would help our chances.
Mom is being pushed toward the adult women line, and dad is directed over with the men. I feel my heart ripping at the seams. Suddenly, I could feel Lore trembling in my arms, “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. ” I assured her as a bend to whisper in her ear. I pray my words of comfort are correct. Before the selection starts, Franz explains that the ghettos are being completely demolished. He proclaimed that there will be a train departing at the end of selection, leading the selected to a new concentration camp: Auschwitz.
We all wonder what horrors or dreams take place this camp. Is it anything like here? There are only two options, Auschwitz or death. Which is better, God? To begin selection, the general screams orders to the men, telling some of them to get on the train, and others to file into another line. That line is the one that no one wants to join, the line that leads to the walk of death. As the women are selected, the anxiousness in my chest begins to race. It is almost our turn. I can’t see what is happening to the adults, and I definitely can’t see my parents anymore.
I have no clue where my parents have been sent. The general finishes with the women, and slowing his strides aim towards us, the poor defenseless children. It all happens so quick, everyone is selected at a rapid pace; Lore and I are still in working-shape, so we are sent on the train, lucky to live one more day. Many of our friends have been brought to the train also, which is a blessing. As we settle into our spots on the train, I feel a sharp tug on my ragged t-shirt, it was Lore, “Where are mommy and daddy? ” Her simple and worried question sent me into a downward spiral.
Lost in my happiness at surviving, I had forgotten to check on the whereabouts of my parents. Increasing my worry I quickly look around the train, for any sign of them. They aren’t here. There aren’t anywhere. There were only two lines created at the selection, one for Auschwitz and one for…. I suddenly realize where they had vanished to. I feel heart drop to the bottom of my soul: they are gone. Never to be seen again. Never to laugh with again. Never to see their smiling faces when I wake up in the morning. Never to run to them when in need. Never to provide protection.
As I realize what the circumstances that surround me, I feel Lore’s presence on my side as she waits for an answer. How do I explain to her that she will never see them again? How do I explain that she will never taste the appetizing dishes mom would set on her placemat at dinner? How do I explain she will never play baseball with dad in the yard again? How? But, under my depression, I can’t help but feel a glimpse of relief, for my sister and I are still alive and together. As tears stream down my eyes, I realize Lore will always need me at her side.
Yet I also know, she must now hear some of the hardest words, she will ever hear. I clear my throat to portray a sense of composure, to tell of the events that have happened within the last twenty minutes. As I begin the tale, the train’s horn blows and I can see the sun setting in the distance out the window of the train. Just twenty-four hours ago, I was standing with my parents talking about how they will always be there to help us. Now I’m left in charge. As I build up the courage to take on this new-found responsibility, I feel the train slowly begin our ride, our newest journey, to Auschwitz.
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