A Child's Eyes
“Come on little one, time to come in now.”
I looked up from the game I’d been playing with my friends Pietor and Harald and saw my mummy at the door.
“Bye bye, see you tomorrow,” I whispered and grabbed my dolly.
It was my only toy, but I didn’t mind. I’d made lots of friends since we’d moved to our new home and I was with Mama and Grandma and lots of other kind people.
We shared our new house with many other families. It wasn’t warm, but we had some food and it had kept the rain off during the ferocious winter. But it was spring now, and we were able to play in the yard or walk around a little if we were good.
I ran inside and sat next to my Granma. She was already gumming down the grey mush we were given to eat, and she mumbled and grumbled to herself as she dipped a hunk of bread in her thin stew.
Mama gave me a tin plate and we sat in silence watching the others in the cabin.
As the sun dipped down over the pine trees, and orange clouds danced across the sky like the fairies in the stories, Mama tucked me up in bed and softly sang me a song. Her dark hair dipped down and cast her face in long shadows in the gloom, and I pretended not to notice how sad she looked. When she finished, a group of old men sang a hymn in one corner of the house and all was peaceful.
“Will tomorrow be nice Mama?” I asked.
“We can but hope little one. God has sent us a sunset to enjoy; we have food inside and a roof to keep out the cold.”
She smiled a sad little smile at me and stroked my face with her soft slender hands; her pianist’s fingers still supple and fine despite the rigours of the recent winter.
“Will Daddy be watching the sunset?” I asked.
I shouldn’t have mentioned him. Tears clouded her eyes and she bowed her head. We hadn’t seen him since we came to the new place. One night he was there, then he’d gone out to find food and had never come back.
“He may be little one,” she said quietly, “he may be.”
The next day was different! We normally woke up and had something to eat, and then I went and played with my friends. This morning before breakfast even happened, the men in grey came round and spoke to the elders. They looked very serious and there was much discussion. Then we all said a prayer together. I like the prayers, they always sound deep and interesting, but I prefer the singing.
A few minutes after the grey men had left, Mama picked me up and we went for a walk with everyone else in the hut towards a large hall.
“Are we going to a party Mama?”
She looked at me strangely. She was very pale this morning, and everyone was very quiet.
“In a way little one: we’re going to new place and hopefully we’ll meet up with Daddy too.”
We approached the large doors of the big concrete building and joined the queue of people going in. I clutched my dolly tight as everyone pressed together, our breath steaming in the cool morning air.
“Are we going to have breakfast in the moment?” I asked.
“In a little while” she said faintly.
As we got to the large door a man in grey smiled at me and I stuck out my tongue and grinned at him. Mama told me off and I got upset and dropped dolly on the floor. Mama didn’t notice and I started crying as we got to the door but she wouldn’t listen to me.
“A moment Fraulein,” said the man in grey. Mama stopped and turned towards him looking worried for a moment.
He smiled at me again, a little kind smile and passed dolly to me, dusting off a couple of bits of twig.
“Thank you, sir,” I said. Mama had always told me to say thank you.
“I’m sorry.” He said it very softly, a faint whispering breath in the cold air, but the man had spoken to Mama not me. She bowed her head and looked at the floor for a moment. When she lifted it again, she moved her hair away from her face with a free hand but she nodded briefly to him.
“Where are we going now Mama?” I asked as we got into the large hall.
“We’re going to see the stars little one.”
“Ooh. Stars like these?” I said tracing the six pointed star on my jacket and then the matching one on my mother’s coat.
“Yes little one.”
We stood with everyone else in the big hall, waiting for the stars. Some people were crying, some were praying and several of the old men were singing again. A hissing noise began and some people began to cough. The hissing increased, there was darkness and then small pinpricks of light as the stars lit up before us.
The German soldier stood with his head bowed in prayer as he looked at the mound of dead bodies in front of him. He picked up a small dolly and looked at it mutely, tears welling up in his eyes as he remembered the pretty little dark eyed girl from earlier in the day.
His transfer papers had finally come through after months of pleading with his superiors. Even the Russian front line was more bearable than the soul tainting horrors of this place.
Placing the doll into the cold hand of its owner he picked up his pack and walked through the steel gates of Auschwitz towards another fire streaked sky. Tears ran down his cheeks as he marched away from the darkness behind him.
The sounds of their passing would follow him for the rest of his life.
~~~ The End ~~~
Author's Note - This is based on a program I saw on the BBC about an 83 year old survivor's experiences and a news article I found on the net about a guard at Auschwitz called Oskar Groening. His experiences and desperate attempts to get away from the horrors he saw form the latter part of the story: horrors that coloured the rest of his life.
There is a movement in some parts of the world to deny this murderous and evil part of history, even here in the UK. The Fascists deny that it ever happened. They are morons.
Denial means that the human race will never learn from its past crimes and mistakes. Without knowledge we are stagnant.
In Germany, denial of the Holocaust is a crime and rightly so.
A Child's Eyes
Gavin Wilson on Wattpad
A Child's Eyes Copyright © 2010 Gavin Wilson.
All rights reserved.
Cover by Bobjan70 - thank you kind sir
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A Child's EyesShort Story
The innocent are often the first to suffer in the face of evil. There is good however in unexpected places, but the consequences of another's actions will haunt the memories of an entire generation...