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SAVIOR

By

Michael Nicolosi

They stripped me more naked than the day I was born. This isn’t something I’m
going to walk away alive. Two scientists rip my rusty dog tags off and write my name on
a list; Ivan Denakov. I see my name on the bottom of the list. There have to be at least
thirty names above mine. Next to most of the names reads the chilling word “deceased”.
Swastika’s are hanging everywhere in the large, cold bunker. The Nazi’s are
proud of their evil symbol of hatred and murder. This is the fate I get for trying to be a
hero. I joined the Red Army when I was eighteen years old to make something of my
life. Now I am a human guinea pig for the Nazi’s and their fucked up live human
experiments. I am unwilling to help the Nazi’s in anyway to make their country and
soldiers stronger. I don’t have it half as bad as the Jews though. I am just a prisoner of
war. The Nazi’s keep the prisoners captive. They just want to murder all the Jews and
bump them off from all of humanity. They don’t want the Jews for anything. I remember
this poster that was outside of my first prison cell. It has a Jewish mans face and a
German mans face side by side. The artist made the Germans face perfect like a
Michelangelo sculpture. The artist made the Jewish mans face have a large drooping
nose, bad lips, brown eyes and made him look completely inferior to the German race.
It’s strange how the Germans think Judaism is a race rather than religion. A German can
be Jewish. We all look the same. We are all good and evil.
They insert a cold rectal thermometer into me and it sends a sharp pain down my
spine. It’s the middle of winter on the Eastern Front and I am completely naked. I don’t
want to know what they are going to do to me. Two soldiers with guns bring me to a
small, well lit room. The first thing I notice is all the blood and the grueling stench. I see
where it is coming from. They intentionally amputated a Russian soldier for in field
practice. I look to the right and see a large, galvanized steel tub, filled to the top with ice.
They didn’t say it, but I know the tube is for me. That is why they stripped me naked. I
don’t know what they are going to gain from throwing me into the tub.
The prison commander walks into the room and the two soldiers salute him.
“Throw him into the ice and find out what body temperature it takes for him to
die.” The commander says.
“I’ll let you know when we’re almost done sir.” The scientist replies.
“As you were.”
All that runs through my mind is that I know that these are the last breaths I will
take. I am going to freeze to death. The Nazi’s are using me to see how much a soldier
can take during battle in the winter of the Eastern Front. The two Nazi soldiers cuff my
hands and my feet so I won’t squeal. There is no point in resisting because they’ll just
beat the hell out of me and then throw me into the tub. The pick me up and toss me in.
The ice striking my skin feel like thousands of jagged edges slicing me all over
my body it is so cold. The scientist pulls out the temperature gauge out of the ice. It has
a long wire and the other end is firmly inserted into my rectum. The scientist writes
down my initial temperature. I can’t control my shivering. The scientist nods at the two
soldiers and they exit the room. The slam the heavy iron door and bolt lock it.
“I am sorry for doing this to you.” The scientist says.
“Fuck you Nazi…Why are you doing…doing this?” I can barely speak clearly.
“Because the Nazi’s will kill my family and then make me work in the camps.”
“You’re not a Nazi.”
“No! I am Jewish. They took me from my medical practice and forced me to
work in this death hole. It’s better than working outside in the camps with the rest of the
Jew. I just want to get out and see my family.”
“What is your name?” I ask.
“Geoffrey Rosenberg.”
“I’m…Ivan.”
“Nice to meet you Ivan.” He gives me a sympathetic smile. He checks the gauge
and writes down a number.
“Ivan your body temperature is down to 94.6. You will be hypothermic soon. I
am so sorry to do this to you.”
“Don’t be sorry. It would happen anyway.” I see truth and sadness in Geoffrey’s
eyes as he takes off his thick black framed glasses. I notice my skin is starting to turn
purple. I am probably getting frostbite.
“So Ivan, do you have a family back in Russia?”
“Divorced, no kids.” I say.
“Oh…”
“It’s okay. I accept my fate, just how I accept I am going to die.” I can see pain
strike Geoffrey for some reason. I know it hurts him to do these things to people. I don’t
blame him, I blame the Nazi’s. I blame this war. Nobody comes out of war a winner.
