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Copyright © 2013 by Nastaran Amiri. ISBN: Softcover Ebook 978-1-4797-9335-8 978-1-4797-9336-5
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Rev. date: 04/08/2013
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The Beginning................................................................................................ 9 The Letter..................................................................................................... 13 Disaster......................................................................................................... 17 Concentration Camp. .................................................................................... 22 Rose............................................................................................................... 25 Life in the camp............................................................................................ 27 The Truth..................................................................................................... 30 The Game..................................................................................................... 34 The Birthday................................................................................................. 37 The Unexpected Visitor................................................................................ 39 Trouble.......................................................................................................... 42 The Big Escape............................................................................................. 45 The Arrival.................................................................................................... 48 Constant Fear................................................................................................ 51
When Will It End?....................................................................................... 57 Transition...................................................................................................... 59 The Train Ride............................................................................................. 62 Buchenwald Concentration Camp................................................................ 64 Surviving....................................................................................................... 66 Anxiety.......................................................................................................... 69 Progress......................................................................................................... 72
VICTORY!................................................................................................... 77 Epilogue........................................................................................................ 81
Amsterdam. 1939 .
my two sisters. she was always sick and never had enough energy. so Hannah had to go on foot. Anne and Hetty. My father was taken to a concentration camp. After my father was taken away. I remember my mother yelling and begging the Nazis to leave him alone. despite all that. and me. slowly she died. The day the Nazis came. I remember my sisters crying. This injury made her health worse. I did my best to calm them down. I remember it like it was yesterday. My mother was severely injured. the memories come flashing back to me. her health wasn’t very good in the first place. she still had energy to be a good mother to us.The Beginning As I stare out the window. collecting my nine year old brother Peter along the way. the blow was really hard and she was unconscious for days. Our telephone had been taken away a few weeks ago. The Nazis spared the rest of us. my brother ( who was at his friend’s house when it happened ). all their crying soon wore them down and they 9 . Hannah called for a doctor to attend to my mother. She spent most of her time in bed. I remember two Nazis storming in and grabbing my father. they were seven year old twins. I was left to take care of my sisters. The Nazis were fed up with my mother and hit her. they were really little and the shock was too much for them. I was very worried about her. we didn’t know where. The rest of us meaning our housekeeper Hannah.
was father safe? Will mother be alright? The next day was full of havoc. my aunt explained it to me. Peter was running around the house pretending to be a monkey. They had a small house.Nastaran Amiri fell asleep. Unfortunately. she could barely sit up. My aunt helped Hannah take care of mother. The doctor said there’s nothing much he can do for her. The house smelt really bad the whole day. Hannah had no choice but to force water and some food down her throat. I tried to act strong for their sake. until then your uncle and I will take care of you.” 10 . my mother was in very bad shape. Hetty and Peter. I worried about my parents. My aunt and uncle who live close by. I was eleven years old. I didn’t really understand what was going on. Her loss gave me a massive heart ache and with my father away it was worse. He isn’t really on a holiday. Peter and I under their care. She died three days later. and my uncle helped me take care of Anne. I was in charge of cooking and I burnt the eggs. But what I really wanted to do was join in and have someone cuddle me and reassure me that everything would be fine. . They seemed satisfied with my answer and didn’t ask any more questions. We had told them that mother was resting and father had went on a holiday and would soon return. I missed my mother so much. “Why couldn’t we have gone with him?” Peter asked. . he is mining for gold in India. It took me a very long time to fall asleep that night. “Your father has been taken to a concentration camp. My aunt and uncle were scared that the Nazis would come and take them away. my aunt and uncle took my sisters. heard about what happened and came over. I kept on waking up because mother was moaning in pain and there was Hannah’s voice calming her.” I lied. My sisters were playing hair dressers. I could barely swallow anything or sleep. “Well . I didn’t really understand where father went. but a nice backyard. My uncle had his arms full with keeping Peter under control. he will return soon. After mother died.
But we didn’t tell them the truth about father. “Why? What have they ever done to the Nazis?” “It is all very complicated. I hope it will be over soon. who were those scary men that took father away?” “A concentration camp is a large area where many people are imprisoned. I didn’t want to tell them. all day they cried and nothing we did made them feel better. A concentration camp is a large area where many people live together. especially after what happened when they found out what happened to mother. it was heart breaking to see the expressions on their faces.Jane’s War “What is a concentration camp. In the end Aunty and Uncle insisted that we tell them.” I explained. I saw how cruel those Nazis were. We had eventually told them the truth about mother. “When is father coming home?” They asked. Your uncle and I will take care of you. Many people die and the Nazis treat them very badly. The conditions are very bad.” Over the next few days I was worried about being taken away to a concentration camp. “I don’t know. The food is rationed and it’s a very small amount. the start of the war. My sisters were starting to get suspicious. I didn’t want to die. Peter wouldn’t talk to anyone the whole day and was silent. Now it’s 1939. and there is never enough food. he’s in a concentration camp. Anne and Hetty were the opposite. looking anxious. but right now you shouldn’t worry about it. 11 . “Father is not really on a holiday or mining for gold in India.” “Will we have to go to a concentration camp?” At this point I was on the verge of tears. there is a man who doesn’t really like people like us and has ordered the Nazis to put all of us in concentration camps. “Is it nice in the concentration camps?” Hetty asked.” My aunt explained to me patiently.
12 . Mostly I watched Peter on the swings. it’s not very nice Hetty. They begged me to join in but I declined. and my sisters playing hide and seek.Nastaran Amiri “No. he will be fine and I am sure he will come back to us in no time. Every day I would sit outside the window and look down at the yard to wait for father’s arrival.” I assured them. but father is strong. I was also starting to get very anxious.
You will be taken to a concentration camp. I quickly rounded up Anne. They weren’t very nice when they asked. As soon as they left my uncle went upstairs to pack. Hetty and Peter with our few possessions that we had brought with us. we saw many Nazis on the streets. you must listen carefully. We quickly walked past and were stopped twice by Nazis to explain where we were going. As we left. I heard some screaming downstairs and I ran down as quickly as I could. the Nazis were very reluctant to let us go. there were a few big trucks that were meant for cattle but the Nazis expected everyone to travel on them. That was the last time I saw my aunt. “Jane. go and gather all the things you brought with you and go back to your house. I saw two very scary looking men walking across the yard. my heart pounding all the way. the second Nazi screamed the question in my face. as I was looking out the window. Both times I answered. making Hetty burst into tears. my aunty stayed behind. I must go pack now. These kids will not be coming with you. Go to your house and tell Hannah what has happened. she will take care of all of you. 13 .” She gave us all a hug and left.The Letter One day.” One of the Nazis ordered. Nazis. “You have twenty minutes to pack then you have to get into the truck outside. I quickly realized who they were.
Is father back yet?” I added the last bit feeling very optimistic. we looked for Hannah. There were no more parties. your father hasn’t returned. The good news is that he has sent us a letter!” Hannah exclaimed. To my family. I have to give up one days ration in order to send this letter. He will probably receive the letter in about two weeks at the latest. but with the Nazis here. or family outings. “Jane calm down. I have already replied. “Sorry Jane. When we finally arrived. I hope you are well and Hannah is with you. I cannot say the same with myself. but it is worth it. luckily I am in a Labor camp. Before they left aunty told us to come here to you. feeling very excited.Nastaran Amiri We lived in a good neighborhood with friendly people. everything changed. 14 . “A letter? Hannah. not an extermination camp. “Poor father! I didn’t know that the concentration camps were that bad! Hannah. father doesn’t even know about what happened to mother!” I said. She immediately asked what happened and that she had really good news for us. my heart racing. we couldn’t walk down to buy some bread without being questioned numerous times. I am in Auschwitz concentration camp. telling him about everything. Our friend’s parents didn’t want their kids to play with us in case we would endanger them. It was harder for the Jewish people. Some people even crossed the road when they saw us walking. Her face lit up when she saw us and she ran over to hug us. but it felt like forever. we must reply immediately. It was a ten minute walk from our aunty and uncle’s house back to our house. The conditions here are very bad and there is never enough food. Peter complained all the way back because his shoes were too small for him and hurt his feet. From your father. I look forward to your reply.” explained Hannah. We eventually found her in her room reading a letter. “The Nazis came and took aunty and uncle to a concentration camp. This way I have a chance of survival. can we please see it?” Peter asked.
remember I promised. We were not permitted to use any forms of transport. you have to be strong for your father. I read a few pages when I realized I wasn’t paying attention. “Girls.” “What if Anne. 15 . It was time to ask Hannah the question that was bugging me.” I could tell she was getting impatient so I left. you won’t get separated. I will do everything in my power to protect you. sweets and an occasional movie. I promise. Then I would come back to reality and get sad all over again.Jane’s War “I want father!” Anne cried. “Hannah. “Of course we will survive.” I went to my room and chose a book to read. please I don’t have time for this. I doubt they will take you away but if they do. The endless trips to the park. I would go out there every day and sit there for hours at times. Go to your room and play quietly or play in the yard. Now. ice-cream. the only other people who know where the spot is are father and Hannah. I ran back downstairs to Hannah. For example we couldn’t go to the movies or the park. I would think about what it would be like if there was no war. including bicycles. Before she died. how are we going to survive? Do we have enough money? Are you sure you will be able to stay with us?” I asked. there were so many rules and restrictions. Hetty also joined in. Hetty and Peter get taken away to a different concentration camp? What if I never see them again?” “If you do get taken away. “Hannah. Your parents have left us a lot of money in the bank and I will always stay with you. but I couldn’t. deep in thought. The girls and Peter left. The swing and the yard soon became my sanctuary.” Hannah ordered. Our radio and telephone were taken away from us. mother had hidden many of our valuables in a secret spot in the house. what if the Nazis come and take us away?” “You must not worry. Suddenly I thought of something very horrible. I was wondering what other things I could be doing. I went out to the yard and sat on the swing.
I travelled to different lands. they looked up to me because I was their big sister. They had wild imaginations and would make up the strangest games. but I didn’t take advantage of it.Nastaran Amiri I didn’t spend all my time on the swing. when I opened a book I would become its prisoner. I also did my share of chores. I would gain my freedom when I finish it. met new people and made new friends. I also played with my sisters. or dusted. sometimes I cooked. Some books were very interesting. My parents were big believers of education and had an extensive collection of books. I also did a lot of reading. I hated doing the washing. my hands would get all wrinkled and sometimes I couldn’t touch anything without feeling an enormous amount of pain. or I would do the washing. They would do anything I said. when I read I suddenly forgot about everything. 16 . It was like a trap.
