Alexsis dug his hands into Hadassah’s silky tresses and pulled her closer to him. He felt her mouth soften under his. His hands moved down, from the soft paleness of her face to her neck. He could feel her pulse radiating excitedly through her skin. Her hands moved up his abs setting him on fire, burning him up with her passion. He pulled himself away from her sultry lips and buried himself into the crevice of her neck. Under his mouth, he could feel her pulse going wild.
Hadassah closed her eyes, silently begging him to stop. They shouldn’t be here together. They would be found out. That, of course was an inevitable fact that refused to be avoided. Why did it have to be like this? Why did she have to desire, love him so ardently? Why couldn’t they love freely? She closed her eyes once again, willing the moment to last longer. She didn’t want to go back, back to the world of torture and injustice. Back to Auschwitz. Back to the world where Jews were treated like dirt by Germans. But this German, her Alexsis, loved her, cherished her, would never let her escape from the warm safety of his arms every night if she did not force herself to leave. He had taught her what it meant to love, here in this place. In this place which no human, German or Jew should ever have to encounter. But she was weak. Even though Alexsis said she was strong she could never believe it. She longed for him every moment of her life and was never satisfied by these few moments they could share with each other at night. When she was cold she longed for his arms around her. When she cried herself to sleep on those cold lonely nights they couldn’t be together, she longed for him to kiss away her tears. But she was a Jew. She was filth to the Germans and a traitor to the Jews, her people, every time she came here. Even his love for her was powerless to change that.
Alexsis moved away from the crevice of Hadassah’s neck and lifted her into his arms, gently laying her onto his bed. He knew how she felt about that but maybe tonight it wouldn’t matter so much. She had come to him crying, cold and bruised. With him, her tears had stopped, and his passion mingled with hers had warmed her up, but there was nothing he could do about her pain. He felt such shame, such terrible shame. He could never help her, not in the way she needed. He could kiss her; hold her when she was cold, hurt, or frightened to the point of hysteria. He could give her his love night after night but he would never be able to truly help her. She would never give him everything, nor would she let him give her everything. She said her God wouldn’t permit it. Her God. What had He to give her? Was He ever there for her? Not according to Alexsis. He wished Hadassah would forget about her God and give herself completely to him. But even he knew that wasn’t possible. He could never risk getting her pregnant here. They would know. His people, the Germans, would eventually find out. She would never be of use to them then. They would kill her. Gas her if she was lucky, Burn her alive in the pit of dead bodies if she was unlucky. No, Alexsis couldn’t stand the thought it. Of her screams for help, help he was powerless to give. He would rather die than loose her. He had loved before, or thought he had, but this was different. He loved Hadassah with a fierce passion. She loved him, needed him. He needed to be needed.
Hadassah felt his tongue invading the recess of her mouth causing a volcano to erupt inside her. She stopped. This wasn’t right. She wanted him, more than anything she wanted him, but she could never let him have her. The situation was getting out of control. She had to stop it, but she didn’t want to. Didn’t she have a right to get some pleasure out of life? Didn’t she deserve to be loved? But God said to wait. Why? Why, did she have to wait? She was more often than not, cold, tired, hungry, and scared. It was nights like these that helped to mend those wounds, at least a little. Why should she listen to God? He had certainly not done anything for her. He hadn’t kept her family alive. They were the ones Hadassah needed in times like these. God had not spared them. Her brother, her mother, her father, her aunt and cousins, all dead, all tortured, gassed and burned in the crematoria until they were nothing more than a handful of ashes and a lifetime of memories. But God had helped her, hadn’t he, kept her alive, kept her from that terrible, incomprehensible fate that she could only dream about. In her heart she knew it was God who really kept her safe and not Alexsis. God had sent him to her, yes, but He would never want her to completely depend on him. She felt his warm body covering her, sheltering her from the reality that lay beyond, his hands moving and unbuttoning her shirt until her naked belly was revealed. He kissed and caressed her. Finally she sat up, pushing him away.
“No…” Hadassah whispered, the sob stuck in her throat making it to hard for her to speak plainly.
“But I…I thought you wanted me… wanted us to…” he said, quite dumbstruck in spite of himself. Then he saw her face, splashed with tears HE had caused. He had not meant to put her in such a terrible position. He knew she wanted him and that it hurt her to refuse him.
“I’m so sorry… so…” Her voice broke as the sob escaped her lips.
Alexsis pulled her to him, holding her close. She was so precious to him. He didn’t want to think of what might happen should they be found here together. He could say she was his mistress, but a German man holding on to just one woman and never having another was unheard of. Even though Alexsis was not even full German (he was also half Russian), he was still already under suspicion. He could be kicked out or worse. Killed for treason to the Reich.
“I love you,” he whispered into her hair. “I love you so much.”
Hadassah looked up, her clear blue eyes digging into him. God, she was beautiful. Even this thin,with barely enough meat to keep her alive, she was beautiful. Her skin, though marred and bruised was as white as skimmed milk and as soft and smooth as silk. Her lips were full. Red, and inviting though often dry and chapped from the cold. Her hair was a brilliant black and thick and soft as spun silk. It hung nearly all the way to her waist in soft, intoxicating waves. He was glad it hadn’t been cut it off. But then, this wasn’t a death camp. It killed him to think of how hard the work was for her. He’d seen what was done to women who were considered “too slow” or simply couldn’t do the work. Alexis pulled her closer. She melted into him. Having her near him felt so right. Why couldn’t it always be like this? Hadassah suddenly pulled away, hastily wiping the tears from her face. She barely showed emotion. It took too much of a toll on her. It was only with him that she could truly let herself go.
“I should go now…” Hadassah said brokenly. Every time it was the same. Nothing would ever change. He pulled her back.
“No… Hadassah…” he pleaded.
