Unbroken

December 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm 30 comments

for friday fictioneers 100-word challenge 26 December 2014

Note: Björn’s picture reminds me of the Mauthausen concentration camp that I visited last summer. Located in Austria, it was one of the places where the Nazis implemented their vernichtung durch arbeit (extermination through labor) policy.

The prisoners in the camp were subjected to malnutrition, overcrowding, hostile and abusive behaviors by the guards, and hours of hard labor in the quarry (see picture I took below) where they continuously carried blocks of stone weighing as much as 100 pounds up a rock staircase with 186 steps.

Björn Rudberg
Photo Credit: Björn Rudberg

From his grandfather, David’s mom said, he got his looks and physical strength that made him a wrestling champion in college.

David never met him. During World War II, he died in the Mauthausen concentration camp.

While in Munich, he went on a side trip to the infamous camp where his grandfather was subjected to carrying heavy blocks of stone up a rock staircase for refusing to become an informant.

Listening to his mom’s story was one thing, but it was quite another to be where it actually happened. It made the lessons it provided less likely to be forgotten.

mauthausen quarry
Mauthausen Quarry Rock Staircase
 

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Entry filed under: Blogroll, friday fictioneers. Tags: , , , , , .

Wordless Wednesday: Mixed Emotions at the Doctor’s Office weekly photo challenge: warmth

30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)  |  December 24, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    To carry stoneblocks up a staircase till you die, I can understand how seeing it for real make a deeper impression.

    Reply
    • 2. plaridel  |  December 25, 2014 at 10:22 am

      bjorn:

      i heard that when the prisoners became so weak to carry the task, they were either shot on the spot or sent to the gas chamber. it was an irony that those who were in charge of the camp went home to their wives and children living nearby like good family men.

      Reply
  • 3. Sandra  |  December 25, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Nicely done. And a timely reminder of the past. Merry Christmas.

    Reply
    • 4. plaridel  |  December 25, 2014 at 10:23 am

      sandra:

      i’d been to other concentration camps and the feelings of sadness and loss were all the same.

      Reply
  • 5. http://www.skippyheart.com  |  December 25, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Wishing you the merriest Christmas, Mr. P! Thank you for the birthday greeting and for your kind words, as always! 🙂

    Reply
    • 6. plaridel  |  December 25, 2014 at 10:28 am

      skip:

      you’re welcome. happy holidays. 🙂

      Reply
  • 7. Priceless Joy  |  December 25, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Wonderful story tied to an extremely horrible historic past. Very nicely done.

    Reply
    • 8. plaridel  |  December 25, 2014 at 10:37 am

      priceless joy:

      it was considered a Grade III camp intended for those deemed “incorrigible Political Enemies of the Reich”. that’s why the prisoners had it so bad.

      Reply
      • 9. Priceless Joy  |  December 25, 2014 at 11:46 am

        It is terrible nonetheless. Terrible!

        Reply
        • 10. plaridel  |  December 26, 2014 at 9:50 am

          priceless joy:

          indeed.

          Reply
  • 11. draliman  |  December 25, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    I imagine actually being there and seeing it would make the sheer horrific reality come crashing in.

    Reply
    • 12. plaridel  |  December 26, 2014 at 9:50 am

      draliman:

      you feel it deep into your bones.

      Reply
  • 13. lifeconfusions  |  December 26, 2014 at 2:41 am

    Wow that was very high impact story. And it’s a great review to see from we started and where we are today.

    Happy Holidays Plaridel, Wish you an incredible year ahead !
    Lots of love,
    Zee ❤

    Reply
    • 14. plaridel  |  December 26, 2014 at 9:52 am

      zee:

      thank you for the best wishes, and, as ellen degeneres would say when thanking her audience’s applause, it goes right back to you.

      Reply
  • 15. rochellewisoff  |  December 26, 2014 at 3:19 am

    Dear Plaridel,

    This is my type of story. Horrible history. The Nazis could think up more ways to destroy. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Reply
    • 16. plaridel  |  December 26, 2014 at 9:57 am

      rochelle:

      there are lessons to be learned here. but as the song goes, “when will we ever learn?”

      Reply
  • 17. latasun  |  December 26, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Terrible history and seeing it and imagining the scene must be even more terrible. Liked the way you put it in this story.

    Reply
    • 18. plaridel  |  December 26, 2014 at 9:59 am

      latasun:

      thank you for reading and commenting and liking the way the story was handled and written. much appreciated.

      Reply
  • 19. aliciajamtaas  |  December 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    You put this prompt to good use. Unbroken brought a feeling of desperation I’m pretty sure can only be felt when walking the same path of those who were persecuted. Thank you for a bit of history I hadn’t known.

    Reply
    • 20. plaridel  |  December 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      alicia:

      it was an overwhelming, emotional experience indeed.

      Reply
  • 21. Leigh W. Smith  |  December 26, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    I like what you’ve done with Björn’s beguiling photo, Plaridel. History, no matter how unpleasant, needs to be seen, read, spoken about, and experienced, whenever possible, so we don’t repeat the many injustices and horrors. In the end, a great story, though heart-breaking.

    Reply
    • 22. plaridel  |  December 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      leigh:

      thank you for reading. it’s sad that people are still persecuted around the world. we never learn.

      Reply
  • 23. Amy Reese  |  December 27, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Another historical take from you. I like it. It must have been difficult to be at the actual spot knowing so many ugly things happened there. Great story to go with the prompt!

    Reply
    • 24. plaridel  |  December 27, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      amy:

      thank you for reading. i wasn’t aware of the mauthausen concentration camp until i went there. i wrote this story so more people would know about it.

      Reply
  • 25. Margaret  |  December 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    You’ve balanced the misery and inhumanity with the lovely character of David. His grandfather’s beauty and skill live on in him, and the memory of those who’ve suffered inspires all the Davids to keep fighting evil. Well done.

    Reply
    • 26. plaridel  |  December 27, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      margaret:

      thank your for your wonderful comment. it’s much appreciated.

      Reply
  • 27. dmmacilroy  |  December 28, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Dear Plaridel,

    Standing in the spot where so many labored and lost must have been moving indeed. A beautiful evocation of the moment and the prompt.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Reply
    • 28. plaridel  |  December 29, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      doug:

      it was indeed a moving experience. it was called the stairs of death. prisoners followed one another up carrying a block of granite on their backs. somebody slipping or dropping the block would likely trigger a chain reaction causing those behind him to slip as well. those who were injured and couldn’t stand anymore were shot on the spot.

      Reply
  • 29. talesfromthemotherland  |  January 6, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Plaridel, such a powerful story, in response to this photo. Such a dark history, that should never be forgotten.

    Reply
    • 30. plaridel  |  January 7, 2015 at 9:34 am

      dawn:

      totally agree.

      Reply

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