Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Liberation

Albrecht_Dürer_Oswolt_Krel

Until the day I die, I'll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes.

Our regiment had arrived on a Thursday morning to liberate the camp. We knew it would be bad, but we had no way to comprehend the reality of all we would see.

Davidson and I were sent to a medical complex on the west side of the camp with instructions to bring back any possible war criminals. Snaking through the corridors from office to office, we found them all deserted. The officers and doctors had all fled when the siren sounded. In one office, a painting behind a large oak desk caught my attention. A regal looking man stared down from the painting -- "Oswolt" was the name written at the top of the canvas. Oswolt looked concerned, and I followed his gaze through the door of the office and into the open door of the examination room across the hall.

I saw the doll first, lying face up on the floor, her glassy eyes staring at the ceiling. Next to her, a dangling arm, small enough that I could have circled it with my finger and thumb. It could have belonged to my little sister, Nancy, except that Nancy was in school in Ohio, and the owner of the doll was dead on a metal table.

Approaching the table, I could see that the girl had been injected with something. The side of her neck bulged blue and bulbous. Some blood had dried under her nose, and what might have been a trickle of vomit clung to the corner of her mouth. I wanted to bring her out of the camp, to at least give her a proper burial, but just as I was about to say something, a voice addressed us from Davidson's radio. We were to return to the main gate immediately.

I picked up the doll, expecting her eyes to close as she moved. They stared straight ahead, and when I laid her down on the table, two sets of eyes were frozen in time. I could just never get that out my mind.


Image: Portrait of Oswolt Krel by Albrect Dürer

12 comments:

  1. I've always been horrified and sickened at the atrocities committed on innocent men, women and worst, children during the Second World War. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering those people went through. You did a beautiful job at expressing the horror of that time and disgust at how cruel one human could be to another. What had happened to the little girl in your story reminded me of a Nazi doctor called Mongel or something like that, who used to do horrible things to small children in camp just for the heck of it. It makes me shudder.
    - atpixiehollow.wordpress.com

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    1. Thank you for your comment. Yes, there were and are so many atrocities in the world that it's hard to comprehend.

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  2. Haunting, chilling piece. Very well written – the scene is crystal clear in my mind. Great work with the prompts.

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    1. Thanks for reading and for your comment.

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  3. I like it. "Doll" was the perfect sentiment, here.

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  4. WOW, that was chilling and gave me the creeps a bit. Nice job.

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    1. Thank you. I kind of got the creeps writing it too.

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  5. You struck a resonant tone with this one. I felt it and judging from the comments I'm not the only one. Well done.

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