It of th? murd?red victim. S??n the truck b?gan

It w?s the typic?l d?y, when Shmu?l came home from school and was pop-eyed when he saw his M?ma crying, l??ning against Papa. “What h?ppened?” he ask?d in conc?rned tone but he heard no resp?nse and l?ter w?s s?nt to do his hom?work by P?pa. “But Papa? Why is M?ma crying so much?” Shmu?l kept asking ?s if it w?s a warning sign of s?mething b?d c?ming s??n. It w?s the s?c?nd time he saw Mama’s ey?s sinking in t??rs ?fter his gr?ndfather died two years ago.

N?xt day M?ma w?s making br??kfast in the m?rning wh?n P?pa w?s reading a n?wspap?r b?fore h? h??ded to his st?re wh?re h? w?s fixing p?ople’s w?tches. After an?ther d?y at sch??l, wh?n Shmu?l arriv?d home, he found N?zi s?ldi?rs in his apartment and his p?r?nts packing up all the b?l?ngings and t?lling him to do ev?rything s?ldiers t?ld him. Shmu?l al?ng with his br?ther, Y?el, his Mama, and Papa were loaded ?nto a truck with the cr?wd of p??ple wh? all h?d the s?me ?rmbands from a sp?cial cl?th with a st?r on ??ch. “Wh?r? are we going, Mama?” Shmu?l ask?d.

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Shmu?l’s m?ther, ?viva, w?s hugging Shmu?l ?nd Y??l cl?se t? h?r ?nd his f?ther, ?laz?r, w?s kissing the t?p of h?r h??d and h?lding Shmu?l’s h?nd. Shmu?l kn?w th?t th?y d? n?t w?nt th?m t? kn?w wh?re th?y all w?re going, so he imagined that they are going on another tour around Europe. “We are going somewhere, where soldiers saying we will be safe,” said Papa”Ar? y?u sure that we really going to be safe, P?pa?” ask?d Shmu?l wh?n ?t that m?ment “Y?u th?re!” y?lled ?ne of th? s?ldi?rs p?inting ?n th? m?n ?n the other side of the truck. The s?ldier t??k ?ut his gun ?nd shot at him. Poor man fell to the gr?und and the people in the truck scr??med in t?rror.

Shmu?l turned his fac? int? his m?ther’s st?mach ?nd sh? pull?d him and Yoel cl?ser to h?r, cl?sing their ey?s fr?m th? vi?w of th? murd?red victim. S??n the truck b?gan moving ag?in. The soldi?rs w?re tomenting ?nd swearing at the crowd of Jews ?n th?ir w?y ?nd ?fter ? whil?, th?y w?re ?ll push?d ?ut of the truck and load?d on a train. Sh?ving into a cr?wded cartl??d of people who were being packed in, uning every possibl? inch of sp?ce available, El?zar tend?rly t??k Shmuel and Yoel fr?m Aviva’s arms and said, “I’m sc?red, t??. But, w?’ll be heros. W? will put on a brave f?ce like H?rcules did when he f?ught with M?dusa.” “Or Pet?r P?n wh?n he f?ced C?ptain H??k,” Shmu?l said.

“Ex?ctly,” his f?ther n?dded. “W?’ll be hero?s like th?m.” “We l?ve you so much,” Aviva s?id. H?r brown ey?s w?re fill?d with t??rs as sh? l??ked at her little boys again. “?nd w? will alw?ys be t?gether, even if we’re ?part,” their f?ther, Elizar added.

They sp?nt h?urs ?n the tr?in, it st?pp?d multipl? tim?s to pick up m?re peopl?. Th? cr?wd?d c?rt tr?v?l?d tw? d?ys and st?rted to sm?ll abh?rr?nt b?c?use th?re w?s no l?vat?ry. Wh?n th?y fin?lly ?rriv?d, th?y w?re push?d ?ff th? train and t?ken to the st?tion. Shmu?l w?tched in h?rr?r as his moth?r w?s taken aw?y from him.

“M?ma!” Shmu?l cri?d.”Shmu?l! El?zar!” “Aviva!” Elaz?r took Shmu?l in his ?rms and r?ced ?fter his wif?. S?ldi?rs smil?d arr?g?ntly at th?m, th?ir ?yes fill?d with s?distic hum?r. Aviv? r??ch?d a h?nd out ?nd El?zar gr?bb?d it. “Y?u! Jud?! L?t h?r g?!” y?lled the s?ldier. El?zar, ign?ring him crush?d his lips to his wife’s.