I bent down and cried. Then it was all ruined. Best of all the swing. I screamed and ran. The tall. There were three Nazis standing in the front hall laughing. I couldn’t breathe. you have twenty minutes. Then I saw. it was like someone had frozen me on the spot. at first I couldn’t see what at. green trees providing a nice. lying across the floor at the Nazis feet. I heard my sisters screaming in the house and I ran in as fast as I could. It was Hannah. The thing that we had all been dreading. I had to be brave for Anne. Even my swing got boring. one for each of us and quickly put in a few things in each.Disaster As the months passed. Then one day. you have to wake up. Hetty and Peter. I ran upstairs and took four bags. I was sitting on the swing admiring the yard. There are two trucks outside. disaster struck. Quickly I got up. The freshly cut grass and the flower patch with beautiful roses. cool breeze and shade for me.” One of the Nazis ordered. my sanctuary. get on one of them and you will be taken to a concentration camp. you have to! Hannah!” “Get up! Go and gather your things and come outside. “Hannah! It’s me Jane. 17 . The Nazis stormed into my house like they owned it. talk or move. The sight before me was too much for me to handle. the days were drearier. I had become familiar with every part of it.
Like last time the trucks were built to transport cattle not humans.” “Your time is up. We walked passed Hannah who was still unconscious on the floor. “Please. With one last look at our house. and you can access water when we stop. it was one of my mother’s friends. I climbed on to the nearest truck. It was excruciatingly painful. my baby will need some food. “Hurry up! Get on board!” Shouted one of the Nazis. Maybe we will even see father. I soon saw why. and no you cannot take your doll with you Hetty. “Can I take my doll with me?” asked Hetty. 18 .” one of the Nazis said. “Will we really see father?” Peter asked very excitedly. no one greeted anyone. I explained to Anne. we will return soon. “We have some dry bread here. We quickly sat down on a pile of hay and remained silent. the Nazis will take the doll off you.” I added the last part in feeling optimistic. We walked across the yard and onto the street.Nastaran Amiri I also took some food and water. I am not sure. Hetty and Peter what was going on. I quickly recognized who. my sisters and brother right behind me. We had no choice but to leave her there. “We are going away for a while. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. we saw all the other Jewish people who live in the surrounding streets climbing on to the trucks. This truck was definitely used for cattle before the war. With a deep breath I walked past.” the Nazis replied holding up a box.” a Nazis called from downstairs. No one said anything. some of our neighbors and my parent’s friends. I recognized many of them. “It’s going to be a very long trip and we will be stopping only twice to go to the toilet and to have a drink. Some of them were kids I used to go to school with. just in case. There were many people inside the truck. it had a very bad smell and there was hay everywhere. “Maybe Peter. The truck wasn’t very pleasant. isn’t there anything I can give to him?” Someone asked. There were five Nazis sitting at the back watching all of us closely.
I forgot to breathe. and for the first few hours it was exciting. I let Peter. I remembered that we hadn’t had water the whole day. Everyone was silent and was cheered up at the announcement. then it got really tiring. it was the best feeling ever. “Peter! I told you not to wander off!” I scolded him. I looked around again. We soon came to a white building. I looked around for the toilets and saw nothing. as soon as we finished we rushed out. there were only two and the line was long. Everyone was getting impatient. I felt my lips and they were very dry. there was no privacy! No doors. then suddenly spotted him. Half an hour later we arrived. It was very embarrassing to go to the toilet with other people watching. then the other smaller children started and the whole truck was filled with crying and protesting. A few of the children even wet themselves.” We separated and went inside the toilets. I hoped the toilets weren’t too far away. It was now starting to become dark. We made our way to the taps. it was water that was all that mattered. When it was my turn. I rushed to one of the toilets. Soon we became balanced and got used to the truck.Jane’s War Suddenly the truck began moving and everyone was caught off guard and we all fell over. I inhaled the fresh air. one by one we got off. Everyone needed to go to the toilet but the first toilet break wasn’t for another two hours. The water was a bit warm but I didn’t care. when the water came in contact with my lips I felt like I was flying. I had rarely been in a car. I was baffled at the sight before me. He was playing with a dog who had somehow found its way to the toilets. “Peter. I rushed to the tap. Anne and Hetty started sobbing softly. I was afraid that Peter had wandered off. Hetty and Anne go first since they were younger. I don’t know how long I stood there drinking but suddenly someone pushed me. There was a family of five taking a very long time at one of the taps.” a Nazi said. Anne and Hetty thought it was funny. I looked around and there was no sign of Peter. I saw some people walking further on and I followed. “Silence! We will be stopping for a water and toilet break earlier than planned. five minutes later it was our turn. my sisters and brother were getting restless. do not wander away. but there was no other alternative. As soon as I got off. only a dozen toilets in one room! Despite everything I really needed to go. 19 . once you finish come outside and wait for us.
Someone collapsed while climbing abroad the truck. That event stayed in my mind and everyone else’s for days. I had to lean against the wall. I must have drifted off at some point because when I woke up there was sun streaming in through the small window above me.” I apologized. I had seen her countless times in the neighborhood. Our stomachs 20 . let everyone else have a turn. Suddenly a man ran out from the toilet and headed towards the road. I was in an uncomfortable position the whole night. It was an old lady. but Anne and Hetty were still asleep. We all climbed on board like nothing had happened but inside everyone was in shock. I had to hold my noise. We were all extra careful and kept to ourselves not wanting to be on the Nazis bad side. There was a very bad smell coming from the toilets. The man running away dodged. He fell down in pain and the Nazis picked him up and threw him onto the side of the road. We waited outside for a few minutes. but the Nazis didn’t give up. and one of them took out a gun.” the Nazis warned us. Peter and I woke up. They started chasing him. I was sure that we would need it later. I soon realized that she was dead. he took aim and released. We both badly needed to go to the toilet and have another drink of water. Anne and Hetty were small and they cuddled up into small balls and fell asleep without any trouble. feeling embarrassed. I had put some food in each of our bags but I was too afraid to take it out in case the Nazis took it off us.Nastaran Amiri “You have been drinking long enough kid. We boarded the truck again and left the nice fresh air and the cool evening breeze. “Sorry. taking advantage of the fresh air. the Nazi that was shooting tried again this time he shot the man on the leg. The night was long and there wasn’t enough space for everyone to sleep lying down. Also. It was a long night and all the Nazis gave each of us was a small loaf of bread. The Nazis threw her onto the side of the road like they did with the man that ran away. “Anyone else who tries to escape will also be shot. “Catch him!” one of the Nazis yelled.” one of the men said. I quickly walked back to the truck. They left him there moaning in pain on the verge of death.
When it was my turn again the same thing happened. also to put you on the list for daily rations. If you don’t follow these orders you won’t receive any rations for a week. I looked around. hoping that we wouldn’t have to spend any more time in it. this time there were a few more extra taps so the lines were fairly short.Jane’s War were rumbling with hunger but that could wait. We went back inside the truck. When it was my turn. “We will shortly arrive at our next toilet and water stop. there was a rush to the door. The ride to the concentration camp was uneventful and silent. we would finally be off this truck. This time I wasn’t worried about anyone looking at me in the toilets. I would rather spend the night in a cage with a lion than spend another night in a cattle car. I took a big swallow of water and another and another.” one of the Nazis explained. My lips were even drier than last night. This time I didn’t go back to the end of the line. When we arrive you will line up against the wall and will be marked off the list to confirm your arrival. I gasped when I realized where we were. But I soon regained control and left the tap. This time I didn’t have to look for Peter. When I finally got out I inhaled some fresh air. I couldn’t stop it was too good. We received a little bit more bread but it wasn’t enough to contend my rumbling stomach. he was probably too thirsty and tired to do so. Peter for once wasn’t complaining. We went back to the truck. Exactly twenty minutes later we arrived. and this time no one tried to run away. When we finally arrived. I would have to get used to it. who knows I long I would be in the concentration camp. and who you are with. Peter was in a different line.” a Nazi said. “We will arrive at the concentration camp in a while. I woke Anne and Hetty up and we all rushed outside to the toilets. some people got hurt. even if it meant we would be in a concentration camp. 21 . Anywhere would be better than this truck. We made our way over to the taps. But I didn’t leave the line. Everyone cheered up at this news. my stomach had started to hurt because I had drunk the water too fast. I went back to the end of the line with Anne and Hetty. he was standing exactly where I had told him to stand.
Quickly. He was the camp manager. I hurried with my sisters and Peter to the side of the truck. That’s where father said he was! He might be here. A very important looking person came up to us with some papers and a pen. we joined everyone else that was lining up. 22 . we might see him! I was so happy that I almost forgot what the Nazis had ordered.Concentration Camp Auschwitz concentration camp We were at Auschwitz concentration camp.
I am not sure whether they were labor camps or extermination camps. As soon as the manager left. everything was crammed in together. I asked a Nazi if he could stay with us. and I am from Amsterdam. I already felt awful. They took us to our room. There were also a few cupboards. I am eleven years old.” he explained. went to the first person in the line. Extermination camps? My father could be dead right now for all I know. also we hadn’t eaten anything the whole day other than the small piece of bread. the Nazis took over again and gave us new orders.” “What happened to your parents?” “My mother died and my father was sent away to a concentration camp seven months ago. he asked him the following questions. especially men have been transported to a different camp. 23 . he was only nine and quite small for his age. Peter had no difficulty answering but my sisters required my assistance. in a few months I will turn twelve. but there still is that small chance that he could’ve been sent to a labor camp and will survive. There was a room for males and a room for females.” Heil Hitler? What does that mean? The person the Nazis saluted. He asked my sisters and brothers the same questions. “My name is Jane Thompson. I hoped that Peter wouldn’t be separated from us. I dreaded how I would feel like in a few days. I am here with my two sisters and brother.Jane’s War The Nazis that were with us suddenly stood straight.” I replied. they saluted and said. Everyone was getting restless and I realized that we hadn’t been to the toilet since the morning and it was now late afternoon. it wasn’t very homely. how old are you? What is your name? Are you alone or with family? Where are you from? Soon it became my turn. The manager moved on to other people and I realized I barely breathed the whole time the manager was asking questions. and hungry and I hadn’t been at the camp for more than a few minutes. but many people. “He probably was here a few months ago. I think he may be here. “Heil Hitler.
Where would we wash ourselves and go to the toilet? Where do we wash our clothes? Where do we get our food from? I looked around for a friendly face to ask my questions. wash ourselves and our clothes. At night we could wear extra layers of clothing. There were only two pillows and two blankets for the four of us.” he replied. He was different from the other Nazis.Nastaran Amiri “He can stay with you but he will have to share a bunk bed with you and your sisters. I was very surprised. “Thank you.” he said while glancing behind at my sisters. Luckily the cupboard was close to our bunk bed. the beds were a bit small. I had many questions bugging me. I happily walked over to the cupboard and opened it. It turned out that they had been here for a while and were very experienced and friendly. where we went to the toilet. I walked over to them nervously and asked them. She took me to the wash rooms. I put in all our bags and they fit perfectly. He handed me a key and pointed out to one of the cupboards. 24 . this Nazi wasn’t as bad as the others. Maybe I could find that nice Nazi and ask him for some extra blankets and pillows. and the blankets are itchy and the pillows were really thin. Inside was small but enough for us. She was very friendly and during the time she was showing me around we became friends. I found a girl about my age and her mother and sister. can we also have one of the cupboards?” I asked pushing my luck. smiled and left. “You will receive one of the small cupboards and you will have to share it with your siblings. at least I assumed they were her family. Meanwhile I got my big coat from my bag and put in under the blanket. The girl showed me around. My sisters had become friends with her sisters and my brother had also found a new friend. I didn’t have to look for long.
