HEMNA- an untold tragedy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story is about a young Jewish boy trying to find his identity. He has been a son, and an orphan, a slave and a cast away. And in all the pain and torment he faced, he gained a friend, not expecting one who would turn out to become a brother.
Furthermore the story is about accepting change, adapting and realizing that the past is the past and that no matter what you do, you won't be able to change anything. We can only make the best of what we have, to pursue at our best abilities. And always aspire to lead, teach and guide.
However...as hard as this may sound, it is possible.
The story was not written to offend anyone, or to make any nation or group of people look bad. It was written to open eyes, share thoughts on this subject and to enjoy.

Submitted: October 04, 2014

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 04, 2014








Chapter I

Born into death



I did not expect to die this soon."

These are the words my father said to me, whilst laying in his bed, chained to death, suffocating in his own sin.


"Great becomes you my son...for much trials await you, but also much splendour." Said my father; his last words, as he inhaled life no more.


He was gone!" Said I to my mother. Immediately mother sent Sara, my sister, to find Mr. Graham. And while Sara ran out to fetch Mr. Graham, I sort of struggled to loosen my hand from my father's mighty grip as he exhaled his last bit of life into my face; it was as if I could say, that I received my father's soul. Our father was dead, killed by the Nazis. He however was fortunate, to have the opportunity to tell his family just how much he loved them and although I was filled with sadness and both hatred towards the Nazis, I managed to control my emotions and the loss of my father, took a part of me with him. But he did however leave a part of his, with me. My uncle arrived rushing into our home. He looked as if he had seen a ghost; breathing heavily he said,' we must leave...now!" "Why Jakob? Can't you see that we have just lost my husband, I can't allow this; leaving him like this, it's not the proper thing to do. Joshua wouldn't want this Jakob!" Said mother. (By this time my sister Sara returned from Mr. Graham.) "Mother! Mr. Graham is dead." Said Sara. "I understand Marta and I apologise but the Nazis will kill all the families related to the related members of the resistance." Said Uncle Jakob. Mother just stood there crying. She knew we were staring at her, then quickly she wiped her tears and said,' what are you all staring at! We must leave...now!' And whilst everyone rushed to leave; I froze. I did not want to let go of my father. And I knew in my heart that I'd never never be able to make peace with those men taking him from me; I knew that someday I'll have my revenge and they would surely pay for what they did to our family. I could hear my mother calling out my truck, but by the time I looked her way, a Nazis soldier stood before me. He smiled as he stared into my eyes and hit me on my forehead with the back of his gun. I was then unconscious but I could feel my body being pulled, still...I was unsure of what their plans were with me. All I knew was...I was probably going to die like my father. 'What will become of me? I asked myself deep in my thoughts.