“I can’t stay with you... Even though I want to.. desperately.”
“I can’t let you... I’ll do... I’ll do something about this… I promise.” She tore away not believing. He pulled her back.
“We will be together!” he shouted, forgetting himself. He saw her wince and cursed himself for not being more careful. She put a finger on his lips, silencing him.
“Tomorrow. Tomorrow we’ll be together.” she whispered.
“No,” he said abruptly, “Now.” A smile touched her face and he smoothed his thumb over the thin cheek.
“We live in a fantasy” she whispered. “In reality I’m a Jew and-”
“I don’t care.” Alexsis said, kissing her bruised hand.
“I really have to go my love.” She kissed him passionately. He pulled her to him lingering until he could linger no longer.
“I love you.” He whispered brokenly. She went against every nerve of her body when she at last left him.”
“I love you too,” Hadassah whispered and limped cold, and frightened back to her barrack.
How had this moment come? What had she done to deserve it? Hadassah shuddered and wanted to cry out but no sound could escape her lips. The gas chamber loomed ahead, casting its dark shadow over her. She whimpered, pleaded but still they pushed her ahead.
“No…” she screamed. “No.”
They didn’t hear her and they wouldn’t loosen their grip on her arm.
“Go, take a shower.” They said, but she could see right through them.
“No… Please no”
“Get in the shower you whore!” They pushed her in and shut the door before she had a chance to escape.
She beat her fists against the door and screamed until her throat was raw. Then it came. The gas. Screams filled the air. Hadassah felt the breath leave her body as everyone pushed towards the door in one last desperate effort to escape. She felt like she was drowning as swarms of people Someone hit her head and...
Hadassah woke up with a start, wincing at the pain in her head. Blood formed a pool on her pillow making her feel faint. Her kapo raised her club again, aiming for the other side of Hadassah’s head. Hadassah winced preparing herself for another blow. The club came down on her shoulder causing Hadassah to yelp in agony.
“Get up you lazy bastard or you’ll get another one!” She yanked Hadassah out of the wooden bunk dropping her on the floor and taking out her leather whip.
“Count the lashes!”
The leather strips tore through the skin on Hadassah’s back.
“Lazy whore! You should be begging me to send you to the gas! You’re nothing! You’re a disgrace to the German Reich!”
Hadassah became weak from the loss of blood. The smell made her physically sick. Tears streamed down her face as whip tore through her wounded shoulder. She was having a hard time breathing. Everything was going blurry. Soon everything went black.
Alexsis couldn’t get Hadassah out of his mind. Her scent still covered him even though it had been hours since they had last been together. She hadn’t looked very well yesterday. She was even thinner than usual, and her eyes were getting even bigger. Alexsis wished he could feed her with his own food, but that would only put her under suspicion. He lay down for another instant and then forced himself up. Lately, he seemed to be oversleeping a lot. He stood up and went in the shower. The warm water enveloped him. Alexsis stopped, suddenly ashamed. How could he have been so utterly thoughtless? The woman he loved was starving to death in a freezing barrack and he was enjoying himself in a hot shower. Alexsis sighed, running a hand through his wet hair and turned off the shower. His father always told him he was too soft and that he should be colder, more able to stand up to the elements. He grabbed the towel and dried himself still thinking. Should he bring Hadassah here again tonight? It would probably be too dangerous. Still, he had to find a way for her to stay with him.
Alexsis and several other members of the Gestapo were up early to make the usual inspection of the camp. Auschwitz was large so they were instructed to divide into groups. This week he and two others were told to inspect the group of 14 barracks next the entrance. With a stroke of luck he had managed to obtain the right to inspect Hadassah’s barrack.
Dressed in his uniform, Alexsis exited his room and went to join the other officers in the inspection. In the barracks he walked past hundreds of women. Many of the faces were void of emotion. They seemed to see right through him. Others stared at him with cold, stony anger. He didn’t blame them. Wasn’t it his people who were causing them so much misery and pain in the first place? He didn’t think he could stand the hatred in their eyes anymore. It got to him more and more with every inspection. By the end of it all he felt broken and tired for many reasons, not least was the one that Hadassah was not among the many women in the barracks. He went back inside barrack 7, bile rising in his throat. What if something had happened? It would be his fault. He should have acted faster. Why had he let her go last night? Frustrated, he cursed himself. Inside the barrack, he found a kapo. He recognized her as the one he had asked Hadassah about. This must be the woman who beat and abused her. Alexsis had also heard from outside sources that the women drank heavily.
“What’s become of 706281!” he demanded harshly. “Is she sick? She’s a good worker and we need her in the kitchen.”
“I’m sorry Herr Dering, I don’t have the privilege of knowing that information.” She said, words slurring, obviously not in the condition to be talking with anyone.
“Well go look into it!” She gave him a look that said she didn’t quite understand what he was saying. His patience was quickly slipping away.
“NOW!” She scampered nervously away. Alexsis sighed, pacing nervously. It seemed hours until the woman came back. What on earth was keeping her? When she came back she seemed to have sobered a little.
“Well?” Alexsis growled.
“She’s in the infirmary sir. She received a bad beating and lost consciousness.”
Alexsis had to struggle to keep his emotions in check. If he seemed too worried, the woman could easily become suspicious. He needed time to think.
“All right then… um… as soon as she’s well, inform me.”
Even though she was still mildly drunk, the woman smiled seductively. What did this woman truly know? Did she desire him? Many women did. At 24 he was tall and muscular, with short blonde hair and engaging brown eyes. But the woman he desired was Hadassah. He was through with all other women. He had to find Hadassah and make her believe that he would soon find a way out for her. They would be together. He had to make her believe that. The woman smiling at him at that moment was beginning to disturb him. Alexsis left without acknowledging her in the least.