Remembering Auschwitz terror

It was both the worst and best day of my life; coloured by a cartwheel of emotions.

Up until that day, the pictures had been greys, blacks and white.

But on that day, the pale wash of relief added the unexpected splash of colour.

They pulled us off that train, dragged us off and herded us like cattle.

We were greeted by pyjama clad people, who followed orders from officers and the gate that read ''Arbeit Macht Frei''. Work Makes You Free.

While being pushed, shoved and dragged, I clung to Mama and let my eyes and thoughts roam.

I couldn't see the man we were meant to work for - Schindler.

The only thing I saw was the chimneys, great stone towers erupting awful ash; and the stench.

I was sure nothing could smell worse than that. What kind of factory was this?A soldier popped up in front of me yelling and cursing, his face red and strained.

I started to panic, cringing against my mother.

What if we'd been put on the wrong train?The goose bumps ran down my spine.

We were now lined up being dictated to in German. I didn't understand them.

''Run,'' Mama suddenly hissed, pushing me forward.

Pushed and dragged, I bumped around like my thoughts.

It's the worst feeling, not being sure what to feel.

I was happy to be out of Plazow, but now I was confused, unsure and scared.

Scared? I was terrified, bewildered and ... I don't know.

That now familiar tickle increased down my back.

We stopped running in front of a low grey, stone building.

The sign on the door read Bath-haus - Bath-house.

We all glared silently at the chimneys, rising up, spewing ash.

Rumour said that gas, not water, flowed in the showers.

Would that happen to us? Unanswerable questions plagued me.

The double doors were flung open and we were herded in - animals into a barn.

Inside the grey building, grey officers ordered us to undress.

Clothes in this pile, shoes that pile, photos here, people there.

I was caught in the waves of people swept towards the chamber.

The doors locked behind us.

Naked and terrified, we huddled together, watery eyes pleading the shower heads above to rain out water, not gas.

Time dripped on.

We waited. And waited.

Lumps in my throat turned to mountains.

People nervously gulped air; would this be our last breath?Suddenly the showers exploded, pumping out a freezing cold draught.

I buried my head in Mama's shoulder, flinching when something dripped on me.

I turned my head and stared at it on my arm.

The most amazing sight.

Water.

 


By Holly Shaw, Year 12, Lawrence Area School