Chapter II

The Fear of falling




I could feel, these little drops of water. It fell in my face and by the time I fully gained consciousness, I saw him sitting at his desk. The one who shot my father; their commanding Captain. My parents called him 'the Red Vulture" I rosé to my feet the minute I noticed him sitting there; I was scared but I did not show it on my face, I refused to be weak. He got out of his chair, walked up to me and smiled. As I looked into his eyes I noticed he had a red iris in the shape of a bird; it looked like an eagle spreading its wings, maybe that was how he got his nickname. I looked at the other two guards smiling with a lust to kill me. I could tell, because they were amongst the men who killed my father. "Why did you kill my father? He was not part of the resistance! You killed Mr. Graham as well!' I said. (My tears running down my face) They laughed, as if I was not even there; as if I was some kind of ghost to them. "Answer me! You coward!' I said with anger and my rage rosé heavily. One of the officers wanted to slap me but the Captain stopped him and said to the officer,' Edmund...let the boy speak his mind. You obviously know, he won't live to tell the tale." The guard ceased his attack and stood there smiling. "Mighty words....indeed you are not a normal Jew. Normally you Jews just stay quiet and accept things as they are, but you...hmmm' he said, not even answering my question. "Answer me!!!' I said. He kept smiling no matter what I said. And when I had finally given up hope. "Listen boy, I'm sure you're mourning the death of your father, but I'm a little lost...you see I don't remember killing your father, maybe I did, but then again I killed so many fathers, it's hard for me to tell which one was yours." He said, patronising me with his smile. Suddenly a knock came to the door. Edmund went to open it and it was a woman. She looked very strict and she had this red coat, with long blonde hair. I remember the officer saying,' Good Afternoon Mrs. Ackermann." She did not greet him back. She walked straight towards the man we call the Vulture, kissed him and said,' My God! Vickary...a boy? Is that what you're doing now? Experimenting on boys? You know I don't like this...the pathetic jews I don't mind, but children...you do know I'm the mother to your children right?' "Yes...how many times are you going to remind me? Couldn't you have waited till tonight to give me a lecture about parenting!' He said. (Probably frustrated by his wife's manner of confronting him in front of his men, I suppose) He looked rather angry himself. "Edmund! Reinhart!" He said. "Yes, Captain!' Both men replied. "If word gets out of this conversation, I'll have you working with the Jews. I'll declare you as traitors against the Fuhrer and be aware...your families will live the rest of their lives in shame." He said without even blinking. "Understood Sir!' They said. "Hail Hitler!' Said Vickary. They replied with the same tone saying,' Hail Hitler." (Raising their right arms in mid air.) He smiled. "You're excused." He said. They then left the room and he said to her,' If you ever! And I mean ever try and embarrass me as you just did in front of mine...I assure you, whether you're the mother of my children, or not. I'll shave your head personally and place you in a gas chamber, then I'll burn you, until you are no more." I could see the fear in her eyes. She was scared of him. So was his men. Still...I did not show fear but that did not seem to bother him at all. "You're excused!' He said to her. She just looked down, walked towards the door and opened it. She then turned around and gave him one last look and walked out saying not a word. Soon thereafter, I heard a young boy's voice from afar. The door opened and the boy ran to the arms of Vickary, saying aloud,' Papa! Papa! Look what I made!' (Showing him an air plane.) Vickary just pretended to be a loving and caring person around his son. Laughing and giggling along to what his son was saying. It irritated me to look at them bonding, meanwhile I mourned my father's passing away. It affected me a great deal, but I had to be strong, for the sake of my own survival. I just had to find a way to make it through the worst. "Yes son...I see you're very creative! It looks magnificent. Can I keep it?' Vickary said. "It's not completed yet Papa, I must still paint it.' He said. A phone call came through, and he answered. " Captain Ackermann speaking.' I could not hear what the other person said on the other side. But I knew he was a general, because that was what Vickary called him. And it seemed he had a lot of respect for this particular general. His son then walked up to me and started speaking to me about how much he loved air planes and that he could not wait to fly his first plane someday. I pretended to listen to him, but did not really focus on what he said: because to me, vengeance was the only thing that would keep me alive. Vickary then ended the call and said,' Walter...go to your mother. Tell her I'll be there in a few minutes." "Yes, papa!' Walter said. The moment Walter went to open the door, a man walked in, not knocking. And Walter loudly said,' uncle Josef!" The man laughed, tossing Walter into the air and said,' look how big you are...magnificent, you look just like your uncle Antoni, when he was your age." "Someday I too will be a pilot like uncle Antoni." Said Walter. "Yes, your uncle Antoni was the best.' Said . Vickary once again answered the phone. And seemed a bit tense. He stared at me and looked his son's way saying,' boy, go now...your mother's waiting. "Yes papa! And goodbye uncle Josef, it was nice seeing you again. I'll let mama know you've arrived." Said Walter. "Go now!' Said Vickary. Walter left, but forgot his plane. Vickary did not notice it but I did. Josef took out a gun and pointed it directly at my head, attempting to kill me right there, but as he pointed the gun at me, Vickary's son opened the door, rushing to get his air plane back. Unfortunately witnessed his beloved uncle Josef attempting to kill me. Walter stood there staring at his uncle; being absolutely shocked at what he saw, he ran back downstairs leaving the door open. Vickary went to close it and Josef pursued on shooting me but Vickary stopped him. Instead Vickary had something else in mind. He suggested they use me to lure out more Jews. "I guess this is your lucky day...you should thank God for sparing you on this day. Otherwise, you'd be dead by now." Said Josef. "I do not fear death, and you pose no threat to me.' I said. "Oh but you will experience something far worse than death, I assure you. Once I'm done with you...you're going to wish you were dead.' Said Josef. (Confidently)