On Saint Nicholas Day he makes sure all the kids receive extra food. She has been in the camp for seven months. he is also a close friend of Hitler. Her name was Rose and she used to live in Hamburg. He even gave her family extra blankets without hesitation.” She was very patient with my questions and was happy to answer. Surprisingly he is a fair person and doesn’t punish anyone without hearing them out. Her father also came with her family to the concentration camp but he had a weak heart and soon died. and that we didn’t have any adults to take care of us. We received a loaf of bread and some coffee every day. She also warned me to be careful because not all Nazis are nice. she had recently turned twelve. She then explained about the quantity of our rations and how often we would receive them. He basically runs the camp. Her mother heard and said that I should come straight to her if I had any problems. I told her about what happened to me. and why did the Nazis salute him and said “Heil Hitler. I asked Rose about that nice Nazi that I met earlier and she said that she hadn’t heard of him before and that he probably came with us from Amsterdam. the man the Nazis saluted was a very important person. and all the Nazis must follow his orders. 25 . I asked her who that man that asked us questions when we got off the truck was. most of them are cruel and will do horrible things if you don’t follow their orders.Rose I found out a lot about my new friend.
the bread is dry and the coffee tastes horrible but it’s better than nothing. Sometimes if you are lucky you get some butter, and on Sundays there’s soup. I asked her why there wasn’t any privacy in the toilets and wash rooms. She laughed, but in a friendly way and said that I would soon get used to it. She said not to wash our clothes too often because that’s all we have to survive on for a long time, and washing it too much could ruin them. Rose showed me a tap outside the washrooms and we all had a long drink from it. I spent a long time in the washrooms because I had hay in my hair from the truck and needed to wash it, or I would get hay on the bed. I desperately needed to use the toilet. I washed Anne and Hetty’s hair too, their hair was shorter than mine so it didn’t take very long. Peter was capable of taking care of himself in the other washroom and toilet. After we finished in the washroom, Rose helped me search for extra blankets and pillows. We found the manager and asked him for some, I was very nervous what if he says no? “Extra blankets and pillows? How many people do you have in your family and how many blankets do you many blankets and pillows do you currently have?” He didn’t seem to remember us from earlier on outside the truck. “There’s my two sisters and brother, and me, that’s four people and we only have two blankets and two pillows,” I answered feeling hopeful. “I’ll give you an extra pillow and two extra blankets,” he replied. He signaled for a Nazi to come forward. “Two blankets and a pillow,” he ordered. The Nazi glared at us and reluctantly went to the storeroom. A few minutes later he returned with a bundle. “Thank you very much,” I said to the manager. I took the bundle from the Nazi and quickly walked away. Everyone was getting tired so I quickly organized who would sleep where. Hetty was a little bit smaller than Anne so she shared the top bunk with me. I was on one end and she was on the other. Same with Peter and Anne except they were on the lower bunk and they only had one pillow. Anne used her coat as a pillow. I quickly fell into a deep sleep despite my hunger.
Life in the camp
The next day arrived soon, I woke up to find Hetty crying next to me. For a second I forgot where I was, and then I remembered, I asked Hetty what was wrong. “I’m hungry, thirsty and I need to go to the toilet!” She cried. “Hetty, it’s okay I’ll take you to the washrooms and to the tap, and later on you’ll get some bread and coffee,” I replied. We woke Anne and Peter up and together we went outside. We were stopped at the door by a Nazi. “Where are you going?” He asked, not in a very friendly way. “We are going to the washrooms and the tap to drink some water,” I replied feeling very nervous. He let us go. Luckily, the washrooms and toilets were not too full, there were only a few other people there. It was painful seeing them, it was clear that they had been in the camp for a long time. They were so skinny that they resembled skeletons, I didn’t want that to happen to me. I finished as fast as I could and ran out of there.
I was used to my own private bedroom and three meals a day with snacks in between. Life in the camp was going to be hard, I hope the war would finish soon and we could all go back home. It was close to the end of the year and next year it would be 1940, I heard some rumors that the war would go on for a long time. I hoped I wouldn’t be sent to the extermination camps. The hunger was one of the worst parts, everyday waking up to find no food and an empty stomach. At least there was a tap just outside the room, but the water was a bit warm. The nights were cold and Hetty cuddled up to me for warmth. Rose said that we were lucky, in some camps they didn’t even have blankets or pillows and their rations were even worse than ours. She said it’s because we have a nice manager, I was still puzzled about the manager and the nice Nazi. After we received some bread and coffee, I saw the manager and the nice Nazi together in the corner of the room, they were talking in hushed voices so we couldn’t decipher what they were talking about. There was something mysterious about this camp, why were we treated better than the other camps? Yes, the conditions here are bad but compared to other camps its luxury. I also noticed one of the Nazis staring at the manager and the nice Nazi, he was mostly glaring, the manager noticed and he moved away. I told Rose about it, and she agreed that it was suspicious. But we didn’t worry about for any longer, we had to take care of Rose’s sister and my siblings. Rose’s mother had to work in the kitchen from five in the morning till four in the afternoon. Sometimes she cut her hand and it would hurt for days, just like when I did the washing back home. Luckily I don’t have to work in the kitchens or do any labor, mainly because I have younger siblings to look after. The camp was also very boring, I don’t know what I would’ve done without Rose. We weren’t allowed to leave the room except to go to the washrooms or taps. The room that we were in consisted of twenty bunk beds, and fifteen cupboards. There were only forty beds and sixty people. All in the same room, so there wasn’t that much room to play in so we played on the bunk beds, climbing up and down, hanging down from the top bunk. Crawling under the bottom bunk. I hit my head numerous times but it was fun, but our fun soon came to an end. A Nazi saw what we were doing and told us off. So we were back
We sat on Rose’s bed and tried to think of something else to do. “So we have to think of a few other games to play. nothing to do. but we would have to be really careful so the Nazis wouldn’t stop us playing this game as well. I looked around at all the kids.” Rose said. 29 . “This corner can be our own private place. We found a small corner in the room and sat down in a circle. “We can sometimes play hide and seek in the room. It was hard to tell how old they were because they were all so skinny.” someone suggested. “What are we going to play?” One of the younger girls asked excitedly. we could make a play group and have a group of kids to play with. We went around the room recruiting members for our play group. mostly girls and a few boys.” I explained. There were five girls who looked about my age. three girls that were seven and three boys eight or nine. We got to work right away.” one of the boys replied. “We will all take turns keeping watch. Everyone was more than happy to join in. and if any Nazis come this way run off as fast as you can but in different directions. but we have to be very careful when we do.” Rose replied.Jane’s War to boredom. There were a few more kids our room. With more people it would be less boring! I told Rose and she thought it was a great idea. “For now let’s play hide and seek. Suddenly I had an idea. we are behind all the beds so it will be very hard for the Nazis to see us.
he’d do anything to bring them down. like why we were treated better than other camps. “The Nazis are starting to suspect something. “We already know a lot of information and maybe you can get in contact with Hitler again. we must get as much information as possible and leave. What were they talking about? What did they have to do with the resistance. What if the manager and nice Nazi are part of the resistance. or something. and looked through from the gap in the bed. so the chance of Rose looking there was scarce.The Truth Rose volunteered to be it. This was brilliant. Last time he gave us a lot of information. I sat as still as I could.” the nice Nazi replied. I had to tell Rose right away. and we all scattered in different directions to find a good hiding place. and why the nice Nazi was nice. That would explain a lot.” the manager said. it was on the far side of the room. I was about to move then I 30 . I heard some footsteps and I nearly fell over. the resistance was an anti-Nazi cooperation. you could tell him that you suspect some members of the resistance want to sabotage some of the factories where all the weapons are made. I could hear them perfectly and couldn’t help but listen. I soon found a bed that was close to the door. You know how he feels about the resistance. I soon saw the manager and the nice Nazi standing a few meters away.
I starting breathing normally again.” I couldn’t tell Rose now. We sat there for a long time in silence. I quickly realized that I must’ve been sitting there for at least half an hour or even longer. for now we would survive on the bread and coffee and the occasional soup. I faked a yawn. listening to our rumbling stomachs. That was enough to contend our all our stomachs for a while. “It’s okay Jane. I was so happy that there were people out there who are trying their best to stop the war and end this injustice. a few loaves of bread. After the manager and the Nazi. Everyone sat there in silence. I sat there for a while thinking about what I just heard. Yes! I fooled them.” I lied. feeling tired. Rose quickly got up and went out to her mother. some sugar. they really believed me. I don’t know how long I sat there deep in thought. but soon I heard someone calling my name. I fell asleep in my hiding spot. The game must’ve been long finished. apples and oranges. It would ruin everything and I wanted the war to be over as soon as possible. “I just hope that no one finds out who we really are. I quickly got up and ran over to the others. Hetty and Anne 31 .Jane’s War remembered that I was hiding and I couldn’t let the manager and the nice Nazi see me. not after what the manager said. “Rose. from now on we have to be extra careful and clean up after we do anything. it was starting to get uncomfortable on the hard floor. where are you?” Rose’s mother called out. or all our plans will fail. “Sorry. We all got up and followed her. or whoever he was left. I decided to use the food for emergencies only. that means the secret is safe. but I quickly put that thought away. It was just hide and seek but we played it on an empty stomach and that took all our energy from us. Feeling pleased I lead the others back to the secret corner as we had named it. If someone does find out I just hope they won’t tell anyone and they will keep the information to themselves. trying my best to look like I really was sleeping. All our hard work gone.” Rose replied. I remembered the food sitting in the cupboard. looking for you all together made the game even more fun.
