Hidden in the cupboard under the stairs, the gun shots echoed through the quieting house as a family of seven dropped to the ground, dead. After only moments of silence, footsteps thundered upstairs, doors banging as they searched the rooms to find the crying child. It took only minutes in the small cramped house, but Abigail remained still and silent in her hiding spot. Another gunshot echoed through the hall as the house fell silent once more. She heard the heavy feet clambering down the stairs and to the front door. She thought she was safe, that they would go and she could run.”
The door!” yelled one of the German Nazi's, indicating to the small closed entrance to Abigail's hiding space. Scared, Abigail piled herself into the furthest corner from the door as quietly and quickly as she could. When the door opened, she was well hidden amongst the family's winter coats. With a grunt, the Nazi slammed the door shut. Abigail was safe. Quietly, the six-year-old slithered back to her original spot and pressed an ear against the door. She could hear breathing on the other side. Suddenly the door swung open and she was grabbed by the hair on the top of her head and flung into the corridor on top of the bodies of those kind enough to keep her. Crying, she held her hands up to protect her face as a guard slammed a fist into her porcelain ivory-coloured skin, bursting her lip and knocking her unconscious. Blood ran down her angelic face and ran into her chestnut hair. What she would wake up to would be something no child would ever dream of existing.
The train was so cramped, there was no room to sit down. Abigail's feet were throbbing as the little girl remained standing. The blood had been cleaned off of her face just before she had been thrown in with the other cattle, ready to be herded off to a place called “Auschwitz”. She'd overheard many of the guards and Nazis saying something about work and freedom, but Abigail had been fuzzy from the knock-out. She peeped through small gaps between people's legs to see mothers cradling their children close, father's holding the families to them and elderly people without and expression staring at the walls opposite. Abigail longed for her mother, yearned for her father, and started to cry. Holding a slim hand to her mouth to stifle the sobs, Abigail was scared a guard might be in the compartment with them. A bony hand wriggled onto her shoulder, shaking her right down to her toes. Abigail looked up to see a friendly face smiling down at her, one that only belong to a grandfather.
“Are you ok, sweetheart?” he whispered. Abigail shook her head, her soft curls bouncing slightly on her shoulders. He held her closer to his leg and took her hand.
“Everything will be fine, you hear me? I won't let them hurt you, love.” He slowly pulled her to the wall behind him and crouched down to sit on wooden crate. His knees clicked. He offered Abigail a seat on his left knee, which she accepted.
“What's your name, sweetheart?”
“Abigail,” she whispered.
“I'm Bruno,” he said with a smile. “You remind me of my grand-daughter, Heidi. She looked like you, but her blonde hair instead of brown.”
Abigail looked away from him, shy and confused.
“What's going to happen to us?” she whispered.
“The Nazi's are going to take us to a place called “Auschwitz”, where we get to work and have a nice life.”
“But why only us?”
“I don't know. Maybe because us Jews are harder workers? Maybe because they think we are bad? Who knows? But, darling, if you need a friend here, I can be your friend. So could my grandson,” Bruno said, pointing to a little blonde-haired boy who was standing by his mother's side with his thumb stuck in his mouth.
“His name is Bruno, too. He is only seven. How old are you?”
“I am six.”
“Well, I'm sure Bruno will be happy to be your friend.”
They talked quietly for an hour or so, including big Bruno's family at points. Abigail met Amalie, his daughter, and little Bruno. But once they stopped, Abigail seen the terror in big Bruno's face. She knew instantly that Auschwitz wasn't their ticket to freedom.