CREDOS: Love story — I
August, 1942. Piotrkow, Poland. The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women, and children of Piotrkow’s Jewish ghetto had been herded into a sq-uare and were being moved.
My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated. “Whatever you do,” Isidore, my eldest brother, whispered to me, “don’t tell them your age. Say you’re sixteen.” I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be deemed valuable as a worker. An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones. He looked at me, then asked my age.
“Sixteen,” I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood. My mother was motioned to the right — with the other women, children, sick and elderly people. I whispered to Isidore, “Why?” He didn’t answer. I ran to mama’s side and said I wanted to stay with her. “No,” she said sternly. “Get away. Don’t be a nuisance. Go with your brothers.” I understood: She was protecting me. It was the last I ever saw of her.
My brothers and I were transported to Germany. We arrived at the Buchenwald concentration camp and were led into a crowded barracks. The next day, we were issued uniforms and identification numbers. “Don’t call me Herman anymore,” I said to my brothers. “Call me 94983.” I had become a number. — Belietnet.com