The guard unlocked the heavy door of the boxcar with a grunt. The door slid open slowly and screamed loudly whenever he tried to force the door to move quicker. He grimaced at the smell of decay and human waste that wafted out of the crowded car and turned his head to the side so he would not be forced to see the desolate humans and their pathetic faces. True, the people were Jews and the Jewish people were known to have caused much of the destruction in Germany; that was why the Jews were being taken care of in the first place; but many of those poor helpless people looked like someone he knew. His best friend from school had looked similar to the little Jewish boy he had seen behind the barbed wire fence in the waiting area of Auschwitz. He had almost called after a Jewish man who, from the back, looked eerily like his uncle who had been killed by an American bomb over a year ago.
He understood the importance of the Arian race; blond hair, blue eyes, and pale white skin, like his own perfect features. The guard had even seen firsthand about the horrors a Jew could do when, on the night after Kristallnacht, he had seen a Jew attack a good German man. He was glad that the Third Reich was taking care of the Jewish question and was more than happy to help out with the great solution but sometimes he wondered about the people walking out of the boxcar and the people who had died while in the boxcar. Could every single one of them have committed part of the heinous crime against Germany?
He shook his head and gripped his gun tighter before stepping out of the way. "Everyone out of the car now! Single file line!" He yelled into the darkened opening that led into the boxcar. Similar shouts echoed along the train as all the other guards began unloading the Jews to finally send them to get their comeuppance.
Dark eyes, mostly brown, stared out of the boxcar. It took a few moments for his yells to be understood but finally a woman with a babe in her arms rushed out of the car. He wordlessly pointed her towards the growing crowd of Jewish pigs and she rushed off.
The guard didn't know why the woman would rush to her death. He knew nothing about the false promises made to the Jews about a better place to live, nor did he understand that when compared to the Ghettoes these people had been shipped from, Auschwitz looked like a paradise. All the guard knew was that every single person disembarking from the train would probably be dead by the end of the day.
The boxcar he was stationed at was an easy one. The guard had only needed to prod a few people into moving and there had not been any violence. Soon the tumult of bodies squeezing themselves out of the car slowed to a trickle until finally there were only one or two bodies remaining.
The last person to climb out of the car was a young girl of about seventeen. She had a smudge of dirt on her face and her long, light brown hair was a disaster of knots and snags but for some reason she was still very beautiful. She climbed out of the boxcar slowly. Her legs were a little too petite to reach the ground and she looked stiff and cramped from the hours she had spent packed in the back of the car but she still managed to be as graceful as a Russian ballerina as she jumped down to the ground and began to walk over towards the group of the condemned. She sent him a small white smile as she passed his position before picking up her pace to join her people.
The guard watched her go with a heavy heart, longing after a beautiful girl he could never meet. The girl was Jewish; stitched onto the sleeve of her dirty uniform was a crude yellow star with JUDE written on it; and that meant she was a criminal. But she was beautiful and she had smiled at him, one of her captors and executioners, as if thanking him for something.
He watched the woman walk through the Gates to Hell and turned his head away from the sight of her legs disappearing into the crowd of the condemned. She would either go left or right, death or work until death, but he would never know; just as the girl did not know about the giant furnaces that burned the remains of Jewish bodies into ash. She probably smelled the caustic stench of hundreds of her burnt kin right now, but she was lucky enough not to recognize the terrible odor. The guard hoped she would go to the showers. That was a mostly painless way to die, asphyxiation by Zyklon B. Then she would not know about the furnaces or about how the Nazi's were taking her belongings and were giving them to more deserving Germans. The guard almost felt sorry for a Jew! He shook his head and left to return to his barracks. The men who had been sent to remove the dead bodies entered the boxcar as the guard left.
The guard walked down the stone path that led toward his bed and sighed. The image of the girl's smile would not leave his mind. The thought that even now she could just be a memory instead of a living-breathing creature hurt him.
So what if the girl was Jewish. She was beautiful but she was kind. That girl had smiled at him, her captor and executioner! Even through all her pain and suffering, the knowledge that her life was a horrible cycle of death, the girl had still found the strength to smile at her enemy. So maybe she was Jewish, but she was not one of the pigs the Third Reich made Jews out to be.
His feet had strayed from the path unconsciously and the guard soon found himself outside the barbed wire fence. The girl was sitting on the prisoners' side, staring up at the sky. The guard saw a bird fly overhead and watched the woman smile.
It was the last smile she would ever give.
"What do you think you're doing here?" The security officer with the gun walked up to the girl with a snarl on his face. "An attempted escapee? Well all escapees must be punished." He laughed coldly, his voice harsh in the cool evening air.
The man pulled out his gun, aimed, and the girl died. The smile was still on her face even as blood pooled on her prisoners garb.
She was happy to have seen a bird during her last moments of life on Earth.
The guard turned and started walking. He walked out of the Camp, away from the barracks and the death and the Jews and the Nazis. He walked until he fainted from hunger and exhaustion. And finally, when his mind could not see the girl and her smile any longer, he stopped, and he cried.
Six Million Dead-
And that small girl had been just one.