Chapter III

????? (Survive)




"Is that suppose to scare me?' I asked. Josef just looked at me smiling. "Cocky one.' He said. "Boy! I just about had it with you! But soon enough...you'll be one of us.' Vickary said. "What do you mean, one of you?' I asked. (Fearful) "Josef...go get the other boys, we have little time left, so we'll have to do it right here, and make sure no one sees you.' Said Vickary. I sat there in distraught, not knowing what to think, or believe. Everything was a mystery around this people, and I was a curious Jew. Josef left the room and Vickary and I was alone. He walked pass me, pulled down this big red curtain with the nazi symbol they also used as their flag. They called it the 'swastika." "What does that mean? That...symbol." I asked. (Curious) He smiled and surprisingly giggled in a very strange manner, he turned around holding the curtain in his hand. "It means good luck. It means hope for Germany, and glory to white domination, but my wife believes we are disrespecting the true meaning of the symbol.' He said. The door opened and Josef walked in with three other jewish boys along with one girl. Vickary placed four chairs next to mine and had them seated. He smiled at Josef. I noticed Josef smiling as well. I was curious and also very fearful to what their intentions were with us. What were they planning to do with us? "Now that we're all here, I'd like all of you to stand, raise your right hands and repeat after me: "I swear by God this sacred oath: That I shall render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer of the German Reich and people, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and that I shall at all times be ready, as a brave soldier, to give my life for this oath." They all said it along with him, until they knew it. He imprinted those words into their heads, meanwhile I on the other hand refused to be part of this allegiance. Vickary then noticed that I did not participate in this oath he taught the others. So he stopped them, and he said,' what is the meaning of this?" (Frustrated) "I will not have part of this! I refuse to betray my own people and become a spy, I'd rather die right here, than to be one your rats.' I said. "Ah huh! I see...you're a rebellious one. Now let me tell you something, and this goes for all of you. If you refuse to do as I say, I will kill all your families whom I have under my custody. All I ask is that you agree to these terms of mine and you will live a long life with your families. You have my word." Vickary said. I looked him straight in the eye and said,' I do not believe you are a man of your word. You are a devil!" He walked out of the room. Josef followed him and whilst they were gone I tried to persuade the other children that what they were doing was wrong and that God will punish them; but I could see the hurt and that they felt, they had no choice but to do as Vickary said. My plan on making them reconsider, did not work. No matter what I said, it seemed Vickary already had the upper hand. Then Vickary and Josef walked back into the room. He had a knife, a very sharp knife in his hand and he looked into my eyes, with his nose against mine. "Do you believe in God?' He asked me "Of course I do. He will punish you and your people.' I said. (Confidently) "Oh really, then tell me...where is he now?' Vickary asked. (Smiling) I did not answer him. He then looked at Josef, nodded his head and Josef held me down. Vickary opened my mouth, but I fought back biting his fingers, and fought hard to escape for Josef's grip. I panicked; everything was so blurry.I was scared, and as I pursued fighting back, Vickary got up, punched me in the face and hitting me out-cold. I could see blood on my shirt, and an immense pain coming from my mouth. My face felt swollen and I saw the other children look to me with tears in their eyes. I was confused, scared and angry. I did not know what to think or what to say; then I looked down at the blood continuously dripping from my mouth and it was then, on the floor, when I noticed that a piece of skin, that looked sort of like a tongue. It laid there, surrounded in blood. I was curious but also very scared, so I put my hand in my mouth and I discovered Vickary had viciously cut out my tongue. I burst out in tears, and I wanted to scream but I could not even speak. I would never be able to say another word for as long as I would live. Vickary sadistically laughed. "Well...boy! Where's your God now?' He said. I was in pain and in need of medical assistance, but it seemed Vickary wanted me to bleed to death, so I did the impossible. I took the knife he used to cut out my tongue, and I gave him a scar in remembrance of me. Then I ran towards the window and I jumped, falling into a lake of some sort, and I looked up, saw him standing in the window and all the lights went on. He just looked at me, as I drifted off with this river. I felt so relieved that I managed to escape but still I feared for the lives of the other children. 'What was going to happen to them?' I then passed out whilst drifting, not knowing if I would live, or die.



