It was Wednesday, July 8, 1942.
Ora who was 17 and Jewish at the time was teaching her little sister, Rina who was ten years old, about what their names meant. Ora explained to Rina, “My name means light, and yours means song or joy!” Which was very interesting because Rina loved to sing and was always so joyful that it made everyone in the room smile!For some reason, Ora’s parents were whispering to each other with concerned looks on their faces. The two girls had no clue what was going on. Then Ora and Rina had the idea to eavesdrop on their parents, Maya and Dan, from the other room. ¨What did they say?¨ asked Maya with concern. “I… I don’t know what they are trying to tell us” responded Dan, who looked pale as a ghost.
Then they both realized they had just been called up by the S.S. Quickly Dan and Maya ran towards Ora and Rina, they all hugged each other and wished for the best. It had been about five minutes when they heard someone bangging on their door. Dan told Maya to stay with the girls and hide.
Then, the three of them quickly ran to Ora’s room and hid in the closet full with a variety of cardigans for the summer time. Dan’s heart was beating so fast that he thought it was going to pop out. He slowly and smoothly opened the door. As soon as it was barely a centimeter open, five buff grown men swung open the door pushing back Dan so hard that he fell on his head! Two of the men dragged out the body of Dan who was no longer breathing. The other three men barged into the beautiful home and inspected the place to try to find the rest of the Stern family. Rina was breathing so heavy that one of the three men started approaching the closet. He opened the door hoping to find the others, and he did.
Maya was blocking her two children. The man separated her from them and handed her to the other man. They grabbed Ora and Rina and took them to a station. Ora was thrown into a packed deportation cart that was connected to a train. She was apart from the rest of her family. The trip took about eight days, the only stops they made was to throw out the dead bodies and to dump out a bucket that was used as a toilet.
Ora couldn’t stand the scent of the cart!When she arrived at the concentration camp in Auschwitz (one of the biggest camps that had four gas chambers). On the top of the main gate there were words that translated to “Work will make you free.” All of the Jews were lined up to see who would be chosen to live or die, although the prisoners didn’t know they were being selected. When it was Ora’s turn during the selection process she stood at the front of the line the an officer pointed her to the right which meant he was able to work.
She was tattooed with a number. Ora felt petrified and lonely because she knew nobody there and wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone. She really felt like she couldn’t trust a single soul after knowing what they had done to other prisoners. One of the months she spent there she thought she found a friend. Ora was not able to find out what her name was though, because about four days later the girl sadly passed away from exhaustion.
Many of the prisoners were being starved to death! One day Heinrich Himmler ordered all prisoners to be marched out of the concentration camps. The Force March was also known as “The Death March” because the pipes and gutters where full of blood from all those who were shot. Ora and others were force marched out of the camps. Ora was walking towards the front when she heard gunshots. One of the leaders told everyone to not look back and to not panic.
Ora felt that she had to look back and as soon as she did she saw officers shooting prisoners that were walking to slow and that were trying to get away!Ora saw her chance to escape while everyone else was busy trying to hide while the officers were making sure all those who were walking slow were shot. Ora couldn’t build up the courage to try to escape while all of the shooting was happening right behind her back. She decided to not take the chance so she kept moving along. It had been a long two days for Ora to build up her strength again to try to run away. They had walked around three miles then Ora found her perfect chance to try to escape.
As soon as she seized her chance, her light was blown out by a gunshot.