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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