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Life has never been this hard. Sitting in a cattle car, dont know where youre going. You have ideas, youve heard stories, but you dont really know. No food, no water, shivering. Everyone is quiet, some are sleeping, some are crying. Its been a long ride, and I am weak, but I can feel the train slow down.
Some men start waking others up, one is not waking. He was wounded earlier in the battle for our capital. Most of us knew this young boy would not survive, but we were hoping. We hear noises outside, other cars being opened. My heart is pounding.
The noises get closer, until finally they come to us. The cold air swoops in as the Nazi Soldiers yell at us to step out, to hurry. I shiver, not at the weather, but of my fear. We start marching from the train station to Gross-Rosen. A concentration camp near Wroclaw, Poland. Prisoners are running around in Gross-Rosen, half-crazed and barefoot in the snow.
It is the scariest site, something no one should see, or go through. We stand in lines as officers go through and get our names. The names I hear are not all true. Your name? !
he says to me. Stanislaw Halinski. I say proudly. Although that is not true either. Now there is nothing else to do except to wait.
We stand there, quiet, cold, hungry, thirsty. They call to us and take us in groups to the showers. The water is ice cold and the shower lasts no more than a minute. I dont get to dry myself off before they give me my clothes.
I put them on, feeling humiliated. They take us to the mens barracks, and lock us in there with no food or water. Its every man for himself in here. Some start to yell, others fall and cry, lots pray. I pray with them for myself especially, my family too. That night I start to cry.
The next morning we are awaken early and sent out into the field. Here they count us, we stand for hours until they finish. In groups again, they assign us to a quarry and we start working on the granite. We are no longer men, now we are slaves. We work hard with picks in our hands.
Not even one break! When we finished for the day, they gave us food. It wasnt hot, it wasnt fresh. It had gone bad already. Cabbage and turnip green with water into a soups goop. It was pig slop, no one wanted to eat it, but we were hungry and I guess that you get used to the food.
I must have, eating like that every day for a year. I was one of the lucky, you can say. Out of 40, 000 at this camp, I was lucky! I was not picked for weird experiments, did not get sick with a harmful disease, did not get shot, was not put into a gas chamber, I did not die. Gross-Rosen was above all a hard- labor camp. But I was lucky.
By: Anya K. (This is about my grandfather. )
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