“I l?ve y?u,” h? s?id t? h?r. Sh? kiss?d Shmu?l on the ch??ks b?fore s?ldier dr?gged the l?st gl?nces at the tw? p??ple wh? m??n m?st to her. “T?ke c?r? of them, Elazar! Wh?tev?r you d?, stay t?gether!” s?id M?ma, ?nd this w?s the l?st phr?se Shmuel ?nd P?p? h??rd fr?m Aviva. All m?n al?ng with little b?ys and t??nagers w?lked to the ?ntrance g?te. S?ldi?rs tr?il?d th?m with guns l??ded and ?imed at their h??ds. Wh?n they ?ntered the c?mp s?ldiers sh?ved th?ir h??ds and they all w?re told to w??r strip?d p?j?mas. Everyone w?s assign?d into baracks, d?rk, disguisting pl?ce with n? wind?ws and light.

Shmu?l w?s sh?cked, but th?re w?s n?thing h? c?uld d? but endure. “W?k? Up!” Th? l?ud sh?ut j?stled Shmu?l fr?m his dr??m the n?xt d?y ?fter they ?rriv?d. It w?s c?ld ?nd his h??rt b??t r?pidly as he woke up from his sleep. All of the barack mates hurried to get up.

“We’re building a new barack,” the soldier said. Everyone moved quickly as if they could not wait to start working and formed a clum?. Shmu?l f?und his f?th?r ?nd t??k his h?nd. His h??d w?s sh?v?d t?? which m?de Shmu?l smil? f?r th? first tim? sinc? l?st thr?? d?ys. “C?me, Shmu?l”, h? said.

His v?ice was qui?t?r ?nd he g?sp?d all his w?rds with the breath that he had. “Papa,” Shmuel said. “Are we still brave like Hercules and Peter?” No matter how much their lives changed from the past, Elazar’s smile stayed the same. “We are, Shmuel. We absolutely are.” When they arrived at the other side of the camp where the construction took place, Papa whisper?d to Shmu?l: “G? and sit n??r the f?nc?. Th?y w?n’t s?? y?u.

Y?u w?n’t be ?bl? t? d? this w?rk.” “Ar? y?u sur?, P?p??” ask?d Shmu?l.”Y?u b?tter d? it, Shmu?l.” s?id ? m?n in fr?nt of th?m. H? h?d b?c?me a g??d fri?nd of El?z?r’s. His n?m? w?s K?lm?n. “Y?ur Papa is right. Y?u w?n’t b? ?ble t? d? this.

” h? s?id. Every d?y w?s the s?m?. N?thing ch?ng?d at ?ll. It w?s ?lw?ys b?ring ?nd s?d.

The oth?r childr?n c?nstantly f?ught with ??ch oth?r. Shmu?l n?v?r s?w th? p?int ?f it. Th?y w?r? just m?king things w?rse f?r th?ms?lv?s. Th?re w?s alw?ys ch?os happening within the camp. Fights would begin and people will be killed for no reason. The suff?ring never stop?ed. Th? l?st thing he w?nt?d w?s to b? dr?gg?d int? the br?wl, s? he usu?lly w?nt t? the fence pasing through the field t? g?t s?me fr?sh air ?nd hide fr?m the s?ldiers. Th? field w?s like ? sm?ll mir?cle in the midst ?f the horrible pl?c?.

“P?p?, I’m g?ing t? the f?nce” he c?ll?d out. “Just b? careful” P?pa r?plied in a tir?d whisper. As Shmu?l m?de his w?y thr?ugh th? cr?wd of gr?ndp?s, f?thers, and s?ns, h? w?v?d and smil?d at P?p?.

H? w?ved b?ck, smiling ?s w?ll. Ev?n th?ugh P?p? s??m?d h?pp?, his str?ss c?uld be s??n in his ?y?s, and h??rd in the w??kn?ss of his ?nce j?yful voice. Th? h?rsh s?und of the gu?rds b?rking ?rders ?t the pris?ners f?d?d with e?ch step Shmuel took.

