In high school…in the 80’s I dreamt of becoming a writer. I wrote short stories, and poems of teenage angst. One of my stories was actually published in my high school newspaper, The Utopian. In light of recent tragic events, I believe God led me to find this article after being buried amongst decades of memories. Therefore, I believe He is leading me to share this once again…lest we forget.
Reflections… by Mindy Alexander (circa, 1983)
My Grandfather told me stories. What it was like. For him. For the six million others. The labor camps. Being forced to pile up the dead bodies. If you were too old to work you simply disappeared. Perhaps into the gas chambers or into a bleak hole in the ground. It was all coming back now like flashing pictures of the past from the wooden encassed television which sat on its cold metal stand.
I stared in disbelief as the machine was given life. A man with small, squinty eyes and a square, black moustache glared at me. Me! He was looking at me. Not just at me, through me. I met his eyes with a cold, hard stare. A thick German accent spilled forth from his lips, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up on end. Fuzzy round spots danced in front of my eyes. I felt as if my world had turned upside down. dizziness and confusion took over as I watched pictures of my people being shot down where they stood. Limbs being blown off bodies. Blood an dpieces of flesh scattered upon the dusty earth. Slaughter. Holocaust. The Final Solution. Hitler’s SS men, the “superior” race, lining up thousands of innocent people as you would cattle at an auction. I cringed with each shot fired.
Screams. Silent screams. With their eyes. Their silent, unrelenting cries echo in my soul. I could not bear to watch, yet I could not turn away. Their cries, “No please, I don’t want to die,” fading off into the horror of the early morning.
Men, hands tied behind their frail bodies. Forced down on their knees. Tow young men. Their whole lives in front of them. Two shots rang out echoing in my mind. As their bodies slumped forward I cringed thanking God for not letting me be born forty-five years ago. Tears streamed my face.
Pain. Anguish. Horror. Helplessness. All emotions they could feel. Were felt by me. Me. A child of the 80’s How could I feel it? No answer. There was no logical reasoning I could find, except, that maybe, through my Grandfather’s stories they had become real. All too real. I wanted to forget. Needed to forget. But I couldn’t. Not when it was being played out like some sick, horrifyingly real movie. But it was real. And I was a witness. To it. To the horror.
People. Innocent people being carelessly thrown and locked up in the cold, damp cattle cars. Hands reaching out from behind the bars, groping, trying to scratch and claw their way out. The “Angel of Death” silently patrols the dry desolate grounds surrounding these horrifying cells. He slowly turns and signals to his men. The train starts to, slowly, embark on its death ride. Women cry, men quietly pray, children, bewildered smile at their parents looking for a small glint of hope. Desperate, these people cling to the last few hours of life God has given them. I sit motionless in my chair. My hands sweat profusly. They grip at one another tyring to ease the pain and anger inside me. A scream reaches the top of my throat. My eyes widen in terror as I see my ancestors’ destination.
The cold, grey buildings loomed up in front of them like giant tombstones,. I could smell the damp, musky stench that came from these stony graves. “No,” I cry. But I knew it was too late. About forty-five years too late. As they were being unloaded from the train their eyes widened in horror. One man struggline with the SS. One shot fired. A thud as his body hit the ground. Silence. Screams from a woman and child. His wife. His child. Ugly, grotesque men, in Nazi garb, shove these people in straight lines. Hittler-like voices tell them they are to take showers to get cleaned up. “No, don’t go in there!” I scream. They slowly walk into the square stalls. Oh, if I could only go back and change the past. It’s gas. No!! Screams. I can watch no more. I get up from y seat and run from the room. My teacher is not far behind.
“Hey, you o.k.?” He asks, gently grabbing my arm.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” My voice shakes and quivers in my throat. My heart beats wildly. Tears stain my face. Black splotches of mascara cake my eyes.
“Listen, the video is almost over. Why don’ you go to the bathroom and get cleaned up.”
“Thanks.” I breath a heavy sigh of relief as I walk silently to the girls’ bathroom. I splash handfuls of cold water on my face. My nerves ease a little as I let the cool liquid tricle down my face.
I catch my reflection in the mirror. I walk closer to the glass, dabbing at my face with a paper towel. Words in the mirror quickly catch my eye. Oh God!! I turn slowly to read them off the wall. KILL THE PIGS!!!
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” ~ John 15:12