Hear My Cry

Grace Scoggins, Guest Writer

As my eyes fluttered open, hundreds of miles of barbed wire stretched across the hazy horizon that lay before me. Thousands of bodies surrounded it; thin, frail bodies shoveling dirt while Nazi soldiers watched with amusement. Once again, I shut my eyes tight in hopes of numbing this horrific reality. “You’re just having a nightmare, Eliana. Everything will be just fine,” I repeated to myself. However, as I opened my eyes, the camp remained just as gruesome. This wasn’t just a nightmare, this was my broken reality. This is Bergen-Belsen.

Swarms of people pressed against me as I made my way to the front of the line for admissions into Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.

“Eliana Mei Beiser, step forward. You are now number 6017,” a German soldier barked at me.

Within moments, the name my mother had carefully thought out for me was traded for a number. To the Nazis, I was no longer worthy of being called by my name.

Next, came the humiliating process of removing all outside clothing in exchange for a prison-like uniform. As a soldier ordered me to remove my clothing, I felt his gaze shift to my naked body. Tears pooled at the corners of my eyes. I felt violated, filled with shame, but most of all dirty. The innocence of a fifteen-year-old girl was traded with guilt so deep that I began to believe this was the life I deserved.

Seconds later, I was being led by a soldier to my job assignment. As we made our way across camp, my eyes wandered towards the ghostly looking figures struggling to take their next step. The sunken faces of these Jews blankly stared back at me, seemingly crying out for help. I quickly looked back toward the ground, unable to look at their lifeless bodies any longer. As I continued to walk after the soldier, the sound of the crushed gravel beneath his feet reminded me of home and a time when my a family and I were still together.


“Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you,” my family sang loudly and with cheery faces. It was August 28, a special day. My 15th birthday. The three people surrounding me were my beautiful mother, Freida, and hilarious twin brothers, Asher and Aaron. However, on the last verse, our singing was cut short by the rushed footsteps of my father opening on the front door.

“Frieda, my darling, we have got to flee to my parents house in the countryside. Tell the children to only bring what is essential and to hurry. We haven’t got much time left!” my father ordered.

“But David, we live on the outskirts of Poland, the Gestapo surely won’t bother us here.” my mother declared.

“Still, we mustn’t take any chances. Just the other day Mrs. Weiss was taken by the Gestapo, and she lives in the countryside as well,” my dad gently pointed out.

But I can’t leave! Why can’t things stay the same? Just like a bird isn’t meant to be caged, I am not meant to be hidden from this world. My life has to be more than holding my breath and awaiting my captors arrival. My freedom cannot be stripped away!  Yet slowly, it is slipping from my grasp. Only a few weeks earlier, all Jews had been forced to display yellow stars on their clothing, solely for the purpose of the Nazis separating and isolating us from every other religious race. I don’t understand why Hitler thinks we Jews are worthless. My father explained that Germany’s loss in World War I caused Hitler to become bitter toward us, however that hardly seems a good reason to take this vengeance toward us.

Early the next morning, I felt my father gently nudging my shoulder in an effort to wake me. I sleepily threw the covers back over my head, until I realized today was the day my family and I would have to say goodbye to our home. Slowly, I pulled myself out from underneath my bed and peered into the hallway. As I observed my brothers’ fully packed backpacks in the hallway, I knew it was time to hurry. Minutes later, my family and I raced along the side of the road toward the small hill my grandparents occupied. Hedges and ivy surrounded the perimeter of their cozy home. As a young child, excitement had always bubbled up inside when I neared their house, and this time was no different. With great joy I turned the knob of the squeaky patio door, only to be face to face with a Gestapo policeman.

“We tried to warn you David, but by the time you left it was too late. I’m so sorry, son.” My grandfather said.

However, before my father could reply we were all ordered to fill the backseat of the Gestapos’ transit vehicle. As expected, the ride to BergenBelsen’s concentration camp was filled with silence. I wondered if each person carried the crippling fear that this may be the last  time we were all together. I wondered if the silence was suffocating others as much as me. But  most of all I wondered how the soldiers felt no remorse for their evil actions.


Crunch, crunch, crunch… the walk toward the labor camps seemed endless, but I was one of the few lucky ones to work inside. As the soldier pointed out my work station, my eyes met with those of a smiling girl, who looked to be similar in age to me. As I approached her work area, she spoke softly, introducing herself as Anne Frank. My heart ached as she told me her story, and how difficult the past couple months had been on her, but secretly I was grateful for a new friend to endure this trial with. Within weeks we became each other’s encourager, motivator, and best friend.

Each morning, we were awaken by the shrill of the soldiers’ whistle. At half past four, we stood in a line for what seemed like days, until the legs of the weakest fell beneath them. When we finally arrived to our work stations, the 11 hour shift seemed welcoming compared to the wilting heat that awaited those on outside duty. Then, at nighttime, Anne and I would climb into our lice-ridden bunks, grateful for a place to sleep. This was really the only time to escape from the horror that gripped us each day. This rigid, painstaking schedule would not have been possible without Anne by my side. Sometimes, our conversations about future goals, jobs, and families were the only thing that kept me sane.


Weeks later, however proved a difficult morning for Anne. She could not manage to leave her bed, even at the brutal commands of the German Soldier. Her gaunt body showed no signs of life expect for the thin smile that made its way across her face. As ordered I completed my work shift that day, only to find Anne looking worse than when I left her. P-please don’t die, I whispered as she stared helplessly into my eyes.  As she slipped away, I held her hand until it grew cold. Though she did not survive, she helped bring me hope in the darkest time imaginable.