Sunday, October 26, 2008

Memoir (Project 1)

Melissa Restrepo in “Thanks to my Mother”

After Adriana (my mother) and I[1] decided to stay behind in the concentration camp, the whole room was now at our disposal and we had enough space to lie down and sleep. At that moment, I was burning with fever; therefore I was almost not aware of my surroundings. The guard that was left at the camp to check on those who stayed behind came into our room. Adriana before she lay down asked the guard “When we will be shot?”. The German guard answered quickly, “I haven’t gotten any orders yet. When I get the order to shoot you, I will”.
Adriana covered me with the a few blankets left behind from the others prisoners. She then lay down beside me and I fell asleep.
The next morning I felt better. The German guard brought us a breakfast that compared to the ones that were given to us before, was a luxury. The breakfast was given from the farmers in the neighborhood; it included bread, margarine, jam and tea. At noon, we also received lunch, hot chicken soup with meat. And at evening, hot porridge, along with more breach and tea again.
During the day, we would hear the guard’s footsteps approaching our barrack; Adriana would take my hand and hold me close to her. We then wonder, if this would be our last meal before “the order” has been given to the German guard? Was he coming this time to liquidate us? But days passed quickly and we kept on getting food and were allow to rest in the barracks all day long. My daily routine, I slept, woke up sometimes through out the day, ate something and slept again.
Adriana would sometimes go to the square to look for news. But no one else besides our guard was here with us. One day, when Adriana returned, she told me that all the camp inmates had gone. We were the only two left. She began preparing me for “the end”.
In the evening, we heard cannons and rocket launchers from the front. That night, we woke up by the noise of heavy engines close to the street of the camp, passing our barrack. Adriana looked outside and saw tanks driving through the direction of Gdansk. Our camp. The earth quivered, the noise was loud, and we could hear gunshots and explosions time after time.
In the morning, Adriana recognized the symbols on the military vehicles. They were red stars. It was the Soviet army- our liberators!
Adriana, full of joy, she cried, “Melissa, the Russians arrived! We are rescued; we are saved, we are liberated, Melissa, we have our freedom back! Everything is over my daughter!”
Her words would not penetrate my consciousness; I began to mumble, “Too bad, out of all the days, they arrived now that we have a good German guard and we are getting enough good”.
Then I lost my conscious again.[2]
[1] Adriana is my mother’s real name. In the memoir, Susie was unable to call her mother by “mom” because they were afraid to be separated. Therefore, I decided to use my mother’s real name and include her in the story instead of Raja- Susie’s mother.
[2] This section of the memoir was taken from the last pages of chapter “The Death March” (222-223)

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