November 8th 2007
She clutched her teddy bear tightly to her chest as men she had never met before roughly pushed her and the other children in the direction of a long concrete building. They called it the showers, saying that they were all dirty and had to be cleaned up. But the way they said "cleaned up" terrified the young girl.
All around her she could see and hear the other children. Most were crying, calling out for their parents and older siblings. Some were silent, their fear only seen in the streaks of tears that ran down their faces. The girl tried to remain as strong as she could, holding her tears in.
The men were pushing them along, urging them to walk faster. At one point, one man pushed her hard enough that she let go of her dirty old teddy bear. It tumbled into a large muddy puddle.
The girl, not wanting to lose the only thing she had left, turned to grab it. She was quickly grabbed by one of the men.
"It's dirty, leave it be," was all that the man said to her. But when she looked in his eyes she realized he was no man, he wasn't much older than her older brother who had only just turned 14. She also saw a strange sadness deep in his eyes, the kind of sadness that takes horrific events to develop.
The girl could not understand this, but she could not ask the man. He moved away from her too quickly.
As they approached the showers, the men seemed to become quite talkative. She heard words such as Zyklon-B, and effectiveness. She pondered about what these could be, but she knew that she would never find out. But, from how the men smiled in a sinister way that she had only ever seen on the men who abducted her family, she knew that these words were bad.
When they reached the showers, they were told to line up neatly. One by one they were stripped of their clothing, and anything that was on them was taken. They were then led into the showers.
The girl, during the long walk had fallen to the end of the line. Her short legs couldn't keep up with most of the other children and adults.
She knew that she shouldn't go into the showers, but she didn't know how to get away. The men had guns, and she had nothing. She had been separated from her parents, her brother, even her older sister. Not even her beloved teddy bear was there to comfort her.
She stood their, terrified, not knowing what was going to happen to her after she was stripped and forced to enter these showers. She doubted that it was really to be "cleaned up".
She was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn't notice that one of the men had walked up beside her.
"Hey little girl, didn't you drop your teddy bear back there?" the man asked, a small smirk appearing on his face.
She nodded, too terrified to open her mouth and say anything.
"How about you run along and go get it? I'm sure you miss it," he said trying to cover up the smile that was forming on his lips.
She felt confused, "But… I was told not too…"
"Yes, but now I'm telling you that you're allowed, and since I'm in charge I won't let anyone stop you," he said while still attempting to cover up the smile creeping on the corners of his lips. The girl did not notice this though; she was too caught up in the excitement of reuniting with her teddy bear.
"I… I can?" she said her eyes growing wide. She began to doubt what her parents had told her of the evilness of the Nazis. These men seemed to be nice.
"Yes, now hurry along."
The little girl turned and walked around the children behind her, in the direction of where she had dropped her precious teddy bear.
Much to her surprise she heard men yelling at her, "Stop." "Don't go any further." "Get back here."
She stopped and turned to look at the men in bewilderment. She looked at the man who had told her to run along and retrieve her teddy bear. He was talking to some of the other men who then stopped yelling at her.
They looked at her again and gestured for her to continue along.
"Run along little girl," one of the men called to her pointing in the direction she had been previously attempting to walk in.
The little girl took a step back, unsure of what she should do. But, when encouraged by the men she began to trail towards her teddy bear once more.
She could hear chuckles coming from many of the older men that had jeered her to continue on. She began to wonder if she had been wrong to question her parent's judgment on these Nazis.
The girl began to hear strange clicking noises, similar to that of her father's hunting rifle. She froze instantly, her fearing overwhelming her.
She carefully turned and peered over her shoulder at them men behind her. She saw that they were not holding guns at her; in fact they had their hands behind their backs.
Reassures, the girl continued her trek towards her fallen teddy bear, not going incredibly fast.
She began to hear further jeers from the men, "Hurry up there girl, if you don't we won't let you get you teddy bear anymore."
She began to walk faster, and after hearing the clicks of guns again became filled with an overwhelming terror.
She heard a man yell, "Target practice." She had never heard this before, but she did know that when her father had gone hunting he had often referred to his kill as being his target.
The little girl knew now that her parents had been right and she started run as fast as her little legs could carry her. She ran and ran towards her teddy bear, ignoring the shouts of the men who had begun to pursue her.
It didn't take long for them to shoot her down, not with the amount of artillery at their disposal.
But, when they found her she was clutching her old dirty teddy bear tightly to her chest.