Hello, I am Annegret Freud and I am a Jew in the Warsaw Ghetto. I am going to die soon, so I shall document my life in this hell in the middle of heaven. But first I need to take this story back to the beginning, the beginning of 1939. We lived in a house. That is, my family and I. My father, Arnold Freud and my mother, Gratia Freud. It was a very pretty little house with white windows and a little garden in the backyard where my mother and I would plant and take care of daffodils, carnations, and some lilly of the valley. It was so pretty and I shall remember it forever. On the inside was two bedrooms, one for me and one for my parents of course. I loved my room because I had a big room where I could look outside and see our beautiful little garden. And, if I opened my window, I could smell the flowers! We also had one bathroom, one very big and nice kitchen, and the living room. Now the living room was always one of my favorite places because we had a big piano that my mother and father would play for me. They even taught me a few things. But I was never as good as them. Too bad I never will be. I had been hearing about conflict from Jews and Germans but I figured that since I was only 13, it didn’t matter even if I was a Jew. It was stupid and immature and now I am paying for it with my life.
It first started when my mother and I would go down to the grocery store and they wouldn’t let us buy anything because we were Jews. So, we had to go to different stores. I didn’t mind it like I should have. Then, lots of people stopped coming to my father’s candy shop because he was a “filthy son of Abraham” and I got angry. But it got worse. Oh, so worse. Next, the Nazis forced us to wear bracelets with the star of david on them, clearly stating that we were Jews. Soon after, we couldn’t even walk the streets without people hurting us and calling us filthy Jews. My mother made me stay home after that, saying it was too dangerous for me. Then, the most dreadful thing happened! A bunch of drunk Nazis broke into my fathers candy shop, stole almost ALL of the candy, then spray painted the star of david on the window so that nobody would come there! We lost a lot of money and now had no ways of making any. So, we started selling small items to either other Jews or sympathetic Germans. It was rough, but we were earning money.
Then, the Nazis forced us out of our home! So we each grabbed a few personal belongings and got out of there, on our way to the ghetto. I had taken an extra pair of clothing, a blanket, my favorite book, and a sewing kit if I needed it. My mother brought an extra pair of clothing, a blanket, a sewing kit, and a few pieces of nice jewelry. My father brought an extra pair of clothing, a blanket, the rest of our food, the rest of the candy from his shop, and a pillow for us all to share. When we were nearing the ghetto, it was a race! Everybody was running, trying to get a “good” room. But our room was definitely not my definition of good! It was about half the size of my bedroom, covered in filth and grime, and there were rats! Luckily though my father chased them out of the room. We then tried to make ourselves feel at home by finding an old, big mattress, lying our blankets and pillows on it, then putting all of our other belongings in special places. Then, I explored the ghetto. I walked along the dirty streets, filled with scared, tired looking people who just wanted to survive. I saw children playing with rocks. I saw two women fight over a piece of bread. I saw people selling their items: their jewelry, their books, their clothes, even their pets! Just for money for food. It was heartbreaking. While I was exploring, I saw a long and tall brick wall being built. When I asked what it was for someone explained it was to keep us out. I stayed away from the brick wall. I also spent my time reading my book over and over and sewing up holes in my clothes after exploring. One day, while I was reading, I wondered how we would keep track of the days. So I decided to start scratching it into the walls. But first I had to know the day! There was a man I knew who had a calendar on the next floor so I went up to him and asked. He said it was March 17, 1939. So I went back to our room and wrote it down.
Finding food was tough. But I did it for my family. My mother or father would sometimes help while the other would keep watch of our room and our stuff. Occasionally we would find some dry bread but it was mostly rotten vegetables. But, you’ve got to eat! So we did. And it kept us alive. I was grateful. After about 3 weeks, they took my mother away. They took her to go sew uniforms for the Nazis. But before she left she make us both promise we would sell her things for food. We promised. Then she was gone. I cried. I haven’t seen her since. I think she’s dead. But I did what she told me to and I sold her extra clothes and her jewelry. It got my father and I 4 roasted squirrels, 2 apples, and 1/2 a loaf of bread. That night we both feasted. I did keep her blanket and sewing kit though because they were useful. I added her sewing kit to mine and now my father and I had 2 layers of blankets. Live went on. Slowly, painfully. The ghetto looked more and more different everyday. Everybody was filthy and smelled horrible. People were sick, starving. People were lying dead on the street, wrapped in newspaper. But the worst thing I saw was the Nazi Jews. Jews ashamed of who they were, trying to make it up by trying to be a Nazi. Hurting Jews. Bad. Holding clubs, ready to swing. Or already swinging. I saw one swing a club so hard so many times at a little girl that she died right there on the street. Nobody did anything but me. I wept. She was just a little girl! When I asked what she did all the Nazi Jew did was snicker and say, “She was breathing.” I wanted to kill him. But I didn’t. Couldn’t. I continued to weep. I ran home.
Soon afterwards, my father became ill. Very ill. And I had no idea what it was or what to do. So I made him lie on the mattress, covered him in all of our blankets, his head rested on the pillow. I found an old, rusty soup can, filled it with water, then made a fire and put it over to boil. Next I got some of the rotten vegetables that we had, broke them up as much as I could, then put them in the water and made soup. It smelled so good, I was tempted to try it. But it was for my father, so I gave it to him. He was thankful. But it didn’t help, nothing could. On May 5, 1939 my father died from a sickness I didn’t even know. I didn’t know what was worse: the fact that my father was gone from me forever or seeing him go away from me on a cart with others who had died. All I could do was stand there and cry as I watched him go farther and farther away. It felt like days before I could go back to our room, but only hours had passed. By the time I returned, what little possessions we had were gone. A new family was huddled in the room that had once been mine. I had no strength to protest. I was forced to roam the streets, looking for food, trying to stay alive. Weeks passed and I could find myself starving. A few days ago in my search for food I saw a Nazi Jew being tormented by a group of boys. They were hurting him and calling him names, but he was too slow to catch them. He got very, very angry. But they escaped. And I was now the only one in sight. “YOU FILTHY STUPID JEWS!!!!” he yelled. And not even at the boys. At me. But I was so weak and tired, all I did was stand there in shock. He grabbed a piece of wood and took out all of his fury. He hit me so many times and so hard on my left arm that the bones in my left arm snapped. I screamed. A lot. But he kept going. He next aimed for my knees, hitting them again and again until, one by one, both of my knee caps shattered and I dropped to the ground in agony, still screaming. That’s all I could do, was scream. I just wanted the pain to go away! But the Nazi Jew had one last blow. He raised the wood, and with full force, hit my face. Everything went black.
When I woke up I was on the cart. But I wasn’t dead! So I slowly, painfully dragged myself off the cart, dropping myself on the ground. I couldn’t walk because of my knees but luckily a 13 year old boy I had known from school, Marwin Kuhn, saw me and dragged me over to a building and propped me up against the wall. He then found the cleanest shirt he could and ripped it into many strips. He used two strips to wrap up my knees. Then he took one and dipped it in dirty water and cleaned my face. Next he took pieces and made a sling for my arm. After that he found me a blanket and pillow and tried to make me as comfortable as possible.
For the past couple of days, he has stayed right beside me, talking to me. He still is here, right beside me, keeping me company as I write this. Thank you Marwin. Thank you so much. I hope that an event such as this will never happen again. I feel that my time is up, and I am tired. I shall sleep. Hopefully, when I wake, I will be in my mother and father’s arms.