He used to sit by the fence for hours. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, when Shmuel was sitting on his usual place, he heard footsteps. He didn’t react and kept looking at the dust beneath him. It w?s a b?y. Shmu?l s?ns?d a f??ling of curi?sity lurking with this b?y wh? s??m?d to be ?r?und th? s?me ?ge him, h?w?ver he l??ked much m?re well-fed and cl??ner th?n Shmu?l ?nd th?t m?de him extr?m?ly ?nvi?us of this b?y. The b?y w?s w??ring nice cl?th?s, s?m?thing lik? wh?t Shmu?l w?s w??ring wh?n h? w?s still living in his nic?, c?zy ap?rtm?nt b?ck in P?l?nd. He felt quite h?p?ful ?nd curi?us, ?nd his voic? s?id ev?rything.

“Hello,” s?id th? b?y. Shmuel g?v? his reg?rds ?s w?ll. After h? s?id this, th? b?y l??k?d at Shmu?l with ? l??k of b?wild?rm?nt on his face. The boy told Shmuel that h? had b??n expl?ring f?r alm?st two h?urs. Th?n this b?y st?rt?d h?sitating and sl?wly ch?se th? right w?rds t? s?y out b?cause he was afraid th?t h? might off?nd Shmuel.

“I live in the house on my side of the fence,” said boy. Shmuel w?s sure th?t th? b?y did n?t kn?w wh?t w?s going on around here, ?nd if h? kn?w, h? w?uld h?v? imm?diately rep?rted to the s?ldiers s? Shmu?l f?lt th?t it w?s s?fe t?lking to him. “I ?m Brun? b? th? w?y,” the b?y s?id. “And I ?m Shmu?l.” Bruno scrunch?d up his f?c?, ?nd ?sked wh?t Shmu?l’s n?me w?s ?g?in.

Shmu?l pr?nounc?d it f?r him en?ugh ?nd ?sk?d him wh?t his n?m? w?s ag?in s?rc?stic?lly this time as he n?v?r h??rd ?f th? n?me Brun?. Wh?n Brun? ?sk?d him how ?ld Shmu?l is, h? f?und ?ut th?t th?y w?r? b?rn ?x?ctly ?n th? s?me d?y. Th?y c?uld v?ry w?ll b? twins Brun? st?ted ?ut imm?di?t?ly.

Th?y b?th f?lt h?ppy ab?ut this and Shmuel w?s to be thr?wn by c?upl? or hundr?d m?re qu?stions.?ne day, a m?n call?d K?tler who frequ?nt?d th? c?mp w?s l??king f?r s?me?n? with tiny fingers t? g?t ? j?b d?n?. Shmu?l w?s the ?ne K?tl?r ch?se ?nd h? ?sc?rt?d him int? a v?ry l?rge h?use. “I wish I liv?d in such a luxur?us h?us?,” Shmu?l th?ught wh?n h? s?w it first. H? w?s br?ught into the dining r??m wh?r? h? w?s t?ld t? sit d?wn and p?lish the gl?ss?s till th?y w?r? sp?tl?ss.

Just wh?n Shmu?l th?ught his fing?rs w?uld br??k fr?m cl??ning gl?sses, h? h??rd s?me?ne ?xcitedly c?ll his n?me. It w?s Brun?. Shmu?l w?s ?l?ted to s?? his n?w fri?nd ?nd wh?n Brun? ask?d why h? w?s in th? kitch?n.

Shmu?l t?ld him th?t h? w?s ?sk?d to p?lish the gl?ss?s by K?tl?r. B?ys sp?ke ab?ut r?nd?m t?pics ?nd Brun? offer?d Shmu?l s?me chick?n. H? gr?t?fully accepted it and quickly gobbled down the chicken, just as he feared, Kotler came into the dining room and d?m?nd?d to kn?w wh?t w?s g?ing ?n. H? if Shmu?l st?l? som?thing and t?ranic?lly d?m?nd?d him to ?nswer the questi?n. Shmu?l s?id th?t Brun? g?ve it t? him, h?w?v?r Brun?, wh? l??ked just as sc?r?d as Shmu?l w?s, wh?n w?s ?sk?d if Shmu?l w?s telling the truth, in p?nic, blurted out th?t he did n?t ?v?n know Shmu?l. Shmu?l kn?w th?t this sp?lled tr?uble on him, ?nd th?t h? sh?uld h?ve b??n ?ngry with Brun? for n?t d?f?nding him, but h? w?s n?t. Brun? w?s just sc?r?d, ?nd Shmu?l kn?w ?ll ab?ut b?ing sc?r?d.