There was a long line for the tap. and my . but I didn’t run I walked carefully watching where I was going. I soon realized there was a crowd watching. out of the corner of my eye I saw Anne and Hetty. I hated going in there. I was safe. They didn’t understand. “What did this little girl here do to deserve to be hit?” The manager asked the Nazi looking at him straight in the eye. . “Sorry. .” the manager told him off. .” The Nazi cut me off. “Now. I opened my eyes and saw the manager holding the Nazi. where she was going and bumped right into me. she . “I. It didn’t seem to affect Anne and Hetty like it did to me. they thought we were on a holiday.” the Nazi stammered. “That gives you no right to hit someone. he raised his arms clearly he was going to hit me. “Watch where you’re going! Why are you out of your room. now run along. be more careful from now on. I was more than happy than to run along. I screamed and waited for the blow but nothing happened. I just went to the washrooms. Maybe next time I won’t be around. surely it was an accident. . The manager must be a very important person to tell off a Nazi and get away with it. it had a really bad smell and seeing all those skinny people scared me. she wasn’t watching where she . I liked my body the way it was. I bumped right into a Nazi. I didn’t even wait for Anne and Hetty I was in such a rush that I didn’t watch where was I going. I’m sorry.” the Nazi stammered. I didn’t want to be like them. . I remembered my manners and thanked him.Nastaran Amiri needed to go to the toilet and Peter wanted a drink of water. 32 . . where’s your mother?” He yelled. so while Peter was waiting in the line we went in to washrooms and toilets. I didn’t want the same incident occurring again. He quickly walked away looking down. “I . I finished as fast as I could and ran out of there not wanting to be in there any longer. you don’t want to get into any more trouble. . .” he said. and aren’t you meant to be patrolling the camp making sure no one causes any trouble? Instead you’re walking around looking for innocent kids to hit.
She took my hand and led me away. she needs to rest. I thanked her but fell asleep before Rose returned with the water. and told Rose to go and get me a glass of water. she’s clearly traumatized. she helped me settle in on my bed.” Rose’s mother called out. “Leave the poor girl alone. 33 .Jane’s War When I went inside I was immediately surrounded by a group of people wanting to know exactly what happened.
After I came back from the washrooms I saw everyone in the secret corner. I slowly got up. then I found someone that I was sure no one would suspect. Suddenly I had a wonderful idea. 34 . Surprisingly Hetty didn’t wake me up. “How do we play spies?” One of the younger girls asked. Obviously we couldn’t play tag or anything that involved running around. Then all of you will run off.The Game The next day I woke up quite late. She gave me some coffee and bread that she saved for me. I walked around trying to decide who the spy should be. I found Hetty and Anne playing with Rose’s little sister. so that ruled out a lot of games. They were sitting there thinking about a new game to play. “I will choose someone to be the spy but no one else will know who.” I explained. the spy has to try and get to the door without anyone finding out who they really are. we could play spies! I told the others about my idea and they all agreed that it was a good idea. I told everyone to open their eyes and that I have chosen someone. I smiled and told everyone to find a spot. trying to see who the spy was. Everyone looked at each other. Everyone understood the game and I told them all to sit in a circle and close their eyes.
I am . no one paid attention to me. “I . then one of them called out a name.” she replied. . The Nazis stood there staring at everyone. it was a middle aged woman. . smiling. I chose myself. “I was the spy and I did choose someone. this time I let Hetty choose the spy. Rose began looking at me suspiciously and I stood there on the spot for a few minutes. I walked on the side to the door. “Jane were you the spy?” Someone asked. She soon started looking around again and I leaned against the wall. I’m Mary Thames.Jane’s War Then the game began. “Someone saw you stealing some carrots from the kitchens. . not as a group. I felt sorry for her she must be really scared now. . with the manager gone they could do anything. No one 35 .” a Nazi accused her. Everyone laughed and begged to play again. I didn’t steal anything. We were only a few minutes into the game when a group of Nazis walked in. you’re saying that I am a liar. She made her way to the front of the room right in front of the Nazis. I sprinted the last few steps and got to the door successfully. Everyone looked at me in surprise then the chattering began. “But you were going to choose someone.” the Nazi said.” I replied. I looked over to where the voice was coming from. I bet the Nazis planned this. no one ever saw her again. is there a Mary Thames here?” A Nazi asked. Then I found out that the manager was attending to some business outside the camp.” another person called out. I wondered why the manager wasn’t there to stop her. “I . Mary was silent. the Nazis lead her away. “So you are implying that I am lying.” someone stammered. . She was very skinny and had dark hair. . quickly we tried to act neutral and pretended we were doing something on our own. I walked towards the door. walking slowly. “Mary Thames.
I waited in line for the tap. I went back inside and lay on my bed. but there was only enough for Anne. I went up to my bed careful not to wake Hetty up. I woke up early the next morning and I saw one of the women that works in the kitchen standing by the door with a pile of bread and some coffee. we were all just too tired and hungry. Peter and Hetty returned with three pieces of bread each and a full cup of coffee. I saved the rest of the bread for another day. Suddenly I had a really good idea. there were two taps one for males and one for females. 36 . As usual I finished as fast as I could and got out of there. I soon fell asleep. The bread in the cupboard was very stale and that night we ate some bread and butter! It was a feast.Nastaran Amiri seemed to be surprised by this. I woke Hetty. The toilets were very crowded because everyone had just finished work for the day and were doing their washing. They probably have witnessed events like this countless times. plus nearly everyone needed to go to the toilet. No one wanted to play anymore. They were more than happy to go since they were really hungry. I stared at the bread in disbelief and stared at her. She winked at me and told me to run along. Anne and Peter up and told them to go and ask the lady at the door for some breakfast. I felt very selfish for not sharing it with everyone else. I decided to save a few for Rose and her family. She smiled at me. Anne must have acted extra cute and charmed the lady because she returned with a full cup of coffee and five pieces of bread and some butter! The pieces of bread were quite small so they wouldn’t last us for long. instead of it being half full it was filled to the top. Hetty Peter and me. washing themselves and their clothes. watching where I was going. Also a cup of coffee. the line for males was longer because there were many men in the camp. When it was my turn I took a long drink but was careful not to take too long. “Up early today?” She asked and handed me three pieces instead of just one. I devoured one piece of bread and a cup of coffee I was careful not to eat it too fast or I would get sick. I was very hungry so I ran over to the lady and asked for some bread and coffee.
I wasn’t expecting a present or anything. I pretended to have not heard and looked away. I hadn’t seen the manager and the nice Nazi talking together anymore. Like stop the war and focus on not getting caught. There were a lot of things to consider and I had a lot of time to think about them. why would Rose be talking to him? Maybe it had to do with my birthday? Probably not. The others were always huddled up planning what to about my birthday. where would they get a present from? They would probably sing me a song and let me be in charge of the games the whole day.The Birthday It was a few days left till my twelfth birthday and I saw the playgroup huddled together murmuring. I saw Rose talking to the manager and was surprised. With that happy thought I fell asleep. my birthday would have nothing to do with the manager. he has better things to do than get involved in it. maybe they were being extra careful and were only talking in the manager’s private office. my birthday. I had come to the conclusion that they really were spies. I immediately realized what they were talking about. Sometimes they would send someone over to keep me company. It was a really nice feeling knowing people care about you and will do anything to make you happy. The next few days leading up to my birthday were very exciting. I walked back to my bed excited about the surprise they were planning. I heard someone say my name and the word birthday. 37 . I pretended to occupy myself with washing clothes and mending some ripped clothing.
I went to the washrooms and toilets. and had some breakfast. Inside there was a beautiful shawl.Nastaran Amiri Finally it was the night before my birthday and I couldn’t sleep with all the excitement I was feeling. I opened it to find sweets and various types of food. I walked over to him and he gave me the package. when I reached it I saw everyone standing there and when they saw me they yelled. I thanked everyone and was presented with another box. I would share it with Anne and Hetty. I saw the manager standing at the back smiling. saving some for myself. I finally fell asleep and woke up late the next morning. I thanked him and opened it slowly not wanting to seem rude. 38 . It would keep me warm on the long winter nights. “Surprise!” They all ran over me to me and wished me happy birthday. That day we had a feast and we still had enough for the next day. I looked around for Rose or anyone else but I didn’t see anyone. he was holding a package and a box. Nothing exciting ever occurred in the camp so this was a big deal for me. Immediately I handed them out to everyone. where were they? I sat there for a while then I walked over to the secret corner. I sat on my bed confused.
” a Nazi announced. We were each handed a bar of soap and a piece of rag.The Unexpected Visitor Every day the play group would meet up in the secret corner and play. “Everyone and everything will be expected to be clean and presentable. We also continued playing the spy game and hide and seek. sitting or lying down on your bed for hours on an end. We were to wash ourselves. hairdressers and catch the thief which involved one person hiding and everyone else looking for them. “In a week’s time we will be having a visitor. I hadn’t used soap since the day we were taken away last year.” the Nazi continued. Everyone gasped. put on clean clothes and clean the room and washrooms and all the toilets. Those days were the worst. Adolf Hitler. Sometimes we wouldn’t meet up because it was too cold or too hot and no one had the energy to play. Then one day we had some Nazis come into the room with an announcement. As the months passed we would make up new games. Then they would be the first person hiding on the next round. for example doctors. the Nazis smiled cruelly and continued. when someone found the person who was hiding they would hide with them until there was only one person looking. I held the piece of soap like 39 . I was still mesmerized by the bar of soap in my hand.
any minute Hitler could have walked in. I hated him for destroying all those innocent lives. The next day when we woke up. locked. colder nights with less blankets. no more surprise birthdays. the camp wasn’t that bad. I hated that man for killing my mother and hurting my father and Hannah. I hated him for imprisoning us in this dreadful place. toilets and washrooms we cleaned ourselves. 40 . less rations. We soaked our pieces of rag in the water and scrubbed the floor. washed our faces. The toilets were the worst bit. the whole room froze. and toilets. we did not want to see the man who destroyed our lives and killed many people. what if he did something horrible to us? What if were sent to an extermination camp? What if Hitler found out the truth about the manager and the nice Nazi? What if he replaced the manager with a different person? Then our lives would really go downhill. I was happy about the soap and having something extra to do but I certainly was not happy with Hitler coming. He stared at us. quickly we remembered what the Nazis had told us. and those who didn’t have cupboards didn’t let it out of their sight. no one could sleep in terror. saluted him and said the words. we were given a few buckets and they were used to transport water from the tap to the room. I wish he would hurry up and leave. I couldn’t sleep at night. After we finished cleaning the room. No more fun and games. Very reluctantly we stood straight. He was probably coming to give us even more grief. combed our hair and waited in the room. We were all dreading his arrival. there was a big rush. Eventually he walked in. the beds. The dreaded day was getting closer and our anxiety increased. Using the piece of soap I washed my hair and scrubbed all the dirt from my body. we rushed to the washrooms.Nastaran Amiri it was gold. I took Peter’s. We couldn’t afford anyone stealing our soap. Anne’s and Hetty’s piece of soap and put them all in the cupboard. It took a long time because I hadn’t washed myself with soap in a very long time. I had to help Anne and Hetty with their hair. We set to work cleaning the room. After quickly eating something. “Heil Hitler. The waiting was horrible. the cupboards.” Hitler remained silent. everyone was protective about theirs. but with a different manager it will all change. luckily the kids didn’t have to clean the toilets only adults. staring at us like we were nothing but rubbish. I hated him for starving us and making us unhappy. The night of Hitler’s arrival was torture.
