Over the years, we have been forgotten. Those called heretics by most, but Ruska Roma by themselves. I, with my family, are just some of those by that name.
I am Katy, a young girl born in Russia. While I have no one house, as I travel within a caravan, I am not without home. The entire country is my home. The forest floor is my living room. The cool cave in the summer is my bedroom. The winding river my sink.
My family and I traveled with many others of our kind. Though not all related by blood, we were tighter than any related family. We knew of each other and accepted one another for one's downfalls, thus making our ties the strongest.
I remember a day when a man asked to take my family's photo. We, translating to my grandpa, mom, aunt, and uncle, along with myself, posed in front of our wagon. I had to admire my mom as she posed handsomely with my aunt. They were elegant while I just looked young and foolish. My grandpa however was humorous. He stuck out his tongue, while holding me up. My uncle laughed at us. The image of that scene stills remains, though our names not connected to it. It didn't matter, as long as people look at it and see us as people. Sadly, that would be my last happy memory of all my family together.
A couple weeks later, my uncle was enlisted into the army. He says he did it for the pride of our country, Mother Russia, and the pride of our people. I don't think I quite understood, but what child could, really? Truly understand the concept of pride and what pride meant to the survival of our people. Soon he shaved and went off to war.
I heard stories of the battles that went on, but never of my uncle. We never received any letters nor any word of some sort. I would go on to assume he died bravely in battle. I wish to maintain the image of honor of my uncle that he wished to instill.
Not much later the Germans came for the rest of my family. Apparently the Ruska Roma were put on the list to be "exterminated". We were apparently dangerous to the cause as we embodied the idea of freedom. We practiced our religion, freely. Learned anything and everything, freely. We were freedom and that put the Nazi ideals in danger. So the Germans came to collect us.
Those who refused to go were made examples of. I cried when my mom refused to leave the caravan behind. I remember the Germans laughing as the stripped her down while she fought back. Bruises covered her body with blood dripping from opened wounds. Her screaming would forever haunt my nightmares as they impaled her naked, bloody body.
We were taken to concentration camps where my aunt and I were split from Grandpa. Apparently, females and males were not to be together. They even split up families, to break people mentally. Thankfully, I would continue to have Auntie by my side. She would be my rock; telling me stories to lull me to sleep and cradling me in her arms when my muscles were sore from working.
A week had passed when I heard a terrible story from a reliable source. My grandpa had passed. Apparently the work was too much for him and he couldn't keep up to pace. That was grounds for death by the Nazis. To label him worthy of death without making the soldiers look like heretics, Grandpa was labeled a heretic. Even while my family followed Christ over the years, they claimed he insulted the One-True-Religion and followed that of the Hell Lord. He was bulged to death as the Nazis said, "The Romas were not worthy of a bullet." I would go on to hope he would have died a quick death, but inside me I knew that would just be a lie I convinced myself is true.
As nights passed, I would dream the Allied forces would come in and save us. They wouldn't let any more people die. I say those around me, just as bad off as me. I knew they went through just as bad things. I wished for their troubles to be over as well; though I wouldn't know how bad my wish would turn out until one dark night.
It was midnight when the soldiers took my aunt, myself, and some other women. We were taken to a large field with a deep pit in it. I assume because it was night, I couldn't see the bottom of it. I was terrified as I held Auntie's hand tightly.
The guards lined us up along the lip of the pit, commanding us to face away. Auntie refused, also making me watch forward. She said if they were to shot us, they will see the horror on our faces as they do. Our faces will haunt their dreams as long as they live.
What came next was a new feeling. I flew backwards as a hot feeling overwhelmed me. It gave a stinging sensation that soon went numb. Within a few minutes, the pain started to fade away, along with my consciousness.
Forever will my story be forgotten. Those who knew of the Ruska Roma will destroy our legacy and litter it with claims of us being thieves, liars, and heretics. This is to those who died whose story the world overlooked.
This was a short story written for English class. It was actually where we were supposed to find WWII pictures and base a fictitious story on them. I did the gypsies of WWII. Ruska Roma are Russian gypsies. Even so, I changed a bit of the story because there were no pictures to give the effect.