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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Singing (10/31/05)

TITLE: The Hope
By Brandi Roberts


A soft melody echoed through the darkened room. The night was cold and we were huddled together to capture each others warmth. Hunger pains were felt commonly throughout and the tears of the women, both young and old, were lost between the slats of wood that made our beds. Our delicate chorus made its way up to God from thankful hearts; thankful to have lived another day.

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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This article has been read 1331 times
Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany11/07/05
Very powerful story. I liked the line about whose death was it. Thank you!
Gabrielle Morgan11/08/05
I can only imagine the horror or the time you describe so powerfully. To find comfort and courage in song was a blessing indeed. A story of hope in the very worst of times. Well done.
Karen O'Leary11/09/05
Good article with feeling and inspirtaton. The first person point of view works will in this piece. Typo ? "take it place". Thank you for sharing this moving story.
Jan Ackerson 11/09/05
Excellent, Brandi. So bleak, and yet so full of hope. You're very good at capturing the setting. Thanks for this!
Rachel Burkum11/09/05
Thanks for sharing this moving story. It's one of those that makes me quite pensive as I read through the emotion.
Laurie Glass 11/09/05
You drew me right in. Great job.
Debbie Sickler11/09/05
Very well done Brandi. Didn't feel like it was written by a young twenty something Canadian at all, more like it was written by someone who had actually lived it. You got inside the story very well and took your readers there too. Great job!
Alexandra Wilkin11/10/05
Deeply affecting and haunting, and beautifully told. God bless.
Suzanne R11/10/05
Ooh ... I got a shiver up my body when I read it the first time, then skimmed it again just because I liked it so much and got exactly the same shiver.

Well done!
Shari Armstrong 11/10/05
Well written -powerful!! (wish you'd put the title of the anthem in the original language in your first hint -might have found it sooner!)
Lauren Bombardier11/10/05
I should have figured this was yours, Brandi! Excellent job. I've always had a heart for the people who suffered in the concentration camps.
Anita Neuman11/10/05
Sorrowful, but well-worded. You've captured the emotion well. Great job!
Pat Guy 11/10/05
Bravo Brandi - don't ever get on to me again about making you cry! Beautiful, powerful and loving. Great job girl!
Cassie Memmer11/10/05
Excellent portrayal! Excellent writing! Just excellent! Did I say it was excellent? LOL!
B Brenton11/11/05
Now what'd I say about writing too well?


You deserved very high commends you anointed writer of God!

Your blessings (as a gifted writer) shine through every word, every emotion, ever visual that you portray here...
Julianne Jones11/11/05
When you write about God's chosen people, your writing absolutely shines. I've witnessed it before and this is another excellent example. Good job!
Linda Watson Owen11/11/05
You've told a story that's deeper than time in simple, direct, gripping language!
dub W11/12/05
Well done tribute to hatikva, the Jewish people are a symbol of hope.
Val Clark11/12/05
Very powerful, Brandi!
Brandi Roberts05/14/06
To save from confusion - when the commenters say "Brandi"... they mean "Jezreel" ;)