Chapter IV

Follower of Christ




I knew I could not swim and that I'd probably drown due to that, although I did however know that I would do anything to survive. I felt my body being dragged out of the water. Who were these people? And how could I still be alive? I could not see properly. It was like I was blinded by the water and I wouldn't be able to speak either. "Boy, what's your name?' Where are you from?' The lady asked. I opened my eyes, and as much as I wanted to speak, I knew I'd never know that feeling again. They then picked me up and carried me to a safer location. I looked around me and I saw camps everywhere. The place was big and there were so many people in striped clothes, I noticed many things. Struggling to pronounce the words I roughly said,' Where am I?" Luckily they were able to make out what I had asked them, and whilst rushing me to what they called a 'barrack.' "We are in a concentration camp, don't worry...you'll be fine.' One of the men said. We arrived inside the barrack and I saw over 200 jews and non jews. And they became my family. They taught me about the nazi camps and what they knew about their locations. I suppose I had no choice but to accept my fate, like the rest of my people did; life just seemed so unfair. "I tell you...if God truly loved us, since we are his chosen people, why damn us like this! Huh!' The one man said. I listened to them complain, some cried,and whilst others argued that God favoured the Nazis, some were on their knees begging for a miracle. I sat down and asked myself,' if God was not with me throughout all that I have been through, then I must have been blind, because how else could I have made it this far." The one lady said to the old man who kept on criticising God's will and his reason for allowing such horrific things to happen to us: "God would not have taken us to this point, if he was not able to take us through it.' Some of the elders agreed. Then I heard a little girl say,' He's been with me through good days, he's held my hand through bad ones, and I can proudly say that our father has never left my side. Why do you leave his side?" Whilst I was sitting there, my tongue cut out of my mouth. I was unable to speak but inside my heart yearned to scream. I was in pain, inner pain. The anger found a way to overwhelm me. At this stage in my life, it felt as if God had really abandoned me, the people doubting him, gave me even more reason to renounce him. What was I to do? The lights then went off and we all went to sleep. I could not sleep at all. I'd say exactly two hours went by and I was still awake. People were sleeping, but I was up. And so I decided to escape, and I opened the door and ran as fast as I could; yet...what I did not know was, the guards were also awake. And they caught me. I could hear the whistle being blown and the guard grabbed me by my neck, pulled me all the way to the Gestapo. I feared for my life. The guard informed the colonel that I tried to escape, and asked the Colonel what he should do with me, but the Colonel just told the guard to leave us. I looked at him and I was scared, I felt like crying but I could not, I did not know how; it was like my emotions has left my soul. He walked up to me, smiling. He had very light blonde hair and he was a very tall man. "Hello boy, what's your name?' He asked. I just stared at him and it was like he understood that I was unable to speak. "I am Colonel Krischen Luhe. I am in charge of this concentration camp. Do you mind showing me your number?" He said. I showed him my arms and he noticed I had no tattoo. He looked very concerned on his face, thinking very far. "I know what I'll do, I'll take you with me. You can work for me at my home. I'll provide for you, and you won't see this place again. What do you say?" He asked. (Smiling) I just shook my head in agreement with what he asked and he grabbed his coat, turned off the lights and after he locked up. He told the guards that I was one of his workers. They said nothing of course; and then we left in his car. The guards at the gate did not even try to ask for his card. He just drove through as if he was the king. And it was then, when I realized that God did care. I just had to believe.



