They sent me to work sorting the valuables like gold teeth, jewellery and good quality clothes and other trinkets. It’s funny how they consider Jews to be ‘a sub human race’ but they have no qlaums about pilfering our precious possessions. I suppose with them it’s a matter of choosing when and what to believe.
I clutched my thin piece of prison garb: (stripped clothes, shaved heads and numbers etched on our broken skin, red and itchy with infection.) around my chest but that was like putting a plaster on a broken arm. My size too small clogs pinched my toes in a vice grip. Fostbite, the soles now let in the dank grey mud mixed with snow.
I followed the SS officer with his blood red arm band to the ‘treasure trove’. The wharehouse had a draft that rattled between my rib cage, goosebumps springing up in protest. I was surprised a part of me was still fighting.
What were other people’s belongings were piled four feet deep like a black unforgiving ocean, seeing these would usually be a person’s oasis but, it was tinged with sadness instead of salvation.
Shoved in my place I began to methodically sort, trying not to think of the memories attached to them and their owners. Spiky paced up and down a whip at his side eying us with disgust. Long ago, I decided to give names to all the guards because I believe that if you humanise fear it is not so fearful.
As I trudged back to my barracks I kept my head down to the wails from punishment, emancipated elderly and the bodies of infants piled high on carts, they should of smelled like vanilla but, they smelled of death. I tried to turn my mind away from the diseased barrack awaiting me, piled high to the rafters and then some.
Snow crunched beneath my every step, the flicker of the hope in my heart began to dim.