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Living. It is only a word, but is used often to describe, influence, and motivate. For many, living is used to say well ‘I want to make sure I live life to the fullest extent’. For me, it is now just a word. Only used by me and millions of others fighting to live. Poland is my home, my childhood, my motivator, my worst memories, my past. Chaya Rosenberg is my name, although for almost four years of my life no one ever said my name. I was a ‘pest’, ‘dog’, and an object to those who stripped my family and I of everything we had, like dogs searching for meat. My mother, Ahava, always kept the house very clean and it appeared very new. Everyone of my father’s friends commented on how neat everything was all the time. It smelled like bread that my sister, Avital, and my father, Haim, would spend hours making for us to eat every single night. My room was pink and small, my drawings hung on the walls, along with my music notes. The grand piano that my father got for our family was probably the thing I remember more than anything. I played so much that I was almost always asked to stop by my mother or sister. Whenever I touched the keys playing Beethoven or Vivaldi, I would get lost in the sounds that this amazing instrument could produce. Sadly, some memories go to waste.

Saturday’s are generally a day to review the Shabbat. I believe as a 16 year old, this can get pretty boring but I’ve learned to try and spend most of my time praying. Praying that nothing bad could ever happen to me or my family.

“Chaya, Chodź!” my mother screamed from the top of her lungs. I ran downstairs thinking I was in trouble with her, or maybe my sister told on me.

I noticed my mother’s face staring with bullet eyes locked on me and my every move. Her face was pale and she didn’t make a sound. Two tall men with badges stared me down as well, although they didn’t seem frightened. When I was very young, or 1933, Hitler came into power in Germany. When I was fourteen he took over part of Poland with that as well, including where I lived. I remember being in shelters for days. I heard bombs and the feet of Nazi troops marching through the streets like bulldozers, killing anyone in their path. After that, I knew, even at fourteen years old, that I was looking into the eyes of death. Instantaneously, I was back in reality not my nightmares, but wait I still was living one..

I looked back at my mother, the Nazis had left, “Chaya, gather food, clothes, and shoes. We have 20 minutes to get out of here.” said my mother. I knew right away what this was about, and where we were going. My father, someone who represented the Jewish community as a leader, was taken already. We didn’t know where he was, what he had, or if he was even alive. I mean, what does living even mean anymore?

Avital would not stop crying and screaming, she was scared I understood that. She didn’t know what was happening nor did she understand like I did. When I was young, I was told that I was very smart, and I was found reading at every chance I got. My father always said I would probably end up more intelligent than he was one day. Honestly, I never believed it, I just read the newspapers when my mother left the house. My parents tried to shelter me from what was goin on in our country, but I always found out anyways. The two tall men returned, “Komm jetzt!” screamed the first tall man. Since German was required in school ever since Hitler took over, I knew that this meant to basically get out or you will be killed.

I scurried out of the house along with Avital. My mother stayed back sobbing and pleading for them not to destroy her beautiful home. The grass was green and the wind was brisk, everyone hid in their homes. Everything seemed perfect, I almost forgot we were being taken to our death bed, just for a second. The second tall man kicked mother on to the grass. She did not stop crying and bowing at their feet, Avital and I screamed at her to stop. I covered Avital’s head when I heard a gunshot. It rang and echoed for what seemed to be years. My mother, my beautiful, strong, mother had just fallen a victim to another one of the Nazis brutal murders. Everything seemed to stand still, Avital balled and screamed. While I could not stop staring at the limp body, which used to be my mother.  I hated them, with every piece of my soul. It has only just begun, the end of my life has only just begun.

Once I snapped out of it, the two tall men dragged my sister and I away from my mother’s body. I was thrown on the back of a truck with about 10 other people, and then I realized my sister was thrown on a different truck. Everyone stared at me, and surprisingly I didn’t recognize one face. Did I really not know all these people lived around me this whole time? Did they know that we were all going to end up here at some point too? All these thoughts kept popping up into my head. I couldn’t shake the image of my mom lying there alone. It began to pour, and the sun went behind the clouds. The sky seemed to weep with me in sorrow. The truck took a huge jerk forward and everyone was thrown on top of each other. I realized that Avital was being taken elsewhere. As the trucks kept moving off into the distance, I saw on the back of the truck Avital was in it said ‘Belzec’. I knew I heard that somewhere, I just could not pinpoint it. The boy always said terrible things about this camp, that it instantly came to me. As my sweet little sister’s face faded in to the distance I sobbed. The one who always wanted people to be happy, who always listened.