I was so relieved that Hitler was gone and we were safe. good thing we had all put in a big effort to clean the room. 41 . and he walked out quickly leaving us speechless. You couldn’t find one unhappy face the whole day. Once he was out of the earshot we all cheered and hugged each other. We were safe.” Hitler said. no one will be sent to an extermination camp from here.Jane’s War “This room is in good shape.
After the departure of Hitler everything was back to normal. No more need to be extra careful about everything you do since the manager was once again in charge. The play group continued to meet up in the secret corner and we played different games. During hide and seek I hid behind the bed that I had hidden before the first time we played hide and seek. Like last time I heard some footsteps but this time it wasn’t the manager and the nice Nazi. It was two Nazis, I kept still and listened to their conversation. “I am telling you, the manager and that nuisance Paul are really British spies, I overheard them talking. We have to somehow get the message across to Hitler, but we need some evidence. Hitler trusts that nuisance Paul and the manager. We can’t say anything without any evidence or we will get into trouble,” one of the two Nazis said. “Let’s talk to the others,” the other Nazi suggested. Oh no! I had to warn the manager and Paul, if I didn’t they would be killed and the chance of the war finishing sooner would be zero. I ran out and pretended to be going to the washroom but instead I looked around for either Paul or the manager. There weren’t any Nazis around so I ran a little bit further, quickly I spotted the manager. I ran over to him and quickly explained to him what happened.
“The Nazis know about you and who you really are, well two of them know but they are going to tell the others, they said that as soon as they gather some evidence they will tell Hitler,” I explained. “What do the Nazis know?” The manager asked looking confused. “They know that you and Paul are British spies,” I replied. “How do you know all of this?” The manager asked looking worried. “I accidently overheard you and Paul talking about it a while ago. Also, today I overheard the Nazis talking about how they knew you really were,” I replied. “Thank you for telling me, I suspected something like this happening. We already have a plane coming to pick us up from England, we will be leaving in a week. The plane will be making a lot of noise and will take a few minutes to land, we will need a diversion so we can get away safely, will you please help us?” The manager asked. “Of course, but can I please tell my friend Rose, she could help me. I don’t think I will be able to do it on my own,” I asked. I was really scared about what was about to happen, but also very happy to help stop the war and I didn’t have to lie to Rose anymore. “Go and get your friend and come to my office, if any Nazis try to stop you, tell them that I have asked to see you and bring them with you so I can confirm your story,” the manager ordered. I ran off in pursuit of Rose, I found her and quickly took her to the side. “Rose, now listen carefully and act natural. The manager and the nice Nazi are really British spies and the nice Nazi’s name is Paul. Some of the real Nazis know the truth so the manager and Paul need to get away as soon as possible. In a week’s time a plane will be coming to get them, they have asked us to help them get away by creating a diversion,” I explained. I stared at her face and I could see that she was surprised. Soon she stared at me in surprise. “Let’s go,” she replied enthusiastically.
We set off for the manager’s office which wasn’t too far away. We were stopped three times by Nazis, we told them the same story but they didn’t believe us, when we got to the office we had three Nazis trailing behind us. The manager welcomed us into his office and closed the door right in the Nazis face! “Hello, James here told me what you did, thank you very much. Also thank you for agreeing to help us, we’ll explain what you will need to do and when,” Paul said. I figured out that James must be the manager’s name. We waited for further instructions. “Next week on Monday night, at ten pm, you will go come to my office and grab some kerosene and matches. There’s a compost heap outside the kitchen and near where the Nazis sleep, pour some kerosene on to the compost heap then light it using the match. Get away from there as fast as you can and go to your bed,” James explained. It was a very good idea but dangerous too, if the Nazis find us it will mean instant death. I had a very important question to ask. “What do we do with the kerosene bottle and matches?” I asked. “Put them in the rubbish bins that are close to the compost bin,” Paul replied. The instructions were straightforward and within minutes we learnt them off by heart. At ten pm Monday night we were to go to James’ office and grab a kerosene bottle with a box of matches, go to the compost heap and light a fire, throw the kerosene bottle and box of matches in the bin. Run back to our beds as fast as we can and try not to get caught. It was easier said than done, it would take a lot of courage to complete it. What motivated me was the thought of maybe being reunited with my father and Hannah. Putting an end to the war, being able to go to school with my friends without anyone pointing at me and staring at the Star of David pinned to my shirt, like I was an animal at the zoo or circus. With those thoughts I ran through the plan in my head numerous times. I knew it like I knew my own name, I just hoped the Nazis wouldn’t do anything to destroy our plans.
so we played with our siblings. who knew when he would return? If we weren’t fast enough we would be in major trouble. we crept out of the room. it was freezing cold so I was wearing the shawl I got for my birthday. we didn’t encounter any Nazis as we made our way to James’ office. Outside was really dark and the night breeze blew my hair around. Rose’s mother was looking at us like she suspected that we were up to something. 45 . Instead we ran through the plan for the millionth time. I pointed them out to Rose.The Big Escape Before I knew it the big night arrived. Slowly the day came to an end and it was getting closer to ten pm. we didn’t even join in the game of spy that everyone was playing. Rose and I were nervous the entire day. A pile of rocks. I wasn’t sure what to do either. We would have to be quick getting the kerosene and matches. Unfortunately there was one standing outside James’ office! “What are we going to do?” Rose asked looking really worried. at first she didn’t see what I meant then slowly she realized. We were going to throw the rocks in a different direction so the Nazi would walk away to see what was out there. Slowly and carefully. then I saw what we were standing on. Fortunately. most people had already gone to sleep so our job was easier.
under the potted plant. As soon as we finished we got out of there. and ran all the way to our beds. “Last night we had we had a fire. We opened it and grabbed the kerosene and matches. I woke up to find everyone running around and some Nazis in the room were trying to get our attention. why would they suspect two little girls?” she asked. I asked her about it later. I hoped James’ and Paul got away safely and no one saw them. After a few minutes we heard the screams. Surprisingly her face was neutral and she didn’t seem worried at all. The next morning. I bet they will kill us on the spot. I was so scared.Nastaran Amiri We put our plan into action. he walked away clearly confused. The compost heap was really smelly and it took all our will not to hold our noses.” a Nazi said. There have been rumors that two prisoners helped them escaped and that the fire was a diversion. Rose poured the kerosene while I lit the compost heap. we were each given a piece of soap and a rag to clean ourselves and also the room. “Jane. he was expected to arrive in a week. He looked away and we continued. “Fire. they were right beside the door. As soon as he was gone we ran to the office and took the key out from where James said he left it. The Nazi looked around then decided where the direction of the sound was coming from. Quickly we got out of there and ran to the compost heap. I also hoped that the fire didn’t get too big and didn’t harm anyone but the Nazis. 46 . we ducked right on time. Like when Hitler came. we threw the rocks hard and they each made a thump as they fell. and our manager and a Nazi who wasn’t really a Nazi but a spy escaped. instead worried about what would happen to us when the new manager came. Also like last time. The screams soon died down so I figured that the fire was out. It took me forever falling asleep last night. That was what I was really afraid of. I glanced over to Rose trying to see her expression. There was a Nazi patrolling but he didn’t see us. fire! Help fire!” A Nazi yelled. what if both Rose and I get sent to an extermination camp. but we couldn’t hold our noses and start a fire at the same time. Rose had a point. what if they knew it was me. we all treasured our piece of soap and used a little amount to clean ourselves. Eventually everyone became silent and listened to what the Nazis had to say. and soon I stopped worrying about it.
same with the toilets. I felt sorry for whoever had to clean them. I could barely stay in there for a minute! 47 .Jane’s War The last time the room was cleaned was when Hitler had come. so a lot of dirt had gathered and it took a while to clean.
he didn’t come to inspect our room until the next day. like a curfew for the toilet. unlike Hitler he wasn’t silent.” the manager said.The Arrival The days leading up to the manager’s arrival was filled with anxiety. No one was willing to give up their piece of soap. We weren’t as tense as when Hitler had visited. and looked at the manager waiting for him to continue. but there were still a lot of nail biting going on. probably that old manager. and the manager arrived. “This room is in good shape so that means these people here are happy. He came during midday the next day. There will be many changes occurring here. The Nazis chuckled to themselves. To fill in the long hours of anxiety. I don’t know what idiot let the stay here. a wicked grin on his face. I’ll soon change that. Finally. “These boys will be taken to the other room. 48 . everyone pitched in to make the room even more spotless. it was hard because all we had were pieces of rag and some water.” he said. the day came. Was he going to be nice or mean? Would he treat us well? Will we get even less rations? What if we get sent to an extermination camp? Those questions stayed unanswered and our worries grew larger.
By now it was quite a list. When you go to the other room I want you to take care of yourself. I gave him some extra food. Sometimes I cried myself to sleep at night from the hunger. my husband is in the other room and I’ll make sure he looks after your brother. it was so small already. but I was happy that they were helping stop the war and hoped that they returned to England safely. Since it was Peter’s last night in the room. I had been in the camp for a very long time and I was as thin as a stick.” I said. It was from eight am to eight pm. Fortunately the amount of rations was not any less. Go to the toilet as soon as you need to because of the curfews. I didn’t listen. There was still some food in the cupboard from recent times and I gave some of it to Peter. What if someone needed to go during the night? Or they woke up early? The adults had to start work an hour earlier and finish two hours later than usual. washrooms and tap were not good. it would have been ruined if we hadn’t eaten it. After he left I went over to Peter who was with a friend. Anne and Hetty were now eight years old but they looked like five year olds from not having enough to eat and lack of protein and many other things. Were father and Hannah alright? Will the war end soon? What if we get sent to an extermination camp? Will we get even less rations? Would the Nazis find out it was Rose and I who helped Paul and James get away? 49 . To make matters worse the curfew for the toilet. “You don’t have to worry. it was painful looking at my stomach. his friend’s mother didn’t seem too worried about her son being moved to the other room. Luckily there was a small toilet in the kitchens and they had access to it. what if he gets picked on? What if people steal his rations? These thoughts worried me as the manager kept talking. I don’t know how it could be any less. worrying about him was also added to my list of things to worry about. It was harder with Peter gone. “Peter.” Peter’s friend’s mother assured me. make sure no one gets your rations and you drink enough water.Jane’s War This was horrible! Peter didn’t know how to fend for himself. I wished James and Paul were still here. listen carefully. The food we had brought with us from Amsterdam was long gone.
