“Hunger, love, pain, fear are some of those inner forces which rule the individuals instinct for self-preservation” – Albert Einstein
My bare feet pounded on the frozen ground as I ran, my mouse in one hand and the other on my itchy grey beret. We had to keep running, Paltel and I. We had to cover ground before they realised we were gone. The woods were getting closer, closer, the trees extending their waiting arms to our fleeing figures, with their dead and leafless branches covered in thick winter snow. We were within 100 meters of the trees when the sirens started, harsh sounds blaring from the cold place behind us. Clearly through the air we heard one man shout to another “Hans! Die Juden sind entkommen!” (Hans! The Jews are escaping!), then the deep guttural barks of their bastard Shepherd dogs. I shoved my small white mouse into my beret, my hands clawing the air as I ran towards the woods, slowly numbing to the cold. I heard Paltel’s blood curdling scream, and I skidded to a stop, turning just in time to see his skeletal form being pounced on by one of their bastard dogs. He fell face first, a vibrant splash of red splaying out across the greying slush that was once snow. My brain was screaming for me to run, but my feet turned towards Paltel’s fallen figure and with all of my slowly ebbing strength I shoved the dog and began dragging Paltel’s wounded body towards the relative safety of the trees. His screams of pain continued, but the dogs turned back to the whistles of their laughing masters, who had halted in their running and were slapping each-others backs triumphantly, stating “Er ist schlecht verletzt, sie warden sicherlich die jetzt” (He is badly injured, they will surely die now). We reached the cover of the trees, my malnourished body already having exerted more physical feats in 20 minutes than it had in the entirety of my stay at the camps, and I collapsed in a heap, leaning myself against a tree while Paltel screamed. I breathed out a...
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