Belzec, a concentration camp I had heard about from the kids at my school, an extermination camp. Like my mom, Avital was being sent away to her death. I yelled to her that everything was going to be okay, and I told her I loved her.

   “kocham Cię” I whispered, “kocham Cię….”

October 1942, the month and year me and millions of other people reached their new life. I am now in Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of the most popular camps to send Jews to work until they could not anymore. I guess when they say that Hitler had a “final solution” this was it. I had just spent days on a train with around 30 other people. No bathroom, no space, no nothing. A young girl had dysentery, it smelled so awful the whole entire time, but you could not help but feel bad for her, it wasn’t the time to think just about yourself. I spent most of my time writing music with the paper that I snuck into my suitcase. I didn’t speak to anyone, I mean who would when you are sixteen and your whole family is already dead? A women who I imagined used to be beautiful and smart, went crazy and was killed the first stop on the train. We tried to keep her calm but there was nothing we could do. A boy my age, would try and talk to me the whole ride. He tried to relate to me and make me feel almost comforted, I just scowled at him every time he said a word. I wasn’t trying to be mean..I was just done with listening to people, I’m not selfish. His name is Ezra, and he is actually very good looking. He has a tan face with bright blue eyes and black hair. I haven’t really seen anyone like him before. I want to know him, but I don’t want to talk to him. I’ve always imagined myself growing up and marrying a prince. He would be rich and tall, and very, very nice. Although, now I don’t think that’s even possible.

Auschwitz smelled of burning flesh, and rotting bodies. I was told I was fit for work, to dig holes in the woods. If you dig enough holes throughout the day you get a very small ration of food. The ghettos were hot and damp, around 100 people fit into one, and of course with my luck I was with Ezra. I believe he realized that I was annoyed by him so he backed off. A part of me wanted him to keep talking to me, I wish we knew eachother before I looked like a stick. That kind of was what everyone looked like, just skin and bone. Also every little girl, boy, grandma, grandpa looked grey and worn. There was a ghetto specifically built for the sick. Which most people were in that ghetto, and those taking care of them eventually ended up taking their place. Days went by, my hands began to scab from the constant grip on the shovel. The rations began to get smaller and smaller, I could feel myself getting skinnier, I almost wasn’t hungry anymore. I could tell that my toe was broken from the beginning. Some crazy women stomped on it when she was running frantically away, she was shot. I miss my family so much, everyone is gone and all I have is myself. Well myself, and the lice covering my scalp. I finally got one night to sleep and it was today.

“Psst!” I heard from behind my rock hard bed.

“Hey, Chaya!” I knew exactly who it was the second time. All of a sudden Ezra’s face appeared from in between my bed and the others.

“Ezra what are you doing? You could get us in huge trouble for talking to me!” I whispered.

“Don’t worry, follow me.” Ezra lept from his bed on to the floor with such grace. Where I on the other hand didn’t handle it with such grace.

We crept outside and Ezra climbed up a ladder, “Give me your hand.” Ezra whispered.

We ended up on a roof.

“What is so special about up here?” my stubborn self asked.

“I don’t know, see for yourself.” Ezra pointed up at the sky.

Stars covered the sky and for once in a long time, I felt like I was the only person in the world. I began to cry, thinking about my parents and sister, my home, my life. Ezra turned towards me as we both laid on top of the cold steel ghetto roof.

“Chaya, you know you really are beautiful.” He smirked.

“You are not so bad yourself!” I laughed a little too loudly.

“SHH” he laughed too.