Chapter V

Seeking Freedom



Whilst driving, he seemed really calm. And he smiled everytime he looked my way. "Our body,mind, heart and soul should become so translucent, that people are able to see right through us, what God has placed within us.' Krischen said. (Smiling) I was excited but also sad. My heart went out to those who'd be victims to the slaughter. As we came closer and closer to his house, I noticed that a boy was waiting for him. We then stopped, and Krischen looked at me and whilst opening the door he said,' Life means loving someone, without having the guarantee that you'll live to see them grow. In other words, eternal life is not promised to us on earth, only in heaven." He got out, and I opened the door. We got out and this boy, whom I presumed was his son, ran up to him and gave him a hug, it suddenly made me miss my father. I remember him tossing me up into the air, always saying my name and how fortunate he was to have me as his son. But ever since his death, I've told no one my name, I became so used to being nameless. "Son, this is our newest member to the family.' He said to his son. "Hello, I am Benjamin. And you are?' The boy said. I did not answer him, because I could not. I also did not want him to think that I was being rude for no particular reason. Suffice I would be, but surprisingly he did not take offence to what I said; he was calm and understanding. "Well...since you're unable to tell me your name. May I call you Simon?' He asked. (Smiling) I agreed to the name he gave me and we shook hands. "This is what my uncle Henry calls a 'Hemna,' it's a word describing two people coming to an agreement." He said.