L?ter th?t d?y, K?tl?r punish?d Shmu?l f?r wh?t r?c?ntly h?pp?n?d. It w?s n?t a big ?f a d??l f?r Shmu?l, h? w?s r?ther c?nc?rn?d ab?ut Brun? b?c?use th? sight ?f Shmu?l’s bruis?s w?uld c?use guilt to f?rm in Brun?’s mind. Shmu?l made a decision to stay within the camp with Papa until his bruises faded. A week later, he set down cross-legged in his usual spot and waited for Bruno. When Brun? saw Shmuel’s figure, he c?me sprinting towards the f?nce and in a sincer? voice, Brun? apologized to him again.

Shmuel smiled and nodded in his head, letting him kn?w that he was f?rgiven.It had b??n nearly a year since boys met ??ch oth?r. Th?ir m??ting went normally for several weeks before Shmuel lost his Papa. Diss?pp?inted, he l?ft the c?mp to s?? Brun?.

They discuss?d this for a sh?rt while wh?n Brun? got an idea. H? expl?ined that he c?uld disguis? himself a p?ir of strip?d pajamas just like Shmu?l’s so th?y can tog?ther l??k for Shmuel’s P?p?. Brun? was b?ld since his f?ther d?cided to sh?ve ?ll his h??d b?cause of the lice found in Brun?’s hir.. Things m?tched perf?ctly at that m?ment. This m??nt that the b?ys c?uld now be t?gether on on? sid? of the f?nce.

Shmu?l felt all the s?ddn?ss w?sh aw?y as h? n?dded his h??d in agr??ment with this plan. They planned to meet at the fence the next day at the same time. The next day a glooming one.

Omin?us gr?y cl?uds beg?n piling up in the sky and the dull of r?lling thund?r b??med in the dist?nce. Shmu?l t??k this opp?rtunity to slip aw?y from the soldiers and journey to the hut where the striped pajamas were kept. He chose a pair in his siz? and tr?vell?d tow?rds the f?nc? to wait for Brun?. Wh?n finally Brun? arriv?d, he changed out of his raincoat and clothes into the striped attire Shmuel acquired for him.

He lifted up the b?tt?n of the f?nce and Brun? roll?d und?r the f?nce, wh?n at the moment it was a strange and yet wonderful feeling for two best friends to beside by side. As w? w?lked t?wards the camp, Shmu?l c?uld see the h?ppin?ss swiftly l??ve Brun?’s ey?s as he obs?rved upon the awful c?nditions of the c?mp the sorr?wful fac?s of the oth?r pris?ners. Th?y h??rd ??r-piercing whistle and s?w s?ldiers gathering around the area. Th?y were going to make them march. The friends huddled very close to ??ch ?ther, many oth?r pris?ners congregated ar?und b?ys and ev?ryb?dy st?pped moving when an?ther whistle rang out. They started to march, Shmuel and Bruno were cr?mmed right in the middle of the gr?up and it w?s so stuffy and unc?mfortable. Just as Brun? said th?t he was ab?ut to l??ve, th?ir f??t m?t a s?t of st?irs th?t led them to a dimli lit room. Brun? said that this w?s s?me w?y to g?t all of the th?m out of rain and that they w?uld let th?m all out wh?n it st?pped.

Shmu?l d?sp?rately w?nted to b?lieve Brun?, th?t it w?s all just a bad dr??m. “I’m s?rry we didn’t find y?ur P?p?” s?id Brun?, “Y?u’re my b?st fri?nd Shmu?l. My b?st fri?nd f?r life”, he c?ntinued h?lding Shmu?l’s h?nd.

Just ?t th?t m?ment wh?n h? w?s g?ing to r?ply and tell Brun? that he is his b?st friend t??k, all the oth?r p??ple in the r??m st?rted g?sping. L?ud ring c?uld b? h??rd of wh?t s?unds like a b?ll fr?m ?utside. They w?r? still h?lding ??ch oth?rs’ h?nds.

?v?n th?ugh th? r??m h?s g?ne d?rk and ch??s ?nsu?s, n?thing will ?ver m?ke boys l?t e?ch oth?rs’ h?nds.