Essay by bentossHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 2002

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Screams were an everyday thing in Auchschwitz, you got used to it after a while. There was also the constant sobbing of wives split up from their husbands like the howl of a dog in the night. The perpetual stopping and starting of babies' wails like a constant artillery fire. Then there was the smell, the awful stench of sweat, blood and rubbish all mixed together. I don't know how we survived.

I saw a guard walking towards me, he was about six foot three inches with dark, sunken eyes and was staring right through me. I thought he was going to address me, but I thought wrong : He shoved me out of the way and I hit my head on a drainpipe. I felt an oozing on the back of my head, but I had got used to that as well. The guard went up to one of the mothers and its howling baby.

He snatched the baby from her arms and she screamed at him to give the baby back. He hit her to the ground with the butt of his gun with the ease of a professional and walked off with the baby still howling.

I lay on the ground and felt the back of my head, only a small cut, not much to worry about. Someone kicked me in the side, a guard, he motioned me to get back to work and kicked me again, harder.

It was not really work, just mending the Jerry's uniforms, but it kept us busy. There wasn't much to do, so an officer instructed me, in broken English, to go and keep out of mischief. I was not going to do what a German had told me to do, so I went for a walk. What I saw...