Reaction to the story of Macha Rolnikas

Essay by thejoounitHigh School, 10th gradeA, June 2007

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The story of Macha Rolnikas was very meaningful. This story showed the torture and pain inflicted from the S.S. guards onto the Jews.

While in a camp Macha writes, “We are lined up, they measure us and take away the thinnest.” One thing I found interesting was the story of the holocaust from the perspective of a woman. You would think that because she was a woman the S.S. guards would expect less from her, possibly be a little bit nicer to her. But no, it seems that she was abused more that Elie was. She was starved more, and her body went through more physical trauma. In the end her body was swollen everywhere, she could not even walk. The description brings the pain out of the paper and into my body. I can feel the pain she is describing.

When given the job of undertaker Mach writes, “I take her frozen foot, but I can’t lift it.

The supervisor gasps and put a pair of scissors and pliers in my hands. I must undress the dead woman and take out her gold teeth.” I found it disturbing that she was put in charge of taking the clothes off of the ones that died, and pull out any gold teeth they had, and then moving the bodies. Just to think about going into a dead persons mouth is sickening, the cold, dry mouth rubbing against your fingers sounds disgusting. And then pulling a tooth out of their mouths is gross. And then, in here extreme weakened condition, she had to move the bodies. I can barely walk when I haven’t eaten for a long time, I can’t imagine not eating for days and then lifting 100 pounds and carrying it across a room.

Macha is separated from her family. In her journal she says, “ I run to a soldier and beg him to let me back through the gate where mama is.” Similarly, I think it would be very hard to be separated from my family. Being all alone, with no one must make you feel useless like no one loves you. I can’t believe Macha didn’t just give up or commit suicide, after knowing that her mother and siblings were probably dead. It must have been the extremely small possibility of surviving and seeing friends and family again that kept her going. If it were me I think I would just commit suicide. Dying by my own hand would be less torturous and more dignified than having a Nazi kill me.