The smell in the toilets was getting worse by the day. my clothes fit me.Nastaran Amiri The only good thing about being as thin as a stick was I didn’t have to worry about clothes. Since I wasn’t growing. and continued sulking the entire night. There was a bucket in the corner of the room and she very reluctantly used it. to tie around our noses and mouth when we went to the toilet. well they were a few sizes too big for me now since I lost a lot of weight. soon everyone used the piece of rag that we had gotten when the manager arrived. 50 . They were most likely transported here on a cattle car. One night Hetty had to go to the toilet but it was past the curfew. there were some people that had to beg on their knees to recieve some new clothes and all they got was this ugly striped shirt and pants which smelt like cattle. But at least I had clothes.
the rumors were true. even worse my siblings being sent there. I lived in fear of being sent to an extermination camp. Hitler was more powerful than ever. I soon got used to the new rules and curfews. I heard many kids had already died in the gas chambers. I had heard that the extermination camps were awful and the gas chambers were the worst bits. only adults. What I didn’t get used to was not seeing my brother anymore. I wondered how he was coping and Betty (Peter’s friend’s mother) said that she sometimes saw her husband on the way to the kitchens and he briefly told her that Peter was fine and had made many new friends. a few Nazis came into the room late in the afternoon.Constant Fear A few months passed since the arrival of the manager. and the Germans had now taken over many countries. There were some rumors that the manager would be selecting fifty people to be sent to an extermination camp. As usual they spent about thirty seconds glaring at us like we were a waste of space then they made the announcement. Rose’s mother said that she was sure kids wouldn’t be sent there. I wasn’t so sure. I had been in the camp for over a year and the war didn’t seem to be finishing anytime soon. Unfortunately. 51 .
it would put an end to my misery.” a Nazi said The whole room was silent as they took in the information. The women who baked me cookies and cake. The night before the awful day which will destroy many lives. I had already lost my mother and maybe my father. and no one managed to get enough sleep. The night was filled with endless tears. I had nightmares about the gas chambers. Their crying and yelling caught the attention of some of the smaller kids and soon the whole room was filled with howling. I would wake up and find myself crying. but I still worried about being sent to an extermination camp. Some people were even screaming and yelling in their sleep. they left and we continued sulking and crying. Luckily that didn’t happen. I spent the night thinking. no one managed to get a lot of sleep and during the day everyone was solemn. I wasn’t the only one. It seemed they were born to torment innocent people who had done nothing wrong. the Nazis seemed to enjoy our sad faces and continued looking at us. I had run out of tears and didn’t have the energy to continue.Nastaran Amiri “Later in the week the manager will be selecting sixty people to go to the camp. I had seen her sprawled on the fall dying. It would put an end to my misery. Twenty people? It could be anyone of us. Fortunately. It took a long time for the room to once again be silent. I don’t know what they had against us and why there feelings for us where so negative. twenty of them will be from this room. crying. The packing didn’t take too long since we barely had any possessions. Anne and Hetty were very good at it since they had a lot of experience. I was afraid the Nazis would come and takes us away straight to the gas chambers for all the noise that was made. tucked me in bed at night when my mother was busy. I thought about it for a while longer than decided it wouldn’t be good to die in an extermination camp. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad dying in an extermination camp. 52 . Let me cry all over her shirt when I was hurt. yelling and many different forms of tantrum. I saw my father and mother yelling my name as I slowly and painfully died. It would be awful if any of my siblings were chosen. but how would Anne and Hetty survive without me? What about Peter? If the war finished what would happen to them if I was dead? They would need me to take them home and help them start a new life. was spent crying and packing in case we were chosen.
After a few minutes of silence. Shayna Kemp. some loaves of bread. Marie Martin. the tears fell and the yelling began. A gave a piece of carrot to both Anne and Hetty. reluctantly I got up and waited. I walked extra slowly and saw a group of men outside the male’s room. They wouldn’t need them since they were going to die anyway. “Sarah James. I nearly fell off my bed when the manager himself with a group of Nazis walked in. Melanie Martin. Rachel Greenberg. carrots. but the constant fear ended. Then I realized that Peter might have been chosen! I ran outside pretending to go to the washroom. this time for much longer. Mandy Wagner. Without saying anything. she must have stolen the food. Laura Martin. 53 . I wish Peter was here. Naomi Silver. Two small girls were also chosen to go the extermination camps. sugar. I was relieved but also sad. Eliza Levi. They all left.” Then he left. Those who were leaving gave their cupboard keys and bags to other people. Eliana Cohen. you will be leaving in half an hour. Julia Weaver. I received another cupboard and a bag that had an extra pair of clothing. I managed to sit on my bed for five minutes then I needed to go to the toilet and have something to eat. their mothers were going with them too. he began reading out a list of names. After that I waited. I walked back inside to the howling. leaving behind a room full of sorrowful people. Karolin Wagner. Talia Kogen. I unpacked our bags and spread them out in the two small cupboards. and my siblings were also safe. Keren Miller.Jane’s War Soon. the day arrived. a hair brush and soap. Sophie Engel. I looked at them all carefully but didn’t see Peter. Anna Weaver. Relieved. Esther Gold. The women that gave it to me worked in the kitchen. the room was still sorrowful. he would’ve loved having a carrot. relieved because I wasn’t going to be sent to an extermination camp. Ruth Kane. Andrea Kogen. Maya Krantz. I ate a small piece myself.
May. 1942 .
To be free. I tried to stop thinking about them but they would come back and haunt me. There was a lot of illness during the long months of winter and a few people died. The ceiling was very dull and reminded me of the bad memories. It was 1942 and in a few months’ time I will be turning fourteen. my siblings were fine. I could endure the long harsh hours if it would mean I could be occupied.When Will It End? The year soon came to an end. I had only seen two glimpses of Peter since he was taken away. Every night I would see the 57 . I knew Peter was fine because Betty told me she saw him and he was perfectly fine. The Nazi laughed cruelly and said how can a tiny thing like me could work in the kitchens. Fortunately. stare up at the sky and enjoy the blueness of it. To be able to walk down the street without being treated like a criminal. The play group stopped playing since no one had any energy left. since our clothes had holes in them. but the war wasn’t any closer to being finished. I spent most of the day lying on my bed staring at the ceiling. We had all received the striped pajamas. I still wore my shawl at night. A while ago I asked a Nazi if I could work in the kitchens. and Peter was eleven. Life at camp was as bad as always and conditions didn’t improve. Every day I would dream of being free and being able to smell the roses again. and it was a big comfort having some color in a room full of dull colors. Anne and Hetty were nearly 9.
Maybe there would be other spies at the new camp. With new hope I managed to endure the next few weeks. No one else was sent to extermination camps. dying. in spring I would enjoy endless hours of lying on the grass enjoying the beautiful roses blossoming in the wonderful weather. but there was talk of sending some people away to other labor camps. I didn’t talk to Rose as much anymore because there was nothing to say. Sometimes I thought of my swing back home and wondered if I would ever sit on it again. I had been in the dreadful camp for about two and a half years. during winter I would battle it out with my siblings in a war of snowballs. the figure of my father as he dies in pain. In summer I would enjoy delicious ice cream in the yard. the conditions at other camps couldn’t be worse than the conditions here but it would mean spending a long time on the cattle cars. Hannah sprawled on the floor. I stopped caring about the lack of food. I was still familiar with every detail of the yard and continued to dream about it. but I also didn’t want to spend another second at this dreadful camp. These images caused me a lot of pain. 58 . I gave half a spoonful of sugar to Anne and Hetty every day to give them some energy. I wanted to her to hold me in her arms and tell me that I would be fine and all the pain and misery would go away. and the conditions there would be better. It was getting closer to my fourteenth birthday. I wouldn’t mind being sent away. so we were back to sharing bunks and minimal storage area. The longest discussion we had all year was when forty new prisoners arrived to replace all those that were sent to the extermination camp. I didn’t want to spend another second on those dreadful things.Nastaran Amiri ghost of my dead mother. in autumn I enjoyed raking the beautiful leaves the season brought us. Sometimes I wished to die so maybe I could be reunited with my mother. Fifteen of them were in our room.
I gave all my attention to them as they read out the names. It couldn’t be any worse than this camp. Hetty Thompson. Claire Ammons.” We were going! Finally getting out of this dump! Although it would mean going to another dump. and maybe I would see father! The worst that would happen was I would die of boredom and lack of space in the cattle car. we had Nazis come in the room to give us new notifications. Martha Abbott. Betty Barnes. I ran outside and pretended to be going to the toilet. Theresa Smith. Tanya Lattimore. I looked at all the people outside carefully and 59 . Loraine Shayne. Danielle Thomas. Katy Adams. what if Peter hadn’t been chosen? Like last time. I hope I will be chosen to go. Pattie Shayne. but not without my siblings. Jade Penton. Jane Thompson. Then a thought came to me. Alana Harold. Two days later the Nazis returned with the list of the people who will be leaving. The Nazis said the camp would be another labor camp. “Marrisa Fern. Angeline Colby. The Nazis had been to the male rooms to read out the list long before they had come to us. Instead I walked extra slowly and looked over to the outside of the male rooms.Transition The rumors proved to be true and a few weeks later. Anne Thompson. Eleanor Stan. Heidi James. Eighteen people from our room will be sent to a different concentration camp. Ruby Meyer. Katherine Page.
Soon everyone else made their way outside. Since I was already outside. I went to the toilet because I might not have another chance until a long time. He looked healthy and that made me very happy. but there was no other alternative. The past year was the worst. and others sad because they were leaving behind people they cared about. I was horrified when he so calmly told me about all the fights. we never saw them again. As I we went on board I saw Peter sitting on a pile of hay. sometimes a fight would break out and the Nazis would come and take the men away. After our goodbyes were over. the first two years at the camp would have been even more horrible and dreary. Fortunately. the Nazis said that we were going to be in the cattle car for two hours then we will board a train for the rest of the day and some of the night. “It was okay. Hetty and I asked about his stay in the other room. Anne. we were all weak and no one had any energy to have fun and play. That was enough time to say goodbye to Rose and her family.” he said. we made our way to the toilets. I eventually went back inside to pack. The water was even worse than usual and tasted horrible. On the train will only be stopping once for water and the toilet and will receive one loaf of bread at night. he was standing outside with a bag in his hand. After they came out we all took a long drink from the water tap.Nastaran Amiri tried to see if Peter was there. Without her. The Nazis checked if everyone was there and begrudgingly lead us to the truck. I had to go back inside because the Nazis were heading towards the door and I didn’t really think I was even supposed to be outside. I was always hungry but I drank a lot of water and that helped. I waited outside with our three small bags while Anne and Hetty were inside. she was a good friend to me and helped me start the playgroup. I figured we would have about half an hour. Also to pack and make sure Anne and Hetty went to the toilet. What if he got hurt? He assured me he didn’t get involved in the fights and hid on his bed when they did occur. I played with some of the boys but sometimes I was too tired. Saying goodbye to Rose was hard. The packing wouldn’t take long since we didn’t own much. and the women that gave us extra bread. Rose told me when I had left. He then started talking to Anne and Hetty. 60 . some happy because they were leaving the camp.
but he did his best to hide it. laughed and played during the ride. but soon the Nazis got drunk and didn’t pay attention to us. We had to be really quite and cautious. It was a bit scary at first then we took advantage of it and the kids played games while the adults talked and caught up with each other.Jane’s War I could see Peter was surprised at how tiny they both were. 61 . We talked.
