Even An Angel Can Fall

Even An Angel Can Fall

A Story by Treo LeGigeo
"

"You are an angel Clarizza, my very own angel." That's what you used to say, before the bombs, before the war, before the camps...

"

What's your name?

Clarizza.

Clarizza. What a beautiful name, what does it mean?

It means, angel.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


"You are an angel Clarizza, my very own angel."

That's what you used to say, before everything happened.


 




I remember the time before the war when we lived freely, when there was no need to lie awake at nights listening for the shrill whistle of the falling bombs, when the newspapers weren’t clogged up with reports of death and destruction, and when there was no fear of persecution.

You were tall, strong, the perfect Aryan man. You had no reason to fear. Me, however, my parents were of the Romani people; I was a gypsy.

The tragic story of my imprisonment was rapidly spread around upon the announcement of the “cleansing”. You told everyone that I had attempted to flee the country, only to be found and captured on the way. And crouched in my hiding place I heard it all, from your frighteningly realistic sobs to our friends’ awkward sympathies.

 

For months I lived among the cobweb covered crates and ancient rugs, the old worn furniture and the dust covered books. I was safe. I had shelter, food, protection, and my life, but it wasn’t enough. The small attic that served as both my abode and my prison had only a single grimy window which let in a few slivers of pale yellow light for an hour or so each afternoon. I longed for a breath of fresh air, for the feel of the warm rays of sun on my face, for the kiss of the breeze on my skin. One morning, when I woke from the pile of clammy blankets and pillows that that sufficed as a bed, I found the desire overwhelming. I believed, forced myself to believe that surely the early hour of dawn would enough to shield me from being seen if I simply spent a few minutes in the fresh air. I was wrong.

Unbeknownst to me, there was a woman who had recently moved in across the road. Claire
Bauer, I believe her name was, who enjoyed waking early to sit on her front porch and watch the sunrise, and was also an avid supporter of the Nazi party.

Then came the day. The soldiers stormed the house, destroying furniture and smashing anything and everything they could get their hands on. Praying that they wouldn’t find me as I lay curled up in a flaking pine cabinet in the corner of the attic, I heard crash after crash, curse after curse, and scream after scream.

 

Then I heard a voice, yelling through the house, loud enough for me to hear even from my hideaway. They were holding you hostage, they were here to take one that didn’t deserve to live, and weren’t afraid to hurt you in the process. What I didn't realise at the time was that you, in your ever-lasting compassion, had still refused to acknowledge my existence. I didn't realise that giving myself up also meant condemning you, for hiding a gypsy.

You held my hand during the train ride. The air was putrid and stifling hot, and all around were the sounds of crying and yelling. We were one of the lucky ones and had managed to find a spot to sit leaning against the rough wooden wall, but the tiny carriage was so cramped that many of our fellow prisoners were fighting over the space. Hours passed and the journey continued, it was well into the night before the train finally rolled to a stop. On our departure we left behind an old woman. She had died from the heat.

 

But it was when we saw just where were we that we realised that the horrors had only just begun. Just how long I spent in the concentration camp I do not know, for it is impossible to keep track of time in Hell. I thought I would be spending every night thinking about your fate in the men’s camp while I lay on the bunk I shared with five others in my cold, damp cabin in the women's camp, but that only lasted a few weeks before exhaustion took over and I could do nothing at night except fall into a deep but far from peaceful sleep. Food was scarce and I ate anything I could get my hands on, roots, grass, even the straw in my mattress. The days were filled with screams, the screams of the prisoners getting beaten by the SS soldiers, the wails of the mothers who's hidden children had been discovered and mercilessly executed, the cries of agony from inside the infamous shower block where the prisoners where showered with, not water, but deadly cyanide gas. Disease was rife and every morning I woke up to see more sick bodies strewn on the ground, as well as the twisted and charred remains of the prisoners who had finally given up on life and walked into the electric fence. People were dying so rapidly that the thick black smoke from the crematoriums was pumped out from the chimneys all day and all night long without even a second’s break.

I tried to keep in good health, but why prolong the inevitable? Soon came the day when I too fell ill. One of the soldiers saw me coughing up blood and writhing in pain, he must have been a young one for he actually had the temerity to take pity on me. I was taken to the drab building that served as a hospital, which was where I got my first glimpse of the man known as the Beautiful Devil.

Josef Mengele. The "doctor" who was probably the furthest thing from a doctor that ever existed. From where I lay on my narrow cot I could hear the horrible shrieks of his research subjects, as his discussions with his assistants about his latest experiments: organs transplanted without anesthetic, hormones injected into eyes in an attempt to change eye colour, and the murder and dissection of anyone he found interesting. But I never saw the result of these deadly surgeries until they placed one on the cot opposite mine: two twin girls, sewn together, their hands badly infected where their veins met, and their fingers black with gangrene.

Gradually, as the days wore on, I began to improve. Also, rumours began to spread around the camp that the German army was being pushed back, that the war was coming to an end, that the impending defeat would mean our release. We were wrong. But not about Germany’s predicted impending defeat, no, that was tragically proved correct when the soldiers announced that all prisoners were to begin a death march west to a place not threatened by the encroaching enemy. At least, all prisoners that were fit. I was not.

