To her it is always important to remember history, the mystery of antiquities place within modern space. She recalls the day when she really learned of pain, the burning red desires of melting hearts that had fallen apart. That day she learned that not everyone was blessed with the open arms to be free and permeate to a place where they can rest assured that one-day life opens the door.
She was in middle school and she was learning about a time they called the Holocaust at the local Jewish Centre. She knew from the moment that she saw the images of scattered human beings that were made with the same human mechanics as her, she would never be the same again. They all appeared as thin as wafers that one eats at mass. Laying in this pictures were piles of bodies to form one gigantic and devastating monument that truly showed hate with more horror than imaginable, or tangible. There was no salvation to be seen here.
She wandered through the long halls of black & white pictures holding back the tears in her eyes that shuffled from side to side. With no reason for her to explain why, she just felt a little shy but slowly began to cry.
She threw-up in the pit of her stomach when she realized that she was not underprivileged at all. Sure her dad may have drank too much and occasionally thumped out his anger through clenched fists, and the coldness of his permeating devilishly, possessed gray eyes. But though she may have been damaged by the lack of his ability to see how much he had hurt her and her siblings, she could still feel the cold air fill the pressure of her chest. Breathing alive became like a most valuable treasure to her that she had once taken for granted.
How could this be true? How could we ever inflict so much pain, with the reason for nothing except for selfish gain? Even the word Holocaust seemed to communicate pain.
She entered the lecture area where she was soon greeted to the sight of a gray haired, delicate old woman, about 85 and about 5’2. She watched her slowly move towards the wooden chair that resembled the lure of an olden casket promising everlasting peace in the thereafter. Though the old woman moved slowly towards the wooden chair that sat dead center, she, the girl, sat patiently transfixed.
The old woman introduced herself as a Holocaust survivor and asked her and her fellow classmates to give her the courtesy to please be heard. But she was mostly speaking to her; she knew that from the tone of her voice. Her focus was as sharp as an arrow and her legs began to shake as the old woman recounted her story of how she was shipped to a concentration camp with her mother, aunt, her younger brother and her father one cold, merciless, and dreary day. The train ride seemed long and was not comfortable in any manner of the word, the old woman said. She was packed amongst hundreds of other women in one cart. There was nowhere to sit or even spit. She had been split from her brother and father already, but she still had her mother and her aunt close by.
The now old woman recalled how her mother held her tight and assured her that everything was going to be alright. There was no food, there was no water. There was only them. Those who would soon be gone. Those who would soon become the images that appeared in the pictures on the walls that would haunt me many nights in my dreams.
When they arrived they were mutually stripped and examined for health, then they were separated into lines of men and women. She said she clung to her mother’s side and waited for a moment to see the salvation that would surely come to her and her family, and all these people who has ridden the train with her in such miserable condition, but still surrounded her like a warm blanket of kinship.
She was hungry and thirsty, but her hunger and thirst for home was even stronger. From the line of these men and women, they began to divide the young from the old. With the blink of an eye, everything once again changed and she was commanded to leave her mother and aunt behind.
She cried and cried but this did not heal her insides. She was slapped and pushed by a guard aside. Soon enough she was alone, in a place full of uniform stripped outfits of blue and white, with hundreds of young strangers by her side.
She, the girl that was watching, now began to blubber with tears and could no longer hide her fears. She took her sleeve and drowned in the misery.
The old woman continued and told them, but mostly her, that from then she became a slave of the Nazis until she was emancipated at the end of the war by allied troops that rode in with their regal tanks, and told her it would now be alright. Everything had gone oh so wrong.
She ran around the grounds to the area where all the older women were housed. She searched for a familiar face; she found nothing except the marks of soot that covered the identities of these women who looked as empty and clear as glass. She looked even harder, nothing. Her mother and her aunt were gone, gone.
She fell to the floor and began to weep. She surrendered to defeat, even thought she had managed to survive. She eventually found the courage to seek her father and brother. She ran not knowing where she was at all, somewhere in hell, the old woman said, was the most accurate description. She found that her father and brother were no more, no more.
No more. Gone. Alone and young. Broken, abandoned, traumatized. This was her life. From that moment on, the girl who had come to with her class communally to the Holocaust Centre placed her hands on her eyes. She felt so connected to that woman, that she could have laid her body down and died.
No, that was all wrong. The old woman had reminded her, the girl, of the strength that we all possess inside. From that moment in a silent prayer, she promised the old woman and the universe that she would promise to always feel alive, even when she was broken inside. She would not just go down and die without fighting for the memories of those who were forced into the light.