We left for Sobibor about halfway through the project at Belzec; by June, anyone left over had caught up to us, but had been sent directly to the chambers; survive the firing squad at Belzec, only to breathe in carbon monoxide at Sobibor.
The work here was identical to at Belzec. Feliciano and I were once again treated to taking bodies from the gas chambers, and burning them over the fires outside. I could only be glad we were not wrestling carcasses from the ground again.
Apart from this one small difference, there was another one: at Sobibor, the prisoners were afraid over what had happened at Belzec and the surrounding area. And they were therefore restless; when we got there in the spring, there was already talk of an uprising, and secretive plans for an escape. They were more unruly and daring, less afraid than prisoners in other concentration camps, as they could sense their end. And this made the guards harsher, crueler, more liable to strike.
We were moving bodies under the heat of the sun in that summer when it happened.
Italy was struggling under the weight of a body at least twice the size of his, stumbling towards the fire while trying to carry it in his frail arms without actually being able to see around the carcass. I was in the gas chamber about to lift a new body to take outside when I heard the gun shot.
"Italy," I muttered, all the blood in my body freezing in that one, horrific moment.
I dropped the corpse, rushing out into the bright sunlight, searching frantically for the copper head with the flyaway curl, nearly sobbing out loud when I saw his body lying on the ground with an infuriated guard standing over him with ferocity in his eyes.
Numbly, I raced over, not heeding shouts of enraged guards, feeling as though I were moving in slow motion, trying to sprint though water, though in reality I was within just a few yards of the scene in hardly a dozen seconds. All I could think was Dear God, don't let this be true. Dear God, don't let my poor Feli have died like this... And as I stopped short, breathing hard from both the exertion - which normally would have been like a walk in the park for me - and the crushing feeling present in my heart, I stared at Feliciano.
And he moved. Just as my heart was shriveling, he moved. But at the same time, the guard pulled out his whip, and my heart stopped once more.
A whip? Oh, the vicious, barbaric irony that he was to strike Feliciano with a whip.
I barely even noted the gun lying on the ground that had discharged to start this whole mess, and I would not find out until much later that it had only been fired when clumsy Feliciano had fallen and toppled over the guard, who had lost his grip on the weapon, causing it to fall and fire.
All I cared about was that the guard had knocked Feli to the ground, and was standing over him with a whip in his hands, and I had to get to him to save him.
Some of the other guards caught up in order to restrain me as a fire blazed to life in my eyes and I attempted to break free and save my love as he stirred, oblivious to the pain that was soon to be his. Quickly realizing how pointless it was though without my strength, I cried out, "Feliciano! You need to move now! Liebling, please!" My voice was strained so not to crack, and as tears began to obscure my vision, I saw him slowly lift his head to the sound of my voice, a soft and dazed "Ve~?" escaping from his pale and bleeding lips -
Right as the first crack of the whip split the air - and Feli's skin. As red sprayed out from his torn and tattered flesh-standing out brightly against the dead and dismal ground - and a scream was ripped from his mouth, I fought all the harder to try to reach him. My eyes drank in the sight of his torture as the second cherry stripe streaked onto his back, I wondered if this was some sort of Divine Punishment; if I was finally getting leveled from Heaven for all the times I had stood in the guard's place, bloodied whip in hand and flecks of flesh flicking past my impassive face.
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Homosexuality was forbidden under Paragraph 175 of the Nazi Reich-Germany and Italy must pay the price of their love in blood and tears within the concentration camps as punishment. **Picture not mine, it is off deviantart or Google images :)