Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Singing (10/31/05)
TITLE: The Hope
By Brandi Roberts
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The few who were brave enough to sing only helped to encourage those who weren't. We were like a small community, helping one another in our tasks during the day and cleaving to each other at night during the cold. The comfort of at least having a place to sleep for the night lingered in the air. Rumor had it, they were going to be marching us out of the camp the next day.
Early in the morning, we were awoke to the sounds of the guards yelling. "Up and out, now!" A frantic lot of women we were as we jumped out of our beds and rushed out to line up in front of the barracks. We could see other groups of prisoners shivering outside their buildings as they waited for instruction.
"Today, you are to march! Those who cannot make the trip must be left behind. Those who are well enough, must march!"
The fated day had come. Many of the women had grown close to one another in the barracks, and the choice between staying and marching tore at their hearts. To be left behind was a sentence of death. There were too many older women who were not strong enough to make the trip, I was one of those who volunteered to stay behind with them.
We watched in sadness and awe as those who chose to leave were lined up and sent like cattle out into the cold. It made us wonder who really was receiving the death sentence, them or us? We were to last as long as we possibly could. Again, we resolved to singing to keep up our courage. The days wore on, and what seemed like months had only been a week.
Finally, the day came. The events of that day will forever be etched in the pages of my memory. (I only wish that the others had been there to experience it with me.) The Soviet Army arrived and liberated us from the prison that had become our home. Relief, joy, sadness; every emotion that could be felt was mirrored on the faces of, and mixed with the haunting of those who had been left behind. We were free.
May 14, 1948 takes it place in my memory, right beside January 27th, 1945. It was the day that David Ben Gurion announced the establishment of the State of Israel. It had been three years since that fateful day when we were released from Auschwitz, and I was living in the United States. Tears formed in the corners of my eyes as I heard the people, my people, singing The Hope - singing HaTikvah. My voice cracked as I joined in singing, and the tears found their way across my cheeks. Once more, we would have a nation to call our own.
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