After that night, I realized something. Sure people are not always perfect. Everyone has their flaws that make them unique, and an individual. I have always wanted to be a princess with a prince, but your prince does not have to be the one you see in the movies. Your prince is the one that makes you feel like a princess.

January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. Many prisoners were forced to march hundreds of miles to escape our rescuers. The sick were left behind, which I was one of them. Ezra pretended to be sick so he could stay back with me. I had a nonstop fever, I felt I was finally going to go up into the stars with my family. I saw their faces in my dreams telling me to come with them. Then I would see Ezra’s telling me to stay. Everything was kind of a blur. I was told the soviets found us and took the sick to a hospital. Apparently Ezra was by my side the entire time. How could I remember, all I wanted to forget was what happened? I watched my life waste away for 4 years.

1980, New York City. After those years of suffering and loss, things I chose to avoid, I now live in America. The grass is always green and no one is threatening to take away all your freedom day in and day out. I learned a lot from my days at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Such as, everyone deserves their freedom, even if it results in death. When I moved to America the memories did not escape me. I would wake up in horror almost every night. When I tried to release myself out of this horrid world I ended up being put right back into it. Overtime I began to relive those moments as memories, rather than nightmares that consume me. Although,  I try to never think.

I’ve learned to appreciate every moment I have with Ezra and everyone I have made friends with. I wanted to die right when I saw my mother get killed that autumn. Although, I lived the past still haunts every time I close my eyes. It is like a shadow over my whole life, dark and scary. Remember in the beginning when I told you about what living means to me? Well, like I said it is only just a word. What I didn’t say, is every time you think you are losing faith, keep living.

Living. It is only a word, but is used often to describe, influence, and motivate. For many, living is used to say well ‘I want to make sure I live life to the fullest extent’. For me, it is now just a word. Only used by me and millions of others fighting to live. Poland is my home, my childhood, my motivator, my worst memories, my past. Chaya Rosenberg is my name, although for almost four years of my life no one ever said my name. I was a ‘pest’, ‘dog’, and an object to those who stripped my family and I of everything we had, like dogs searching for meat. My mother, Ahava, always kept the house very clean and it appeared very new. Everyone of my father’s friends commented on how neat everything was all the time. It smelled like bread that my sister, Avital, and my father, Haim, would spend hours making for us to eat every single night. My room was pink and small, my drawings hung on the walls, along with my music notes. The grand piano that my father got for our family was probably the thing I remember more than anything. I played so much that I was almost always asked to stop by my mother or sister. Whenever I touched the keys playing Beethoven or Vivaldi, I would get lost in the sounds that this amazing instrument could produce. Sadly, some memories go to waste.

Saturday’s are generally a day to review the Shabbat. I believe as a 16 year old, this can get pretty boring but I’ve learned to try and spend most of my time praying. Praying that nothing bad could ever happen to me or my family.

“Chaya, Chodź!” my mother screamed from the top of her lungs. I ran downstairs thinking I was in trouble with her, or maybe my sister told on me.

I noticed my mother’s face staring with bullet eyes locked on me and my every move. Her face was pale and she didn’t make a sound. Two tall men with badges stared me down as well, although they didn’t seem frightened. When I was very young, or 1933, Hitler came into power in Germany. When I was fourteen he took over part of Poland with that as well, including where I lived. I remember being in shelters for days. I heard bombs and the feet of Nazi troops marching through the streets like bulldozers, killing anyone in their path. After that, I knew, even at fourteen years old, that I was looking into the eyes of death. Instantaneously, I was back in reality not my nightmares, but wait I still was living one..

I looked back at my mother, the Nazis had left, “Chaya, gather food, clothes, and shoes. We have 20 minutes to get out of here.” said my mother. I knew right away what this was about, and where we were going. My father, someone who represented the Jewish community as a leader, was taken already. We didn’t know where he was, what he had, or if he was even alive. I mean, what does living even mean anymore?

