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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

TITLE: Ihre Namen Sind
By Ruth Neilson


Oma’s black leather bound book was within reach of twelve-year-old Lydia. Six years ago, when she had come to live with her grandparents, her Opa had exclaimed that Lydia was a spitting image of her Oma...in every aspect, including her curiosity. The book had drawn her attention then with the fine gold print that simply read, Ihre Namen Sind, and it still continued to do so six years later.

Oma and Opa were gone and Lydia stared at the black book with the gold print. She had to resist the urge to open it up and read it. She had promised that she wouldn’t read the book. Oma had told her that it held horrible secrets... things that Kinder shouldn’t know.

Quickly, Lydia made her decision. She grasped the book and slid it off the shelf. It was heavy, and looked more like an album than a book. Lydia eased herself onto the hardwood floor and cradled the book in her lap. There was an air of mystery…and sadness that clung to the book and with trembling fingers, she opened it to begin to read.

Mein Aufstand by Werner Weiss.
Translated by Adaline Zimmermann

There were pages of yellowed paper with filled hand written script. Lydia frowned as she traced the fading black ink. She wished she were able to read the German lettering. She kept on turning the pages until she found the translation.

The typewriter’s print seemed harsh in comparison to the flowing script. Words of tortures buried themselves into Lydia’s mind. Men, women, and children who died because of they were different. Lydia swallowed painfully as she read Werner Weiss’s story.

She couldn’t stop the images from flooding her mind. The words intrigued her, and all at the same time, repelled her. But she continued to read—cradling the book in her lap. Other stories followed Werner Weiss’s; similar and different all at the same time.

Lydia was captured and didn’t hear a key scrapping in the lock. Only her Oma’s gentle voice started her out of the daze.

“Lydia, vhat are you reading?” Oma asked in her heavy accented English.

“Oma...I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to, but I wanted to know what was in this book. I know that you said that I was too young.” Lydia’s voice dropped off as her grandmother’s face turned ashen in color.

Oma slowly knelt down next to Lydia and wrapped an arm around her shoulders.

“Oma, how’d did you get these stories?”

There was a heavy sigh, and Oma shook her head and turned back to the first page and in a trembling voice, she listed each name and what nursing home they lived in until they passed away.

Finally, Oma admitted, “I am Adaline Zimmermann, my first story was given to me by Herr Weiss. I was an orderly at his nursing home twenty years after the end of the war.”

“Oma...why don’t you show this book to others?”

“Because, I don’t think the world is ready for the truth...one day they will be though.”

Lydia chewed her bottom lip thoughtfully. She brushed a lock of dirty blonde hair out of her face. She found herself nodding in agreement.

“Oma...may I keep on reading your book though?”

Oma smiled and squeezed Lydia tightly for a brief moment. “It is time that Herr Weiss and the others are remembered again.”
Translations in order of appearance:
Ihre Namen Sind—Their Names Are
Mein Aufstand—My Rebellion

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This article has been read 686 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 02/01/07
Oh, I really enjoyed this. I want to hear all their stories now. Consider "expanding" this to actually include on of the stories contained in the book. All in all, a well polished entry.
Leigh MacKelvey02/02/07
This is a wondeful subject to write about. I am always intriqued with the stories of the survivors. I enjoyed this ery much. It was well written with interesting extra touches throughout.
Jan Ackerson 02/03/07
Tender and heartbreaking--very well-written. I love this.
Donna Powers 02/04/07
Very lovely and I agree that this story should be expanded. You write well ... and about an important subject. Excellent!
Jacquelyn Horne02/04/07
Good story. ...All of the above.
Julie Arduini02/07/07
I love pieces like this, sadly I wonder if younger generations have any idea what really happened as this story points out. This is a keeper!
Dennis Fletcher02/07/07
Wow, what I would do to get the book in my hands and read this rich history. well written.
Pat Guy 02/07/07
I was so hoping this was a real book and we would get to see the title at the end! Don't tell me this isn;t a real book! You captured me from word one until the end! What a beautiful and gripping story.

Shari Armstrong 02/07/07
Wonderfully written - and their stories should never be forgotten!
Myrna Noyes02/07/07
Lovely, touching story with a reminder to never forget the hard lessons of the past. There were a few mechanical errors in your piece that would be taken care of by proofreading, but all in all the piece was compelling and powerful! Thank you!