January 27, 1945. The date that was burned forever onto the memories of thousands. The day that the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp was liberated by the
322nd Rifle Division of Soviet Red Army. The liberators found about seven-and-a-half thousand prisoners in the camp. Seven-and-a-half thousand sick, starved, half dead prisoners, out of the four hundred thousand that had walked through its gates.


It was also when I finally heard about you. I was relieved at first to find that you had been chosen to work in the crematoriums. At first. The prisoners that worked in the crematoriums throwing dead bodies into the flames were treated better than the other prisoners, but there was a catch about the job the soldiers had failed to mention. Those chosen worked with their dead fellows, which meant that they knew too much. The Nazis had an effective way of dealing with people who knew too much: extermination.




The wind is bitter as it whips around my face, the winter night air stinging my skin as I stand here, gazing down at the pitch black waters below me. 

And I think. About you. You, who sacrificed everything to try to protect me. You, who was arrested for hiding me. You, who was killed amid the stench of the dead, among the bones and ashes of the thousands before you, because of my carelessness.

You know the bridge that I am standing on. It is the bridge where we first met, seemingly lifetimes ago. The bridge where we kissed for the first time. The bridge where you asked me to marry you.

I take one final breath and step forward into the rushing air.



On a cold black night in a war torn city, no one saw the lone figure silhouetted against the crescent moon, no one noticed the small body fall into the waters of the Rhine, and no one heard the splash of the river below.


 




"You are an angel Clarizza."

That's what you used to say, but even an angel can fall.


© 2013 Treo LeGigeo



Author's Note

Treo LeGigeo
Inspired by a lyric in "Satellites" by September.


Dr. Josef Mengele, known by inmates of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp as the "Beautiful Devil," really did perform all the horrible experiments mentioned in the story.

All dates and conditions described are accurate.

My Review

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Featured Review

Very well done. This is so well researched and so well written. It brought me right back to where I stood just inside the entrance to Birkenau. Looking down the straight avenue that separated the camp and where new arrivals would be split into two groups. One to enter the camp and the other to the 'shower block'. The place where it always snowed white flakes of ash. As I read your story I found myself there in the room, traveling alongside you in the train and it felt like I was there also in the camp. Sharing with you in your loss and your regret. This is an exceptionally difficult subject to consider, let alone write about. No wonder it has been selected Best of 2010. Congratulations! It is a fine piece of writing indeed.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Oh that last line. Normally if I read a great last line I can love a story even if I've hated it, and I absolutely loved this one. Except I loved the story before the last line, so i just loved it even more here. It brings in the man, and the love that they both felt, and it was so beautiful whilst tragic. This whole story was sad to read about the destruction that took place, and it was sadder to know that it did happen, and this story really brought that forward. Brilliant story; history, pain and romance all in one.

Posted 5 Years Ago


This is a compelling piece. I felt sick just reading about those experiments. Very well-written and emotional. Nice job.

Posted 5 Years Ago


This is so heartbreakingly beautiful. You did a beautiful job at bringing to life the horror, the pain, anguish, even the hope alive in just a few short paragraphs. Such a bittersweet piece.
I had to stop to collect myself at the end, I was so filled with emotion.
So very, very well done.


Posted 6 Years Ago


this was very very interesting! YOu are by far a better writer than me :)

Posted 6 Years Ago


This is painfully beautiful. I've never read a story from this time period where the main character was not Jewish. The fact that Clarizza was a gypsi made me really think about the fact that it wasn't just the Jewish who suffered. Your research was amazing as was the vivid descriptions. You have such a strong word choice, these words painted an image in my head. I appreciate your writing! Keep up the good work!

Posted 6 Years Ago


wow...i really don't know what to say...
your descriptions are so vivid and horrifying! You really made me feel like i was there. You really do have a talent for writing. Well done! :)

Posted 6 Years Ago


Very well done. This is so well researched and so well written. It brought me right back to where I stood just inside the entrance to Birkenau. Looking down the straight avenue that separated the camp and where new arrivals would be split into two groups. One to enter the camp and the other to the 'shower block'. The place where it always snowed white flakes of ash. As I read your story I found myself there in the room, traveling alongside you in the train and it felt like I was there also in the camp. Sharing with you in your loss and your regret. This is an exceptionally difficult subject to consider, let alone write about. No wonder it has been selected Best of 2010. Congratulations! It is a fine piece of writing indeed.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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a
this was really beautiful. It flowed and created a mental pic in my head.

Posted 6 Years Ago


Wonderful. I always have a soft spot for wanting to read stories about the Holocaust.

Posted 6 Years Ago


I thought it was touching, to risk so much for love, the idea was fresh, and somewhat unexpected from the first few lines which echoed another sad love story. You contribute to the barriers any love will face, fantastic :)

Posted 6 Years Ago



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1778 Views
31 Reviews
Shelved in 5 Libraries
Added on September 16, 2010
Last Updated on June 13, 2013
Tags: Nazi, German, Germany, SS, Holocaust, Crematorium, World, War, Two, WWII, Aschwitz, Birkenau, Concentration, Camp, Labour, Extermination, Death, Doctor, Josef, Mengele

Author

Treo LeGigeo
Treo LeGigeo

Sydney, NSW, Australia



About
I'm from Australia, so some people may find that I spell things differently. I love writing and have had a couple of publications of short stories and novellas under a pseudonym. I started .. more..

Writing

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