VII. FROM THE ASHES: A Letter to God

Not satisfied to ape the Great
In His simplicity
The small must die, as well as He –
Oh the Audacity –
(Emily Dickinson)

Spring, 1945

Dear God

My name is Anna. I was eleven
years old when they came to take me and my
parents and my brother Louis. We rode
in a train, in a car made for cattle.
It was very crowded and people got
very sick. We had hardly any food
or water, and it was cold. Every time
the train stopped there were Germans and snarling
dogs. It was scary. Mama was sick when
we left Belgium, and when I woke up on
the third day it looked like she was sleeping.
But in a town in Germany, they pulled
her out of the train and threw her on a
cart. I think she was dead. God, where is she?
Where is mama? Is she in heaven with You?

The train went through some snowy mountains, and
it was very pretty to see the trees.
I remembered when I’d played in the snow,
but now I was cold. There was no furnace
in the car, but there was an opening
where the cold wind always blew in, and the
drinking water froze, and I got thirsty
and I got hungry too. My papa held
me and Louis. Papa had a big coat,
and it was warm in it next to him. But
we were all real scared and we all prayed
to you. We prayed Hear O’Israel the Lord
our God, the Lord is one.
Did You hear us?

The train stopped at a place in Poland called
Auschwitz. We had to get out. It was cold
there, and there were dogs. Nasty dogs that growled
all the time and showed their teeth. And there were
soldiers. The soldiers were not very nice.
They kept hitting people from the train with
clubs, and we had to all get into lines.
I cried when my papa had to get in
a different line. Louis cried too. We
never saw papa again. God, where is
papa? Is papa in heaven with You?

We had to go into a building. The
soldiers kept hitting people. They hit Louis
with a club and made his head bleed. He cried
and so did I. Then they made us all get
undressed. I didn’t like that because there were
so many people. Everyone was told
to take a shower, but there wasn’t room for
the children in the shower, and the guards
took us to another place. There were lots
of furnaces there, and it was hot and
scary. There were soldiers with guns, and men
in striped suits. One of them took Louis and
whispered something to him. Then he hit him
on the head with a club and threw him in
the furnace. God, where is Louis? Is he
in heaven with You? Please, God, please tell me.

Then a man in a striped suit grabbed me and
whispered something to me. He said, Hear O’
Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is one
and I thought of my papa. The man tried
to hit me with his club, but a soldier
aimed at him with a gun and he threw me
into the fire. And it hurt, God, it hurt
a lot. And I screamed but no one listened.
I got burned alive, God. Why didn’t You help?
Did I do something to make You angry?

And then they took all of our ashes and
loaded them into a truck. They dumped us
into a big river, and we floated
away. And it was cold again, terribly
cold like on the train. And it was so dark.
God, where am I? Where are we? Are we with
You, God? Where are You? Where were You? Please God –
Say something to me. Anything.


She awaits an answer.


About frugalchariot

How Frugal is the Chariot That bears the Human soul. (Emily Dickinson)
This entry was posted in Emeralds and Ashes I: Europe. Bookmark the permalink.

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