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 Holocaust Story


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The Only Survivor

By George Liebermann

If all goes well, maybe he will make it.

"Alarm!" the guard shouted.

First, white circles designed themselves onto the sky. Explosions followed about the BMW. They were ordered to lie snug under a row of pine trees. Peter did not budge and looked surprised at the guard who did not move either. He looked at Peter with a gnomic smile, "It will not last long," he said.

Peter thought that he meant the air raid, and then he saw the ongoing smile and got it. He meant the war.

They had lunch break but no food. He watched the elderly guard eat, his stomach gurgled in pain, but loved the little old man when he saw him share his meager lunch with the dog.

Peter never paid attention to the houses near-by, only when a woman carrying a big pot headed toward them. She handed one potato to each of the four of them, and then one more.

When she caught the hungry eyes of the guard, she offered him one. He shook his head. She split the last two potatoes between the four of them. Peter had known that he will never forget that motherly face and followed her as she dragged her emaciated body to a yellow house, the fourth house on the left. She could have a son taken by the war, he thought.

It took him by surprise when he felt the warm breath of the dog on the back of his hand. Two hungry eyes looked at the half potato in his hand. Peter allowed him to lick it, then take it. The dog licked his face.

Not more than two weeks later three thousand prisoners were taken to the Karlsfeld railway station and loaded in cattle cars as hostages to a group of high ranked SS officers.

Obersturmfuehrer Kurz, like a hawk ready for the kill, directed the ant-march to the last train out of Germany. The famous blue scar on his forehead looked more prominent as he kept an eye on the prisoners.

Peter tried to lag behind, move closer to the end of the line, but Kurz caught him, "You over there, keep moving!" he shouted.

He read my mind, Peter thought. One of the guards, eager to oblige Kurz, hit Peter in the back with his rifle-but.

Lead gray clouds crowding the sky leisurely moved above the thick black air.

Peter scouted his surrounding. He hardly could hold back a smile. Twenty guards were meant to keep three thousand prisoners from "eloping".

Kurz was far to his right. He saw no guard nearby, but heard them shout. His scared slave-mates squeezed him against a wheel.

He sneaked under a car and waited until the entire armada climbed into the train. When the sliding doors were shut with a bang, he crawled across to the station building.

It was all clear. He ran towards the houses. Hardly did he take off, he knew that he had company. Short-lived freedom his was. They'll either hang or shoot him.

He peeped from behind a corner but saw no one. When he felt the dog lick his hand, he took a deep breath in relief, sat down next to him and pulled his big warm head into his lap.

Peter saw the woman look at him from behind the kitchen curtain. He worried about her reaction to the dog. She opened the door wide to make place for both of them.

Peter slept in the attic with the dog he called Angel, because he knew not his name. In a week the Nazis ran out of Germany.

Once free, Peter found a job at the UNNRA as a translator. His khaki uniform made him look like a military man. He did not forget about his savior. He brought her each week two boiled potatoes as a symbolic gesture, while he made sure that her pantry was always full.

The Red Cross published a list of survivors. He could not find his parents, an uncle, a cousin, not a classmate, nobody he knew. Almost asleep, a name floated in the front of his closed eyes. Mickey! His second cousin! Mickey survived and was in Garmisch Partenkirchen!

He took the train. It was crowded with German civilians. They shied away from his uniform that looked like a US military outfit with the difference that his carried the symbol of the UNNRA, a globe. It was his first time face to face with German civilians since he regained his freedom and he felt uneasy.

The silence around him was as deep as a bottomless well. Unexpectedly, he caught a pair of rude water blue eyes topped with light brown hair; a bluish scar disfigured the forehead. It only took him one second to recognize the terror of the camp, SS Obersturmfuehrer Kurz.

"You ran away, but I knew that I catch you one of these days," Kurz shouted, pulled a pistol and shot him dead.

George Liebermann is a retired M.D., psychiatrist, a holocasut survivor and a published author originally from Romania, he now lives in California


from the May 2004 Edition of the Jewish Magazine




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