As I walked down the street I looked around me. The little town was still recovering from the war, so people were running around trying to repair everything. There was still celebration in the air, the excitement of the end of the war was probably never going to go away. At least, That's what I hoped.
I stopped and stared at the shop across the road. It looked a lot like the shop my father had owned before the war. The memories of Germans breaking in and yelling at us to leave the shop, gathering things and leaving was still imprinted in my mind. But those where dim faded memories. When I grew older I would barely remember that fear of leaving my childhood home. I wish I could forget other things that easy.
Two boys ran past me and as I watched I remembered running down a burning street with my older brother. I remembered the sound of the gunshot that had killed him, and his last words to me: “Run. Tell Ma I love her.”
I shook my head, trying to forget it. It was too painful. A girl about my age walked past me with a basket of flowers in her arms. I remembered being torn away from my twin sister when we had arrived at Auschwitz, and she was marched toward the crematoriums with my mother. Tears ran down my face.
This time I didn't stop the memories. Digging trenches for the killed Jews. Marching till my feet bled. Watching my father die in the snow after a long night of working.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and I looked up. An older man in his mid-thirties was looking at me. He was tall and in dirty, baggy clothes. Under his cap his head was bald, and he had numbers tattooed on his arm as I did.
“Why are you crying, kid?”
A few years ago I would have felt shameful for crying in public, but not anymore.
“That's good kid.”
We stood there in silence, still looking at the shop across the street.
“How old are you son?’ asked the man.
“So young. Do you have family kid?”
I wasn't sure how to answer.
“I don't know. We gave away my baby sister before we were taken away. I don't know if she's still alive.”
The man nodded.
“Me and my wife did the same with my son. I hope you find her.”
Before the man left he looked my in the eye. “Don't forget anything that has happened to you kid. Remember it. Don't lose it.”
I never saw that man again, but I listened to his advise. And even though it was painful, I never forgot.
Author Notes: I've been learning about WW2 in school lately, and after reading "Night" I had to write this. I feel like not enough people understand that life never went back to normal for these people. I hope that what I'm sharing in this story. Thank you for reading!