Chapter VI

Live and let live



Out of all things I've seen thus far, I'd say that I stand corrected that all Germans are not bad. It was not about what had happened to us Jews due to the cause that the Germans tormented and ruled over our people. It is thus what led to this moment. Frankly speaking I personally think that we were the cause of our own damnation. None of us are angels on this earth, we'll never be classified as angels, for as long as we're going to live on earth, it occurred to me that our lifespan was not a guarantee of splendour and living the lives of kings and queens in all words. Sometimes we think the worst situations that befalls us, are the ones that we wish we never had, hence it is that moments which enabled us to look up and look forward to a prosperous future, still honouring the past, yet living for times to come as if we have no more time left. But then again...I might be wrong. It is just a thought, what do I know right? I'm just a boy, I've much to learn. We went inside, and I was shown my room where I'll sleep and Krischen prepared the bath for me. He walked me to the bathroom. And left me alone, then I locked the door and I undressed myself, as dirty as I was, I sort of had this fear that I might break his bath and then he'll be mad at me. I did not want to upset them; they were good people. Then I placed my hand in the bath, and I grabbed some soap foam and rubbed it over my face and I unlocked the door. "Are you done already?' He asked. (Surprised) I shook my head. I looked at him in a frightful way. "Take it easy, calm yourself, you don't have to fear when you're in my home. You are accepted and you will be loved; no more running and no more pain. You have my word." He said. He took me to the bathroom a second time and told me to get in the bath tub. I then got in and it felt like heaven on earth. I did not want to leave the bath, it made me feel so free and calm. I felt as if I could fly if I had wings. I felt so relaxed, I never knew I'd ever experience something this luxurious, it felt good. Krischen then knocked on the door after three whole hours. By then I was done and he gave me new clothes. Benjamin and I each had our own separate beds. But Benjamin then asked his father to put the beds next to each other. And so he did, and we shared a bed. Krischen tucked both of us in, and although I had no tongue, I tried my best to say,' Can I call you Papa?" (Although he struggled to make out what I said, he smiled and nodded his head.) Three months went by, and I was happy. He taught me about Jesus and his miracles. He taught me about being Christian and how the grace of God has made him a new man. Each day that passed by, I smiled more, and I learned more about faith, hope, trust and acceptance. Everything was going quite fine until this car pulled up in front of our gate. I could not believe my eyes; they were Nazi soldiers. And among them a familiar face whom I'll never forget. It was Vickary Ackermann, the man my people called 'the Red Vulture." They walked to door. Knocking very hard as if they were angry. And right before he opened the door, he hid me underneath the floor. I could see nothing because he threw a mat over the little door. But there was one little hole, and through it I would be able to see what happened while I was in hiding. "We apologise for disturbing you and your family at this hour, but I assure you Colonel, it is only for the benefit for the safety of our children." Vickary said. Krischen at first looked very concerned but then he said with a straight face,' why do you come specifically here?' I mean...I am a Colonel, and there are many people in our surrounding that needs the protection. I assure you, we'll be fine." Then Krischen attempted to close the door. Vickary then stopped it with his foot, looking at Krischen very upset about his lack of co-operation. "Sir! we have reason to believe that an escaped prisoner, is hiding somewhere on your land. Permission to search the area?' Vickary said. (Frustrated) Krischen gave them access, and as I stared through the little hole underneath his house, I feared for his life and for my own. As Vickary walked inside, checking the bathroom and the bedroom. He walked to the kitchen where I was hidden and he jumped on the mat. Then he ordered the his men to remove the mat and search the floor. The following that happened was very fast. I could not even see properly, given where I was standing. Krischen held out his pistol and pointed it directly at Vickary's face. "Careful now...you don't want to hurt an officer. You know what will happen to you right?" Said Vickary. Krischen said whilst holding the pistol against his cheek,' I fully understand the consequences of my actions. It is a cause I will die for; tell your men to lower their weapons. Now!" Vickary just laughed and slowly pulled out a knife from his side. Benjamin warned his father just in the nick of time. Then Krischen had the advantage; he shot all Vickary's men but he did notice that one of them shot him from the back. He was bleeding. Vickary laughed, as if he won the victory and walking up to Krischen, he kicked the pistol from his hand and as he attempted to cut Krischen's throat with his knife. Benjamin stood behind him with his father's pistol, and as Vickary persuaded him not to pull the trigger, Krischen nodded his head and Benjamin had shot Vickary in the centre of his head. Vickary was dead, blood was everywhere. And a peaceful home just became another memory. Krischen then strongly suggested that we leave and never return. Benjamin was crying. He did not want to leave his father. He held onto his father's hand and he saw his father exhale the last bit of his life into his face. He was gone; dead. We could not to stay, we had to go. But where would we go? 



Chapter VII

Sons of Noble men



Benjamin and I walked as far away from the bloodshed as possible. Vickary was dead and so was Krischen. And to think...all he ever wanted was to stop what his countrymen were doing, because he said once,' at the end, no matter your skin colour, or the sound of your voice, your height or weight. No matter the language we speak or the clothes we wear; this should not matter, because life defines us all, and at the end we are all human." As Benjamin and I walked towards this bridge. We stopped there, looked each other straight in the eye and embraced each other as brothers. We did not matter what happened, or who was to blame. We only wanted it to end and have the opportunity to grow up together, without the chances of getting killed over it. We wanted peace, and even if our people would carry on as they did, for another 100 years, it did not matter. We chose to love. We shook hands and right then and there we accepted that we cannot change what happened but we can pursue a life of harmony, love and respect. 'Love conquers all. I learned that the hard way.'


"Cultural differences should not separate us. Skin colour should not categorise us. And language should not divide us. Hatred should not drive us. And fear should not overwhelm us. We were made with love, thus were we given free will, to choose between love, and hate.'

The End.

© Copyright 2020 Damian Vincent Henry. All rights reserved.

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