Another game we made up was. We were going to be on the train for a long time so we needed to think of something to do. we all took turns drinking from the tap. This train was used to transport cattle before the war. Someone had stepped on it. There was even manure on some piles of hay! The piles of hay would have been comfortable to lean on. this games involved guessing which hand had the piece of hay in it. The rest of us would be sitting on the floor. The Nazis were drunk again and didn’t pay the slightest bit of attention to us. Hay weaving.The Train Ride Soon we came to the train station. The smell was so fetid that it made breathing hard. this involved making a figure out of the hay and whacking it. and it wasn’t pretty. that would be quiet and if the Nazis got drunk again we could be loud and play fun games. this was really fun and Anne was very good at it. Inside was horrible. in this game we used pieces of hay to weave a pattern. this was very nice but what about toilet breaks and bread? I hoped there was some other 62 . we all got of the truck but the Nazis took a long time. while we waited. but no one wanted to risk getting in contact with the manure. In the end we made up a few games. there were a few comfortable seats where the Nazis would sit. They were still drunk. Finally the Nazis got out of the truck and we boarded the train. Guess which hand. it was a mixture of cows and horses. even some of the adults participated. Whack the Nazi. It was very enjoyable and made everyone feel better.
I wondered why. if you are over fifteen you will be expected to do labor. The bread was stale and a bit burnt but to me it was like a bar of chocolate. despite my thirstiness. as much as I was enjoying the Nazis not paying any attention to us. He asked us what happened and what was wrong with the Nazis. The Nazis were not as drunk but still were not in a fit state to take charge. Hetty and Peter were doing the same. protecting it from the horrid smells. “I am from Buchenwald Concentration Camp. The people before me didn’t take long and after they finished they looked like they had just swallowed a worm. First we all spent an hour eating our small piece of bread. from another part of the train an important looking person came. the important looking person who let us out of the train took charge. We cherished it and didn’t want it to finish. Eventually. There wasn’t anywhere I could go. we stood there for about ten minutes then it was time to board the train. My feet hurt since I wasn’t wearing shoes. they wouldn’t even touch it.Jane’s War person in charge that wasn’t currently drunk. but I doubted a fight would break out. The toilets smelled even worse than the toilets at the camp. but to people who have never been in a concentration camp. the camp is a Labor camp. no one was. It was delicious to me. at least I hoped it was mud. rush meaning walking a little bit faster than usual. Everyone rushed to the toilets. The water was horrible! I had a feeling it wasn’t really water and it came from the toilet. I ate a crumb at a time. I guess he was smart because he didn’t try to get the Nazis under control. The train station had two different toilet rooms. the Nazi from our new camp took the other Nazis to a different carriage and we were alone. I felt really sick and felt like throwing up. I finished as fast as I could and got out of there to once again breathe normally. soon it was my turn and I realized why. Like the toilet at the camp. they might have gone violent if he did. and there was mud on the floor. We were in the train for a few more hours. Anne. male and female and two water taps. Everyone was really tired and no one had the energy to fight. luckily I didn’t. I knew that we needed them. I got into the line for the tap and patiently waited. Without waiting for an answer he worked it out himself. 63 . so I stood their holding my nose.” he explained. I tried to get as far as I could from the toilet and the horrible tap. What if a fight broke out? Who would stop it? Someone or many people could get really injured. The train came to a stop and we all got off slowly.
Buchenwald Concentration Camp We arrived at the camp. At first I was mumbling. like last time a manager came and made sure everyone was here. Unlike last time the manager wasn’t very nice. My voice was trembling. I was very nervous. then he screamed at me to speak up. The manager asked us questions. When he got to us. but I managed to get 64 . same as last time. There were less people this time so it didn’t take very long.
It was a little bit like the other camp. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I was very happy once I heard the news. female room. legs and arms were so thin I could hardly look at them. this way I could see Peter on a regular basis. next time I would wear a small piece of cloth around my nose. male toilet. Except the rooms were not so far apart and there was a small area where we were allowed to go out to for fresh air. We walked for another two minutes then stopped at a grey building identical to the other buildings. The manager moved on to the next person. their stomachs. The room had about sixteen bunk beds. I stopped thinking about it and continued looking around the room. and the people in it broke my heart. Anne and Hetty didn’t mind the smell and ventured in there. I could see they were treated very badly. We walked through the camp passing a kitchen. male room.Jane’s War through all the questions. and climbed to the top putting our three small bags there. I hadn’t really seen any other part of the Auschwitz camp other than the toilets and the room I slept in. It was probably too much to expect. the beds had a thin. There were no cupboards in the room so we would have to store our bags at the end of the bed. There was a lot of dirt everywhere and the camp was not very clean. Outside there was a washroom with the toilet and another small tap. There was a small tap at the back of the room which would be very convenient. I walked to an empty bunk. The camp was different from the previous one. There were about eight other people after us and after ten minutes the questions were over. a toilet block. Their faces were filled with sorrow. The manager left. The nights would be long and cold. There was a building that had a sign saying hospital. The toilets were very small and smelt HORRIBLE! I ran out of there gasping for breath. 65 . and a few big rooms. then the Nazis walked away and we followed them. Instead I turned my attention to the contents of the room. they were even more skinner than us. winter was coming up and I was sure no one could go through the long. I wondered if it was only for Nazis or if we could use it too? I hoped we would have access to it too. How were we supposed to survive winter? The long and harsh months were filled with sickness and torture. We entered the room. grey blanket and no pillow. harsh months of coldness without being sick at least once. it was smaller or maybe I was wrong. and female toilet.
I made one of them into a lice brush. since the only way we could wash our hair was in the washrooms with many other people. covering my nose and some of my mouth. there were two other people on the bottom bunk. I imagined devouring them one after another. The smell of the toilets was awful and although I got used to it. cake and biscuits hot from the oven. which I would use to carefully go through hair and remove lice. Maybe I would find some sort of treasure and we would be rich. I thought about what would happen if the war was over. I didn’t dare venture in without wrapping the cloth around my head. if something had happened to him during the last few years we would be homeless. we got accustomed to the camp’s system. We had two brushes between us. 66 . Maybe we could find a new home and have enough food and money. The thoughts made me even hungrier so I stopped. and I continued my daily ritual of lying on my bed staring at the ceiling. Lice was a major problem. We would receive our rations at midday.Surviving Soon. The other one was for general use. They were friendly and sometimes helped us brush our hair and get rid of lice. Anne and Hetty now shared the top bunk with me. Straight away I would try and find father. chocolate. I thought about all the ice-cream. it was very easy to get lice.
I had seen her looking at my shawl a few times. but the next day they seemed to have forgotten about it. The best way to die would be getting shot. I stored in in an empty coffee cup. I heard some screaming. The Nazis had either caught someone stealing from the kitchens or storage rooms. We had put our bags under the bed where there was a little bit of space. Everyone continued what they were doing as if nothing had occurred. I could only see him for a few minutes at a time. There was a women hanging around our bunk a lot. Anne and Hetty had nightmare the night we heard the screaming. on the third day it smelled like coffee but I enjoyed every bite. I heard they had various ways of torturing their victims. I was very careful with it and I always had it with me. I had seen Peter a few times a week outside in the small clearing. One day we received a blanket and a potato! One.Jane’s War The bed was very crowded. They would spend a while physically hurting them then they would lock them up in dark. The screaming went on for another fifteen minutes then there was silence. Slowly they would die a painful death. what would she be doing near our bunk. I made my potato last for three days. cold. One day I as I was staring at the ceiling. I felt sorry for the person screaming. it was like we weren’t worthy of the toilets. I was extra careful 67 . Her bunk was on the other side of the room. I had seen some people looking at it greedily. Once a fight had broken out because someone had stolen another person’s loaf of bread. this time wondering what it was made of and how. and at night I had feet near my mouth and arms slapping me during the night. Then one of the ladies that had been at the camp for a while said that the screaming was normal. Bite meaning a small peck of the potato. The Nazis would glare at anyone who came outside the room. At first I thought it was coming from outside and was about to run out. Also the extra blanket could make the cold nights more bearable. whole potato for each person. Peter seemed healthy and he said there were not many people in the male room so he had a whole bed and blanket to himself! I was so happy for him. Anne and Hetty took turns wearing my shawl during the night. I had witnessed many awful things but this had me in shock for days on an end. and nearly fell off the bed. and very small rooms. Or they had caught someone trying to escape. I had a feeling the Red Cross had something to do with it. that was one thing I could take of my worry list. the Nazis were probably torturing him or her. Then I realized.
Hetty or me were at the top at all times. I took the bags from under the bed and placed them at the top. and was envious of my shawl. I could see she disliked me. 68 . I made sure either. Anne. Soon she saw that there was no way she could steal anything so she went back to her bunk. I made sure to stay away from her.Nastaran Amiri with it and wrapped it around my self tightly.
and Hitler’s power was weakening. Next week I would be turning fourteen. They wanted us to react to their glaring and to say something. nearly twelve. The French Resistance had been helping spies escape. I wished we could play Whack the Nazi again but there was 69 .Anxiety Everyone was getting restless. I was envious of Anne and Hetty. I had fended for myself the past few years. so he also had to fend for himself. This information would help the other side. By now the dirty looks the Nazis gave were very normal for everyone. We just ignored them and soon they would get bored and walk away. blankets. letting them take valuable information back to their country. they would glare at us while we devoured food. there had been rumors that the Germans were losing the war. Also there was new hope. without anyone to look after me. Every time we received something extra the Nazis would be in a bad mood. That way they could torture us and make our lives even more miserable for being disrespectful. they had me to take care of them. The conditions were slightly better. and some extra food. we now received soup on a regular basis. I had been taken away when I was eleven. and that would help us! The Red Cross were also trying their best and giving prisoners in camps. Peter was alone in the male room. we had been prisoners for too long.