Avital would not stop crying and screaming, she was scared I understood that. She didn’t know what was happening nor did she understand like I did. When I was young, I was told that I was very smart, and I was found reading at every chance I got. My father always said I would probably end up more intelligent than he was one day. Honestly, I never believed it, I just read the newspapers when my mother left the house. My parents tried to shelter me from what was goin on in our country, but I always found out anyways. The two tall men returned, “Komm jetzt!” screamed the first tall man. Since German was required in school ever since Hitler took over, I knew that this meant to basically get out or you will be killed.

I scurried out of the house along with Avital. My mother stayed back sobbing and pleading for them not to destroy her beautiful home. The grass was green and the wind was brisk, everyone hid in their homes. Everything seemed perfect, I almost forgot we were being taken to our death bed, just for a second. The second tall man kicked mother on to the grass. She did not stop crying and bowing at their feet, Avital and I screamed at her to stop. I covered Avital’s head when I heard a gunshot. It rang and echoed for what seemed to be years. My mother, my beautiful, strong, mother had just fallen a victim to another one of the Nazis brutal murders. Everything seemed to stand still, Avital balled and screamed. While I could not stop staring at the limp body, which used to be my mother.  I hated them, with every piece of my soul. It has only just begun, the end of my life has only just begun.

Once I snapped out of it, the two tall men dragged my sister and I away from my mother’s body. I was thrown on the back of a truck with about 10 other people, and then I realized my sister was thrown on a different truck. Everyone stared at me, and surprisingly I didn’t recognize one face. Did I really not know all these people lived around me this whole time? Did they know that we were all going to end up here at some point too? All these thoughts kept popping up into my head. I couldn’t shake the image of my mom lying there alone. It began to pour, and the sun went behind the clouds. The sky seemed to weep with me in sorrow. The truck took a huge jerk forward and everyone was thrown on top of each other. I realized that Avital was being taken elsewhere. As the trucks kept moving off into the distance, I saw on the back of the truck Avital was in it said ‘Belzec’. I knew I heard that somewhere, I just could not pinpoint it. The boy always said terrible things about this camp, that it instantly came to me. As my sweet little sister’s face faded in to the distance I sobbed. The one who always wanted people to be happy, who always listened.

Belzec, a concentration camp I had heard about from the kids at my school, an extermination camp. Like my mom, Avital was being sent away to her death. I yelled to her that everything was going to be okay, and I told her I loved her.

   “kocham Cię” I whispered, “kocham Cię….”

October 1942, the month and year me and millions of other people reached their new life. I am now in Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of the most popular camps to send Jews to work until they could not anymore. I guess when they say that Hitler had a “final solution” this was it. I had just spent days on a train with around 30 other people. No bathroom, no space, no nothing. A young girl had dysentery, it smelled so awful the whole entire time, but you could not help but feel bad for her, it wasn’t the time to think just about yourself. I spent most of my time writing music with the paper that I snuck into my suitcase. I didn’t speak to anyone, I mean who would when you are sixteen and your whole family is already dead? A women who I imagined used to be beautiful and smart, went crazy and was killed the first stop on the train. We tried to keep her calm but there was nothing we could do. A boy my age, would try and talk to me the whole ride. He tried to relate to me and make me feel almost comforted, I just scowled at him every time he said a word. I wasn’t trying to be mean..I was just done with listening to people, I’m not selfish. His name is Ezra, and he is actually very good looking. He has a tan face with bright blue eyes and black hair. I haven’t really seen anyone like him before. I want to know him, but I don’t want to talk to him. I’ve always imagined myself growing up and marrying a prince. He would be rich and tall, and very, very nice. Although, now I don’t think that’s even possible.

Auschwitz smelled of burning flesh, and rotting bodies. I was told I was fit for work, to dig holes in the woods. If you dig enough holes throughout the day you get a very small ration of food. The ghettos were hot and damp, around 100 people fit into one, and of course with my luck I was with Ezra. I believe he realized that I was annoyed by him so he backed off. A part of me wanted him to keep talking to me, I wish we knew eachother before I looked like a stick. That kind of was what everyone looked like, just skin and bone. Also every little girl, boy, grandma, grandpa looked grey and worn. There was a ghetto specifically built for the sick. Which most people were in that ghetto, and those taking care of them eventually ended up taking their place. Days went by, my hands began to scab from the constant grip on the shovel. The rations began to get smaller and smaller, I could feel myself getting skinnier, I almost wasn’t hungry anymore. I could tell that my toe was broken from the beginning. Some crazy women stomped on it when she was running frantically away, she was shot. I miss my family so much, everyone is gone and all I have is myself. Well myself, and the lice covering my scalp. I finally got one night to sleep and it was today.

