One last bend before I lost sight of camp. I turned around and watched the smoke curl lazily from the stack. Innocent… Far enough away, I could barely inhale the scent. Didn’t matter. I carried it with me every second of my new reality. I didn’t want to forget. Not ever. I punched my hand in a hidden pocket of my pants. The contents would stay safe until the perfect time – Yahweh would let me know when and what to do with it.
As soon as I turned back, the neon colors of the sweet peas took over the scenery and assaulted my senses. I never could get used to the smell. Just as I had done each day this week, I bent over and heaved my meager breakfast onto a small patch of the flowers.
Luck or providence, as my bubbe (grandmother) always said, I was born blond and blue-eyed. No one’s sure why. No one else in my family looked like me. A miracle, my parent’s declared: a miracle that was to keep me alive and in good favor with the officers in command and their wives. Years later I knew the reason. A born story teller from the time I exited my mother’s womb, Yahweh chose me to tell this story and many others; stories so outrageous that they could never be made up.
At the time of this one, though, I didn’t know Yahweh’s reasoning. Each night as I walked back to camp, humiliated beyond belief that I was able to nibble on fresh bread and fruit, I watched the stack with its smoke floating eerily to Heaven. I prayed to God my family was alive and not part of the spirits I imagined I saw waving at me on their journey home.
I shook my head to come back to the present. This day…it was different…the Fuhrer’s arrival. It was his birthday and the plans had been going on for days. A blowout affair, it had been said. The camp was on high security. Prisoners were stuck in the barracks for fear the ladies in attendance might see something that might be offensive, meaning, Jews of course. My family and everyone else, waited for me to come back that evening and tell them side-splitting tales that would not make the Fuhrer look good, that they could count on.
I fought my family. I didn’t want to come and witness a man so ruthless that he could destroy a whole race of people, my people. Who was he to play god? I felt again the contents of my pocket and I couldn’t help but smile. Was it sinister? I didn’t care. Couldn’t care…wouldn’t.
I entered the house and set about my assigned tasks. We all worked like a well-oiled machine. All knew their orders. I was an anomaly. No other Jew was in attendance. I could slip in unnoticed. An officer’s wife always left clothes for me to change into before anyone else started work for the day. She was nice, oh, and pretty. I so wished she wasn’t married, and German. But she was, so it didn’t matter.
She whispered to me secrets she never should have told. Her husband surely would beat her if he knew but I would never betray the blond beauty of the manor and in exchange, she fed and clothed me so no one remembered that I was one of the contemptible animals the government was so ably destroying. Because of her, I was safe on this day and each day thereafter…
Each of the Fuhrer’s favorite foods was proudly displayed on the menu. It would never be said that Auschwitz was a poor camp, no indeed. If guests could eat as well, surely the prisoners could eat a quarter that. That’s what was whispered in dark corners by guests who tried to retain a conscience during a time when consciences were hard to retain.
When the staff gathered at the front to greet Hitler’s entourage, I felt Yahweh say go. Each place setting had a bowl of soup. Inside my pocket hid ashes, ashes of men, women, children – human beings that these people were trained to call animals.
This blowout party would get even better, Fuhrer Sir. You sit and eat your baklava and drink your soup. Only Yahweh will know that you are swallowing a half dozen people you gassed with rat poison. You, Fuhrer. Eat up. Enjoy your party. I’ll stand here and smile dutifully. Heil Hitler.
The events in this story are completely fictional, yet based on horrific true events in history
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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