” a Nazi replied. it would give me something to do. even though she wanted to steal my shawl.Nastaran Amiri nothing we could use to make one and we would get caught if we played it. “The manager would like to see you. 70 . and the Nazis were laughing. Or at least the Nazis said she did. I’m Katherine Miller. I wondered what was happening to Katherine now. Instead I imagined it. “What’s happening outside?” Anne asked.” she replied. I didn’t want to spend all day in a smelly kitchen peeling potatoes. . As I was thinking about everything. On the other hand. and like Mary that was the last anyone saw of her. a group of Nazis stormed in. leaving me and the ceiling alone. this gave me great joy and cheered me up immensely. and that hardly qualifies as a crime. “Katherine Miller. As usual. They lead her away. I didn’t know why so many Nazis were needed to lead one frail woman away. It was so sad and cruel I couldn’t watch any longer. the images that came into my head were horrible. is Katherine Miller here?” Katherine Miller! She was the women who wanted to steal my shawl! I wonder what the Nazis wanted with her. All he probably did was eat a loaf of bread or something. . Perhaps they wanted to seem powerful. The Nazis were having a lot of fun today to my dismay. I think that was her name. I ran back inside. shouting a name. This was like the time with Mary. stole the carrots from the kitchens. or they would just go away and leaves us alone. first Katherine. Next year if the war wasn’t over I would have to begin doing labor. The ceiling was boring and I was sure there were more interesting things in the kitchen to stare at. “I . now they were busy torturing an innocent man. everyone went back to what they were doing. The Nazis smiled among themselves. I stepped outside and immediately wished I hadn’t. I felt sorry for Katherine. I wish someone would teach the Nazis a lesson. The man was screaming in agony. I quickly stopped thinking about it and decided to go out for some fresh air.
you too Hetty. “Peter! You must go inside now! Peter?” He stayed motionless. and then walked slowly and carefully so no one would pay any attention to me. PETER. His face was pale and he stood as still as a rock. The memory of that horrible day stayed in everyone’s minds for a long time. Then a terrible thought came to my head. I stayed outside a few more minutes to make sure he stayed inside.” I replied. I didn’t want to add this to the list. I tried not to look the poor man. now unconscious on the floor. A few seconds later he snapped out of it. I looked around for Peter and saw him standing in a corner. What if he was out there? What if the Nazis dragged him into it? I ran outside. the Nazis were still there laughing. I made him go back inside and told him to stay on his bed until all the commotion was over. I didn’t want them to see what the Nazis were doing. They were too young and they had also witnessed many terrible things. It was only a few minutes but it felt like hours. 71 . I ran over to him. promise me Anne. he was in shock.Jane’s War “You must not go out there until I tell you.
After the spy died. he was part of the French Resistance. Someone had even attempted to kill Hitler! Obviously that got him nowhere. but it only lasted a few days. Fortunately Anne. it was horrible. I was the unlucky one. Peter had a cold. Hetty would force feed me some soup and pieces of bread. although we had a few friendly visits from the Red Cross. Hetty wished she was sick instead of us. Anne and Hetty received a blanket to share and Peter got two potatoes. a slow and painful death. I was sick for weeks. The rations stayed the same. Hetty and Peter were safe. In the end all it did was making the area smell. I couldn’t even go to the toilet. The nights were as insufferable as ever and many people died. I feel sorry for him. I could barely move my hand. and poor Hetty was the one who had to empty it. 72 . Anne helped her as soon as she got better. he was left to rot in a small and dark prison cell for a week. I guess it was their way of warning everyone to behave. and the Nazis had to take the body down. I bet by the end of it.Progress Once again winter arrived and the days became and shorter and nights longer. they hung him up on display for public. We heard rumors that Germany was losing the war and the English soldiers were gaining a lot of power. instead I used a bucket. Anne was sick in bed for a week.
There were a few cases of head lice going around. At least I had a few more years of peace before the war. I hope that means that the war will be over soon. Since the Germans are losing power. That pleases me. My dreams are pleasant and I have a good time. others died from the cold. it’s about time the war ended. Hetty and Peter. Surprised I haven’t died from the hunger. if I am lucky. accidently getting in a Nazis way.Jane’s War On the other hand. it is very nice knowing there are people out there. They had a horrible childhood and they spent it all in a concentration camp. mainly because she had longer hair. Stealing a small loaf of bread. It gives me a chance to escape from my worries and have a peaceful time. they need it more than me. Anne’s hair was in a worst state than others. or even breathing too loudly! I am surprised that I have survived all this time. Concentration camps are not the best place to grow up. Sleeping. I used only a small amount of soap. I give it to Anne and Hetty. they missed out on a lot. Sometimes I dream. If we survive the war. 73 . He has found a new friend and is getting along well. and I am nearly 15 fifteen years old. It’s now 1944. In a dark and small prison cell. our room has been emptier. I managed to see glimpses of Peter every day. Anne cut her hair really short but refused to shave it. Some of the men have taken liking to him and look out for him. willing to risk their lives for you. I have found a new hobby. A few prisoners attempted to escape. The Nazis are always finding new ways to kill people. Anne and Hetty spend their time playing with each other’s hair. Then I come plunging down to reality and the moment is ruined. left to rot away. I haven’t had a full stomach for about four years now! Even when we are lucky and on the rare occasion when we get an extra loaf of bread. Most people had their hair shaved off. Over the last few months. leaving the rest for another occasion. we all know where that got them. I can get a few words in too. It took a while to get everyone’s hair completely lice free. I’ve been a prisoner since 1939. I feel sorry for Anne. or a full cup of coffee. a few people were sent to extermination camps. we will have memories that will haunt us for the rest of our lives. Everyone received some soap and a special brush used to separate the lice from hair. at least I don’t have to worry about him.
I missed the sweets and presents. when all the kids get sweets and many delicious things. Those days were the best couple of days during all the years we were in the camp. Now. I made sure mine lasted for a few days. that was one of the other reasons why it was so good. and the delicious dinner. However.Nastaran Amiri I missed celebrating Hanukah. missing out on everything. It was depressing. Everyone would forget about their worries and had a brilliant time. on Saint Nicholas Day. Around that time of year. I have forgotten what Hanukah even is. Bringing boxes of sweets with them! In order for everyone to get some we each received a handful of sweets. singing and playing. our house would be filled with the aroma of the delicious food Hannah cooked. There would be happy voices. I missed being around my friends and family. 74 . the Red Cross came for a visit. The Nazis hated seeing us happy and were miserable during Saint Nicholas day. Most of all.
April. 1945 .
Everyone except the Nazis. . Their army was larger and stronger than before. every day I waited for news of their arrival. Someone had found a radio and the news we heard was. there was a BANG! We all ran out of the room to see what was happening. we weren’t allowed to go after 4 pm. the radio shattered to pieces. One day. They were more strict than ever. Instead they gave us a few buckets. We heard cheering coming from the other side of the camp and realized the British Soldiers had arrived. 77 . They were not very pleased with the news. After a few minutes it came to me. The put extra barriers around the camp and many new weapons arrived. Germany didn’t stand a chance against them now. . and tears of joy. The Nazis were running out with guns. There was silence for a few seconds. During the last couple of months everyone was filled with anxiety.VICTORY! Many months passed. and there was new hope. The curfews for the toilet was even worse now. “The British Army have arrived and overthrown the German Army. The war is over . The British Army were advancing towards Germany. then screaming.” The man holding the radio dropped it. as everyone was sleeping. That made the room smell even worse than usual. we all wondered why.
The babies were in tears. I was so happy. “We are sending all the kids who don’t have adults with them to Hamburg. Hetty and Peter off too. I walked over to them and gave our names. There were a few babies and the rest were older.” the soldier replied. I needed to find out if father and Hannah were still alive. Hetty and some of their friends went to the kitchen. over there you can ask the Red Cross about your father. even thought it was only half a day of traveling.Nastaran Amiri WE WERE FREE! I stared crying and that set Anne. I don’t think anyone had the energy to travel to Hamburg. missing and realized they were the kids that were either orphaned or separated from their parents. It didn’t take too long to clean up the babies and feed everyone. then took one of the babies. There were two girls my age. then walked away. “When will the Red Cross arrive?” I asked anxiously. the soldiers took us over to a small building. Peter and his friends found clean pieces of cloth in the storage room. we used them as diapers. and a few boys were Peter’s age.” I asked hopefully. maybe after a few days. we were FREE! All my worries were over. the soldiers located empty bottles. “They are currently very busy. no more starvation or stinky toilets! I could be reunited with my father! Someone had broken into the store room and was handing out food. and a few soldiers asking them questions. As soon as the babies fell asleep. I heard the word dead. I walked over to one of the soldiers. I am not sure if he is still alive. they were mostly likely hungry or had wet themselves. The other older girls joined in. There was a group of kids in a corner. until then you will have a chance to rest” the soldier replied. It seemed like a good idea. and a few seven to nine year old girls. “Excuse me. who else would take care of the babies? Anne. We went and helped ourselves. they found some milk and warmed it up on the stove. It 78 . The soldiers were going around helping people. I soon realized that we needed help. smiling. I was just wondering if it’s possible if I can locate my father.
and many other facilities. There was talk of museums and exhibitions. It was fun taking care of them. obviously Peter had broken in the Nazi’s private storage room. we heard on the radio that photographs. our stomachs were weak from being neglected the past few years. Consequently ruining houses. That ruled out a lot of possibilities. they returned with a large amount of food. Before we could run. During our wait for the Red Cross. they giggled when we changed their diapers. There wasn’t enough food since the shops had been bombed. 79 . A photographer arrived. this time it tasted good and not like someone had fished it out of the toilet. After our stomachs were contended. just in case the photos ended up in the museum. The bread wasn’t stale and there was butter. they told us that we will be staying there until the Red Cross arrive. In the end. letters. or do anything that involved physical activity. It would take a while for our bodies to function properly once again. we tried to get in as many photos as possible. Over the past years. it was time to rest. or anything that was related to war was needed. I had a cup of coffee. many areas have been destroyed by bombs. shops.Jane’s War was new and it had bunk beds. Peter and his friends had been busy raiding the storage rooms. blankets and pillows. we spent a lot of it resting. go to school. Many members of the Red Cross and a huge number of the British Army were helping out. and some bread. I didn’t think that we would be able to eat it all. and had nowhere to go. Many people had lost their homes. diaries. The babies now weren’t crying as often as they used to.
The old couple ended up adopting Jane and her siblings. Jane received news of her father. the kids would stay in foster families. Jane grieved over the loss of her father for years. Jane finished her education and became a teacher. Unfortunately within a week. He had died in a gas chamber in 1943. Until the Red Cross found their parents. and Anne and Hetty became nurses. Hannah had died in the hospital shortly after Jane had arrived at the concentration camp. 81 . Peter became a mechanic. Jane and her siblings were fostered by a lovely old couple. The kids who were orphaned got adopted.Epilogue The Red Cross arrived and took the kids to Hamburg.
She is currently writing another book called Eliza’s Gold. and attends Macarthur Girls High School. Her inﬂuence for writing Jane’s War came from reading/watching movies and books like the Diary of Anne Frank. Nastaran now lives in Sydney.Imagine leading a life of happiness and freedom when one day everything is taken away from you. English. Will Jane survive. She was born in Iran. She loves reading and writing. . her favourite subjects in school are. a young girl in the midst of a terrible war. or will the war take her away too? Nastaran Amiri is a thirteen year old. Muslim girl. history and drama. and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. during the hard and long years of conﬁnement in the concentration camp. and is in year eight. She came to Australia when she was four. Jane along with her siblings strive to stay optimistic despite the terrible conditions. That is a reality for Jane Thompson.
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