“Psst!” I heard from behind my rock hard bed.

“Hey, Chaya!” I knew exactly who it was the second time. All of a sudden Ezra’s face appeared from in between my bed and the others.

“Ezra what are you doing? You could get us in huge trouble for talking to me!” I whispered.

“Don’t worry, follow me.” Ezra lept from his bed on to the floor with such grace. Where I on the other hand didn’t handle it with such grace.

We crept outside and Ezra climbed up a ladder, “Give me your hand.” Ezra whispered.

We ended up on a roof.

“What is so special about up here?” my stubborn self asked.

“I don’t know, see for yourself.” Ezra pointed up at the sky.

Stars covered the sky and for once in a long time, I felt like I was the only person in the world. I began to cry, thinking about my parents and sister, my home, my life. Ezra turned towards me as we both laid on top of the cold steel ghetto roof.

“Chaya, you know you really are beautiful.” He smirked.

“You are not so bad yourself!” I laughed a little too loudly.

“SHH” he laughed too.

After that night, I realized something. Sure people are not always perfect. Everyone has their flaws that make them unique, and an individual. I have always wanted to be a princess with a prince, but your prince does not have to be the one you see in the movies. Your prince is the one that makes you feel like a princess.

January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. Many prisoners were forced to march hundreds of miles to escape our rescuers. The sick were left behind, which I was one of them. Ezra pretended to be sick so he could stay back with me. I had a nonstop fever, I felt I was finally going to go up into the stars with my family. I saw their faces in my dreams telling me to come with them. Then I would see Ezra’s telling me to stay. Everything was kind of a blur. I was told the soviets found us and took the sick to a hospital. Apparently Ezra was by my side the entire time. How could I remember, all I wanted to forget was what happened? I watched my life waste away for 4 years.

1980, New York City. After those years of suffering and loss, things I chose to avoid, I now live in America. The grass is always green and no one is threatening to take away all your freedom day in and day out. I learned a lot from my days at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Such as, everyone deserves their freedom, even if it results in death. When I moved to America the memories did not escape me. I would wake up in horror almost every night. When I tried to release myself out of this horrid world I ended up being put right back into it. Overtime I began to relive those moments as memories, rather than nightmares that consume me. Although,  I try to never think.

I’ve learned to appreciate every moment I have with Ezra and everyone I have made friends with. I wanted to die right when I saw my mother get killed that autumn. Although, I lived the past still haunts every time I close my eyes. It is like a shadow over my whole life, dark and scary. Remember in the beginning when I told you about what living means to me? Well, like I said it is only just a word. What I didn’t say, is every time you think you are losing faith, keep living.

Bibliography:

  1. By Joyce WadlerSpecial to The,Washington Post. "Singing for Her Life at Auschwitz." The Washington Post (1974-Current file): 2. Mar 03 1978. ProQuest. Web. 8 Feb. 2016 .

  2. O'Reilly, Bill, and Bill O'Reilly. Hitler's Last Days: The Death of the Nazi Regime and the World's Most Notorious Dictator. Print.

  3. "The Holocaust." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 09 Feb. 2016.

http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/the-holocaust

     4. By Neil Henry Washington Post,Staff Writer. "Children of the Holocaust." The Washington Post     (1974-Current file): 3. Apr 13 1983. ProQuest. Web. 9 Feb. 2016 .

     5.  "Looking Back: Holocaust Survivors." Cincinnati.com. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. <http://www.cincinnati.com/videos/news/2015/01/27/22402275/&gt;.



 

 

OR can use this link : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1klOSk5y5hA2lXlDS_npP9iduabHebhXDjd9…

State
MI
Zip Code
48103