April 7th, 1941
I am currently on a train bound for Italy. My hair has been forcibly cut and I am dressed in the military uniform of the people from which my family has been desperately hiding. I am still in shock. I take my pulse regularly and try to feel the tips of my fingers. I wiggle my toes and yet they are as tingly and far away as my fingertips. I imagine my head no longer attached to my body and drifting somewhere above all this horror.
I have joined the enemy.
I would beg forgiveness for what I have done, but I am not sure to whom I can even ask such a thing, nor if I am worthy. The crimes to which the Nazis have thrust upon the world is without precedent and the terror I have seen wrought upon so many is like rusty nails coursing through my veins.
Still, here I sit, and I would do it again.
I play out the events of the past three days and I try to find any other course of action, but there is none that I can see. I have saved the life of a child the only way that I knew how. I have hopefully secured the freedom of my mother and father. And most terribly, I have resigned myself to a debt that must be paid in blood— my blood.
I can only hope that when all is said and done, someone will have pity on me. I can hope for a swift death so that in the end there might remain something of my mind and soul. Odd that a man such as me, so grounded in science and medicine, would dream he has a soul. I hope I do. I am not so shameful as to pray for such a thing, because if there is a God, surely She frowns on me now.
So then I recount the last three days as best as I can with my frazzled mind.
Things started out normal enough. My parents and I had learned of a transport, one of the last of its kind, bound for the Southernmost borders, fleeing the expanse of prison camps. All those with Jewish blood were being rounded up and forcibly harbored. Any and all knew the fate of those who entered camps by now. If anyone was to escape the final judgment, the time was now or else never at all.
There were still some who stayed hidden, or who were just barely-Jewish-enough to have escaped scrutiny up until this point. We held no belief that it would last beyond this point. Either Mother was to leave on this last transport, or she was never to leave again, alive.
Preparations had begun, though a difficult decision would have to be made; one that would be more difficult still, when through the tree-line to the back of our home I spied movement. At first we were alarmed it might be some sort of patrol, but when it turned out to be a tiny boy with a star stitched onto his jacket, the alarm turned to horror.
He collapsed in the grass with Father and me rushing to his side. The child was pencil thin and barely breathing. His face was harshly reddened and he was clearly dehydrated. We carried him inside, but despite all our efforts, he was clearly dying of heat and over-exertion.
I am not certain what came over me when that child stopped breathing, but I came away from his still body and went scurrying down into Father’s laboratory. I did not think about what I was doing, I simply went to a little box upon a table and opened it. Inside was a vial filled with crimson liquid. I stole away with it back up to the house proper and pushed Father out of the way. He had been trying to breathe breath back into the boy but to no avail.
I opened the child’s mouth and uncorked the vial, careful to let only a single drop touch his tiny pink tongue.
Father’s shouts were only background noise at this point. Whatever he might have been chastising me about, I ignored and held my breath as I watched for signs of life. Nothing happened at first, and I believed myself mad. What had possessed me to believe it would work? I almost collapsed into hysterical laughter when the child’s eyes began to flutter. I felt for a pulse and could clearly feel his heart stuttering. Then, as if by a miracle, he drew a gasping breath.
The boy recovered quickly. It was the most astonishing thing I had ever seen. Mother fixed him thin soup which he hungrily ate. He drank glass of water after glass of water while he relayed the tale of how the hiding place of his family had been discovered. He also regaled us with news of a great military force coming our way. It would arrive within a day.
There was no more time left and now we had an extra person.
The transport could not carry all three of us and now we had a forth. We had been quarreling before about who would leave and now we were simply silent. Surely we would not leave without this child, but if only two could fit, who now would go?
Mother would not leave without us and we would not leave without her.
I was tasked with taking the child to the meeting place. My parents begged for me not to return but by nightfall I had returned to sit in silence with the two of them. We knew the soldiers would come for us tomorrow and we had nothing left to say.
We slept huddled together in the living area, dressed and ready for whatever reckoning was coming. At day break we heard the shouts of soldiers and trucks rolling to a stop outside. My parents went to the door to wait, but I went down into the laboratory to make sure that everything had been thoroughly destroyed.
I could hear footsteps stomping around upstairs as I walked around the space, making sure every journal was empty and every diagram corrupted. Then I stopped at that little box. I hesitated at first, but when I heard someone stop just outside the laboratory door I snagged up the vial of blood and in an instant, put it to my lips.
I am not sure how to describe the feeling of drinking that blood. It was as if suddenly I was alive for the first time in my life. I could hear and see everything in such vibrant sharpness. The man’s breath behind the door was as if it was on my cheek, and I could smell his sweat. My feet carried me inhumanly fast and I drew the door open, startling him at the abruptness. I heard his heartbeat quicken as he jumped slightly and there was a hunger in me that I cannot put into words. I wanted to do something to him, but I am not sure what.
I was grabbed roughly by the arm and dragged out onto the front lawn. There my parents were being held at gun point. They were down on their knees with their hands behind their heads. Everyone was shouting and it was like daggers in my ears. The cocking of rifles and pistols made the hair stand up on the back of my neck and before I knew what I was doing I simply said one word.
All eyes turned to me and I started to speak. I told them that I could bring the dead back to life and that I knew of creatures that could make their army a mere stain in the grass. I think I was even smiling as I said it. I must have looked positively ghoulish or maybe just plain insane, because a few of the soldiers even backed away from me.
My father started yelling at me to stop talking and one of the soldiers hit him.
I was on that soldier in what seemed like a blur. I took the man’s gun and placed a palm against his chest. I meant to merely shove him away, but when my hand connected the young man went flying across the lawn and slammed into the side of a truck.
All those guns became trained upon me. I thought they were going to shoot me, but a voice cut through the crowd.
A short blond man with little round glasses and a black uniform with a red ‘SS’ band on his arm came worming his way through the crowd. He stalked right up to me and eyed me up and down. I wasn’t sure about the look in his eyes. He appeared over-joyed to be looking at me. He said I would give him all my research and come with him. I retorted that he would release my parents and take them South of our territories so they could be free.
He laughed at me, so I pointed the gun I held in my hands at my own head. I stated that all my research remained in one place and only one place and that was in my own mind. If they wanted it, they had to have me and the only way to have me, was if my family was safe.
The man’s smile faded slightly but after some pacing he agreed.
The rest is a slight blur, but I remember being placed into the back of a Jeep and watching my parents disappear in the side-view mirror.
Since then I’ve had several different men shouting in my face about making sure my uniform sits perfectly and that I stand up straight. I’ve been schooled on how to salute, how to march, how to walk, talk, and present myself. It has literally been a crash course at gun point.
All of the shouting and beatings I received as a child have paid off I suppose. I could take the abuse and stand perfectly still and straight while staring ahead.
I received a small briefing that only told me where I was headed. Some place in Italy to a research facility. Apparently, Der Fuhrer is already conducting some research that aligns with my own. I’m not sure why that surprises me.
I am not certain what will be expected of me, but undoubtedly it will not be good.
Forgive me, Journal but I must close. I can feel reality crushing down upon me and I have the desire to cry. I must steel my nerves. If I show so much as one iota of emotion amongst these bastards it might be my last.
Until next I can write.