Chapter 26

"Fighting and Fleeing"

1945. the Allies are coming in to free the Jews, communists, gypsies, and all the others who haven't died. We all have a planned devised: we're going to discard our uniforms, burn them in the trash, and then we'll run. I've gotten a dress for Emylie to wear as well. I'm not leaving her here to die!

We followed through with the plan, and Emylie was quite a handful! She refused to go and started to scream in protest. She wanted to stay with her fellow Jews, and wouldn't leave. I was forced to knock her out. The scar from the small cut that resulted is still on her head. She was so angry, but I told her that she was the fire that kept my heart warm and melted.

We were never caught as Nazis, and got away with all the crimes we committed. I married Emylie, but after much persuasion. She still had the ring I had given so many years ago, when I was still an innocent, lovable, impressionable boy. She said she had no feeling left for me, especially after all she'd seen me do in the camp and then run away from it. I reminded her slowly about the times we shared in school, sharing an apple under a tree in the summer, or reading books together. She finally came through for me, saying if it was the only way I could be saved, who was she to stop progress?

I always carried the guilt of what I had done upon myself. I never faced the music, like those twenty four or something Nazi officials did, standing trial at Nuremburg. I tried not to read the paper, since it only brought back memories for me of the crimes I had committed.

The whole Holocaust experienced changed me forever. I was a man with something disgusting on me that would never come off: murder. Who was I to play god, deciding who died and who didn't? Who was I to even volunteer to help my country? That was the worst decision of my life, and I had to live with it. Because of it, my father didn't speak to me and he died that way. I never got to tell him how much I loved him, or looked up to him. My mother died without me being the perfect son she'd wanted. Didn't my brothers or cousins feel this too? Or was I just weak?

Emylie told me eventually, the real reason she didn't want to marry me. She had gotten engaged to another man in the ghetto, his name had been Efrem and he was Jewish, like her. They would have had so much in common. She took out the necklace she had tucked under her shirt, I had never noticed it, and it held a silver ring. Efrem had died in Auschwitz, and Emylie knew it. I had to live with that now as well. She married me to help me, not because she loved me.

I was a Nazi and will have to forever carry that sin upon my shoulders. My name was Mandel Seifer Boeck.