the short story project


A Lost Identity in Misery

In Germany 1941, Julia Weitz woke up trembling in the arms of her eldest sister having barely survived their first night in the Auschwitz concentration camp. It was a bleak and somber night since the sky held no moon nor stars. The sisters could not see anything, however both of them knew they were prisoner in a small room among many other desperate souls. The sound of barking dogs and marching men from afar broke the silence of the night. Julia snuggled closer to her sister as she thought about her parents and how she missed them dearly. Finally, she fell asleep.

The next morning, rays of sunlight piercing through the curtains and woke Julia. As she studied her environment, she noticed the many sorrowful and disheartened face. The room seemed full of children, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and wives cramped inside the small space. Fear filled the air and compromised all hope.

Only moments later, whistles and gunshots disturbed the silent room, creating chaos and panic. A  petite older woman took Julia by the arm and dragged her away from where she was sitting which was near the door. Four tall men dressed in matching uniforms tightly holding shotguns came walking into the room, ordering them to stand and create a straight line. All of the women took their children and tried lining up as quickly as possible however one of the men became impatient and shot a woman as well as both her children in that instant. Everybody froze as their eyes filled with fear. The older woman who was holding Julia in the back of the line, pulled her closer. As they both walked by the dead bodies to exit the room, Julia realized her sister’s absence. Julia felt the panic ride inside her, though she tried not to show any signs of consternation  to avoid any attention from the men.

After their tedious walk across the camp, the men brought the women to a horrendous building where they forced them to strip down naked, shaving their heads in the process. Afterwards, they were tattooed a number to their forearm which made Julia Weitz feel as if she had lost her identity. She was now simply a number trapped in this miserable world where she felt horror.

The four men transferred the women and children to another room where Julia tried to locale her sister. However every shaved head and matching striped uniform made every human in the room seem identical. As Julia kept scouting the room for her sister, she heard the number tattooed on her forearm being called out. Hesitantly, Julia raised her hand yet she kept her head low. Two men grabbed her by the arms and dragged her out of the room. At first, Julia cooperated but once she spotted her sister laying down in a corner seemingly lifeless, she started to put up a fight with the men. One of them gave Julia a hit on the back of her head which caused her to fall to the ground, unconscious. Life as she had always known it, was over.

When Julia woke up, she was dizzy but felt she was tied to a chair. Once she gained full consciousness, a man declared that she was the chosen one, and she would help him with his job. In return, she would get food. Scared and extremely hungry, she agreed to anything. The man untied her from the chair and took her to the back of a building. He explained to her that her job was simply to attach a carbon monoxide tank to a ventilator, while wearing a mask. Julia did not question anything since she was excited to receive food for such an easy task. She nodded her head and got to work shortly after the man left.

A few moments later, Julia heard screeches and cries coming for the building she was fuming. Julia dropped her tools and peeked inside the closest window she could find. Inside, there seemed to be the women and children she was originally with. She did not understand why they were screaming since nobody seemed to hurt them. However, when she squinted her eyes and looked closer, she noticed her sister on her knees holding her throat as if there was a lack of oxygen. Julia’s heart dropped to her stomach.

She ran back to the carbon monoxide tanks and tried to retrace her steps, hoping to avoid this nightmare. A few men spotted her and ran towards her ordering Julia to stop. The tears and screams consumed her yet, inside the building, the silence was complete. The doors opened and bodies were being dragged out into the pit. As she saw her sister’s cold and stiff body, dragging on the floor, Julia’s heart ached. She dropped to her knees and desperation ran down her cheeks like waterfalls. Julia Weitz killed her sister among many other women and their children. The empty gas chamber would heighten her madness and feed her nightmares for one more night.  



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