A Week In Auschwitz
By Aashish Wagh
It was the month of January, when I arrived at the Auschwitz. There were more than thousand people standing with me in front of the officers in just a plain shirt and trouser. We all were freezing to death, and those officers ordered us to remove our clothes as we had to go under inspection. I heard somewhat fifty gunshots in last one hour. When the man standing in front of me was asked for his name by the doctors, he was unable to answer a single word because of the cold. Officer pulled out his gun and shot the man in his head. I was shocked by that incident, for few minutes I lost my thinking capacity, I was shivering to death. Doctor asked me the same question, even I was unable to speak a word, officer was ready with a gun, I concentrated all my strength and uttered two words. After the check-up, they handed me the prisoners’ clothes and ordered me to go the camp.
An officer came to the camp, he was explaining us the routine at the camp and all rules and restrictions which were imposed upon us. Penalty for breaking the rules was only one thing death. We all were given a task, which we had to do for eleven hours a day.
The first night at the camp was the hardest, I could not sleep that night, only thing coming in my mind was how brutally those SS troops slaughtered my parents before me. My heart broke when they took my wife and my innocent boys, and I could do nothing. I may never see my beloved family again.
Our day began at the five in the morning at the sound of gong, and we were instructed to take a bath and then they served coffee to us. When I asked one of the officers about my boys, he held a pistol at my forehead and threatened me.
We were assigned in some groups and our group had a task of carrying the corpses of those who have died or been killed while labouring and take those corpses to a pit so we can burn them. There were thousands of dead bodies of either prisoners or soldiers or labourers. I still get the nightmare of that scene where I saw hundreds of children who were piled up on each other, they all were frozen. When I was carrying them to the pit, I was just hoping that my boys are not there in those dead bodies. When I saw that pit, I was shocked and frightened, I had never seen such horrifying scene in my entire life. There were thousands of bodies piled up on each other, I puked several times because of the smell. An officer came, he removed petrol cans from the vehicle and threw all those cans in that abyss and lit all those dead bodies on fire. How could a man be such cold hearted, did not those officers have any feelings, how could someone murder people and still laugh and go to sleep peacefully.
The officer whom I asked about my boys came to me when I was dumping the dead bodies in that hole. I collapsed when I heard from him that when children are brought at the Auschwitz, they are forced in the gas chambers and most likely my boys are also have been murdered in those gas chambers. For that moment I thought I shall jump in that hole and end this tragedy for once and all. He also told me that red army were just day or two away from the camp, and once red army are here SS troops will either have to run to save their lives or will be held as prisoners of war by the Russians. So, as they were approaching towards the camp Third Reich had ordered to kill all the people held at the concentration camp. He added that he was always a nice man and he killed people just to follow the orders of his superiors but never to satisfy his ego.
When I was in the barracks at night, I was constantly hearing screaming, weeping, gunshots, bombings and what not. I knew this might be my last day as those officers were clearing all the barracks one by one. We gathered at one window, we were watching a barrack which was on fire and the labourers were in it. We all were holding each other’s hand as death was near to us.
Finally, an officer entered our barrack and ordered us to go with him, many people tried to escape but those bloody officers shot them down. Officers were taking us to some barrack which had no window but just a small chimney at the top. I knew it was the gas chamber and we all will be dead within minutes once we entered in that chamber. As I was entering in that chamber, an officer pulled me out of the line, he was the same officer who told me about my boys. He asked me to follow him, we both got in some room which was complete dark. He hid me there and told me he could not save all the people. As he was leaving for his job, he requested me to pray for him.
I was frightened and crying as I had no idea whether I was going to live. After couple of hours some people opened the door, I could not even open my eyes for some moments as it was too bright. Those people came close to me, and I could see their red uniform, one of the officers asked me for my name and whether I was held in that camp as a slave. Another officer offered me a piece of bread and some water and informed me that I am not slave anymore and can go anywhere I want.
Auschwitz was liberated in January 1945, and I was one of the survivors of that concentration camp. All the survivors were walking with red army, we did not know where we were going, we were just following those people as they offered us the freedom. I was searching for my wife and my boys in that crowd, enquiring everyone if had anyone seen them? After couple hours passed, I saw a boy who was sitting alone, he was silent when I asked him if his parents are alive. I looked him in his eyes and asked him whether he would like to join me? He nodded and we both started walking towards our new life.
By Aashish Wagh