Besides I would do whatever it takes to protect my family. Geoffrey closes his eyes for a
long moment and then abruptly opens them like a light bulb has turned on. He checks the
gauge again.
“Your body temperature is down to 89.1.” He says.
“I feel completely numb.”
“You should be entering hypothermia.”
“Fantastic.” I sarcastically reply.
Geoffrey checks his watch and sighs deeply. He looks at the gauge again.
“Ivan I need to call in the commander.”
“Do what you must.”
Geoffrey walks over to the iron door and stares at the floor for a moment. He
gives three quick knocks. The two soldiers open the door. Shortly after the commander
walks in with a wiseass smirk on his face that I would like to cut off with a hunting knife.
“Ah! Good work Geoffrey. I knew all the Jews couldn’t be completely
worthless.” The commander says.
“Thank you sir.”
“Now when is this Pinko going to die.”
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about sir.”
“What?”
“I think for further research we should revive this man.” Geoffrey says.
“Why? What do you mean?” The commander replies.
“Sir, if we revive this man we could see what it takes to revive a soldier in battle.”
“Ah! You Jews are always thinking. Try to revive him and put him back in his
cell. We can use him again.”
“Yes sir.” The commander smiles and walks out of the room. He slams the door.
“Thank…you…Geof…” I barely mumble.
“No time for apologies, we need to get you warm.” Geoffrey rushes to get me out
of the ice tub. I can barely move. This is one of the few times in my life I where feel
vulnerable. He manages to work me out of the tub and get me onto a chair. He throws
some blankets on me and my shivering becoming out of control. It’s hard to breathe. He
hugs me, using his body heat to warm my chest. He gets a glass of water and forces it
down. It feels like my organs are dethawing. He manages to get me on my feet.
Geoffrey pretty much drags me into the shower room and drenches me with warm water.
He has saved my life.
“Thank you.” I say.
“It was the right thing to do.” Geoffrey replies.
“I know you could have gotten yourself into trouble. You risked your life for a
complete stranger. I can’t thank you enough for that.”
“You don’t need to thank me. I’m responsible for nearly killing you.”
“You’re no the one responsible.”
It takes me nearly 3 days to get back to normal health. I don’t have to work or do
anything. I think Geoffrey made it clear to the commander that I need rest. I need to
build up my strength. I know my squad will be here soon. Seventeen of our soldiers
were captured in battle nearby. They’ll be here very soon. They want revenge.
I wake to the sound of gunshots and explosions in the distance. Our bunker
rumbles and smoke and debris begin to fill the hallways. We have been hit. Suddenly I
see a silhouette of a soldier with a gun walking closer to my cell. Then I notice the olive
green material and realize it is a Russian soldier. He unlocks my cell door and escorts me
out of the bunker. We reach a large blown hole in the bunker leading to outside. I can
see Nazi’s with their hands in the air, but the Russians kill them all anyway. I’m not
surprised; the Russians will take no Nazi prisoners in this battle. They kill every Nazi in
sight, armed or not armed.
I look back into the bunker remembering Geoffrey. I run back in to look for him.
It is hard to see with all the smoke. Suddenly I notice a white lab coat on the ground. It
has blood on it. I slowly walk toward it hoping it is not Geoffrey. I lift up a large piece
of the wall lying on the dead man. Then I see Geoffrey’s glasses smashed lying next to
the body. I realize Geoffrey is dead. A wave of anger washes over me. This war has
only brought death to everyone. I reach into his pockets and pull out his paper, some
identifications cards and a few pictures of his family. I pull the in my shirt pocket and
button it. Goodbye my friend.
“Let’s go.” A soldier says. I stand up and everything seems to be muted and in
slow motion as I am escorted out of the building.
It takes me two months to find Geoffrey’s family in a small camp in East
Germany. He has a lovely wife and three beautiful daughters. They are still mourning
the death of their father. I have purchased a small home in Ireland where I will transport
Geoffrey’s family for safety. It’s the least I can do for the man who saved me.
I have reenlisted to go back to war. The Nazi’s are surrendering and running to
the American’s. I’m going back to get vengeance. I’m not sure whether I’m angry at the
Nazi’s or the Russians for accidently killing Geoffrey. All I know is that I’m going to kill
as much evil as I can.

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