"German Soldier's Final Plea"

I stand beside him. He's ugly and his words mean nothing to me. He can brainwash the entire German race but I see through his unbelievable lies. He may be ugly, but he's transparent. He preaches about dominion over the world and a so called "master race" as if he was called by God to do so. His mustache, black with sin and neatly combed, wiggles as he screams and yells about absurd new policies. He confuses me and I know it shows. My eyebrows arch every time he opens his dirty, profane mouth. Yet as I look around me, everyone is on their feet applauding this man. Do they not see what I see? His words flow like salt water, if it comes in contact with your eyes it begins to sting. I hate him. My heart fades to black when I think of the words he said to us that day. I want to kill him. Instead I stand in attention, for if I got against him I will never see my child grow old.

I stand with my Nazi brothers and they don't seem to be appalled by this man. He's training us to kill. Am I the only one who feels this way? They hoop and holler back at him as if we were at a celebration. I stand there, not making any sort of movement or sound. My bitterness, I know, I wear on the sleeve of my brown uniform. Still I walk, in a neatly arranged row, marching for this man and for my so called homeland, Germany.

It's 1944 and I am being stationed at Auschwitz, the largest and harshest concentration camp of them all. Everyday I accompany the Nazi army and load more people onto a train towards this death camp. I watch the women's eyes as I pull them and their children away from their husbands. I can see their crystal tears, yet they are not crying. They are trembling with fear, yet they are not afraid. They wail as I move them on to the train; the train to absolutely nowhere.

I jump on the train right before it pulls off. There are times when I'm standing amongst these innocent women that I want to jump off the train myself. I want to put myself out of the misery that will follow this train ride. I stand there. I do not speak. I am told if any of the passengers try to leave, I am to strike them with my whip. Fortunately, no one tries to get off. A little boy, braver than I, comes toward me. He pulls on my coattail, unaware of the consequences. He looks up at me, with his big brown eyes opened wide. He is missing his two front teeth. "Mr. Sir," He begins to say, "Will my daddy be wherever I am going?" I look down at him and I am compelled to touch his head. He reminds me of my little boy at home. But my fellow army is watching me, so I sternly answer him. "Please just go stand with your mother until the train stops." He looks at me as if I have just taken away his lollipop. He goes over to his mother, who is hunched down in the corner, weeping. "Mommy, I don't think we are gonna see daddy anymore." Her tears begin again and she pulls him into her lap, holding him like she hadn't held him that way for the last four years. I look away because I know if I keep watching I will break completely.

When we arrive at Auschwitz, I have to lead these women into the main square. I arrange them into rows, and I can see how completely malnourished they are. Their bones are pushing through their skin. They are the walking dead. This woman looks me in the eye and she is beginning to cry. I want to hold her and tell her that I'm sorry for what we've done. But again, my weakness overcomes me, and I walk slowly away. I start reading their names off a list. They answer to their name quietly. Then they are led to a building, where they are stripped from their clothes and their hair is cut completely off. Just as I'm relieved of my duties, one of the women tries to break free. She is running towards the gate and I want to let her go, but the men are yelling at me to go after her. I run towards her, grabbing her by the arm. Two men follow me. One of the men pushes her to the ground. The other is stripping her clothes off. They both look at me, "Whip her!" I don't want to. I even suggest that one of them should do it, but they stand back waiting. They are staring at me, and I'm becoming uneasy. I take out my whip and begin to slap this woman's bony back. It cuts through her skin and her velvet blood begins to trickle down the sides of her body. She's screaming out and I have to close my eyes. I cannot watch her bleed. She is screaming something out in Hebrew and the only word I could make out was "God". I stop after that and I hope that she has asked God to murder me, for I deserve it. One of the Nazi's beside me grabs her up and yells at her, pushing her back in line with the other women. As the woman is walking, I notice the cuts across her back. There are at least 10. They are all bleeding purple and red. She isn't crying anymore, but I can tell she is in horrible pain. I am to blame for her pain. She looks back at me as if to get a good look at me. I can see the hatred and fear in her eyes. She has every right in the world to hate me and silently I hope she does. I hope when she gets to heaven, she tells God how horrible I was to her. I don't even deserve to be loved by the almighty God.

As I'm drifting into my own remorseful thoughts, I hear the sound of jovial laughter. I am appalled by that sound. I turn to my side, and the two Nazis next to me are laughing. They are so ugly to me that I don't think I can stand being next to them. They are taking up all the precious air with their gasping laughs. One of them even pats me on the back, "Good job, Chap." As I'm walking away, I wonder how he could ever sleep at night.

