The story Parallel Journeys by Eleanor Ayer takes place telling the true events that two people experienced during The Holocaust in World War II. Alfons Heck was a German boy who was recruited to the Hitler youth when he was only ten years old. As Helen Waterford was a young Jewish woman who had just been married to her husband Siegfried and had her young daughter Doris. Helen Waterford and her new family had resided to hiding instantly in Amsterdam as they learned that Germany was not safe anymore for Jewish people. The experiences of both Alfons Heck and Helen Waterford contrast immensely in that Heck became a Nazi later in life and Waterford was a victim of the Anti-Semitism in Germany, but both realized the evils that were taking place in Germany during World War II.
After Helen Waterford left her home in Germany to move to Holland, she had already realized that Germany was not safe any more and that to keep the safety of her family they would need to go into hiding. This was a result to the actions taken by the Nazi’s on the event of Kristallnacht where many Jewish businesses were destroyed and many Jews were captured and taken as prisoners to concentration camps. Waterford went into hiding with thousands of other Jews in Amsterdam, Holland when finally Nazi officials captured them after Germany had taken over Holland. Separating themselves from their daughter Doris to keep her safe Helen and Siegfried were put onto a boxcar and deported to a concentration camp. There they experienced the terror of the selection process where Helen witnessed Dr. Josef Mengele pick whether prisoners at the concentration camp went back to working or were sent to death. Eleanor Ayer describes the kind of person Dr. Mengele was seen as by prisoners like Helen Waterford as she states, “Of all the concentration camp doctors, Josef Mengele was the most feared. The Angel of Death, prisoners called him. With a simple movement of his hand he sent, Mengele doomed thousands of Jews to...
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