I'm standing in attention outside of the building where the women have been led. I can see through the tiny window on the side of the brick wall. Their clothes have been stripped off. Their naked bodies are turning a shade of pale green. They are nothing but skin. Their skin loosely hangs off the bones that are slowly coming out of joint. Their eyes are sinking into their face. Their lips are cracked and bleeding. They all cling tightly to their freshly skinned children. I watch as a woman's hair is being cut. Her long, gorgeous brown hair is falling like rain to the hard cement floor. She holds back her tears as each strand falls into a neat pile beside her feet.

The women are then led outside again. I arrange their naked bodies into rows once again. Three other men and I are leading them to their unmerciful fate. They walk behind us quietly, afraid that we might shoot them. We push them into a small confined one-room building. They all clutter close together, holding on to one another. I watch as some pray. I wish they'd pray for me. After we have reached the capacity of the death room, I close the door. The lights are turned off and the women begin to panic. They know what is going to happen next. I can't watch, but I have been ordered to stand there as my fellow man turns the gas chamber on. Their screams begin to ring clear into my sinful ear. I hear them scratching at the walls, trying desperately to find a way out. But they don't. They turn into charcoal, burning slowly away at the roughness of their skin. When their cries cease, I leave the building. I am asked to help clean out the burned bodies, but I do not listen. I walk away as they yell after me. If one of them shot me right then, it would have felt good to me. Unfortunately, they let me go. I walked around the camp feeling like a complete stranger to myself. How could I go home to my family after killing women and children? My bloodstained hands would show.

I notice the pile of dead bodies that soon were going to be turned into mere ashes. I proceed forward to them, looking closely at the people who were killed. Then I see the worst sight in my entire life. The little boy, with the two missing teeth is lying on top. He had been shot in the side of the head. His brains are leaking out onto the people below him. He lay immersed in a pool of blood. I put my finger in the blood. I touch his head and bend over his body. My tears fall slowly into the warm maroon blood embedding his little body. I cry out to him, asking him to forgive me. I told him I wanted to take back everything that happened. I told him that I was sorry. I stayed hovered over him for a long while. My uniform had become soaked with his blood. Before I let his corroding body, I leaned over and kissed him. I could taste his blood in my mouth and it hurt just to feel it on my tongue. I don't know if he ever forgave me. I just knew that I'd never close my eyes without seeing him. "Mr. Sir..."

I didn't participate in any more of the killing. A few days later the war had ended. I burned my uniform. I watched as Hitler's symbol turned into pure black ashes. I really hate him. I should have been tried and committed but I escaped. Unlike some of my friends, I didn't commit suicide. I went home to my wife and child. I cried for nights at a time. I dreamt of those women and that boy every night. My wife still found it in her heart to love me. My son was too young to understand. When he grew older and learned of my inescapable past, he and I became increasingly distant. I wasn't a war hero. I was nothing but a miserable man. A man who killed people out of fear of being killed himself.

I eventually left Germany, hoping never to return. My memories were too much for me to bear. There were nights when I'd cut myself just to feel an inkling of what those innocent people had. I know I'd never know they'd been through, but I wanted to so badly. I never even came close to getting the unfortunate privilege.

I can never take back what happened. If I could, I would have done things differently. Because of the fact that I cannot rewind time, I must go forward with a heavy heart. I walk through my days with a silent knife, stabbing me beautifully in the middle of my heart. No one knows of my past. They just see me as a man. They do not know that my hand caused the blood spilling of so many. I don't want them to know how ugly I really am. The only one that knows is God. "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned."

I don't know how God could ever love a murderer like me. I don't know how he could ever grant me forgiveness. I am sorry with all of my heart but it is not enough. I don't know if the Holy Spirit will ever take me home. I call out to God wondering if he hates me as much as I hate myself. But every time I talk to him, the words "thou shall not kill" goes through my mind over and over. The blood under my fingernails begins to drip. And I know that I am not good enough for God.

By the time you read this, I will probably be dead. My burden is finally taking its toll on me. I deserve my fate and gladly open my arms to it. Fear is an ugly thing. If you don't get anything out of this at least remember that. I started out a German solider, and came out a blatant, ugly criminal. And for that I am ashamed. I am so ashamed that I cannot bear to look at myself anymore. I hate my reflection. I started out a man and became a murderer. God save my soul.