The child stirred beside her, snuggling in closer for whatever warmth she could still provide from her own thin body. She wrapped her arms around her only child and fought back tears. Her daughter needed every second of precious rest and she didn’t want to wake her up with her sobs.

Hanna had plenty to cry about, these last six months and that horrible lump in her throat never went away. It hurt so badly sometimes, that terrible lump that she could barely swallow.

Her child shifted uncomfortably again under the old threadbare blanket. She sat up on one elbow and carefully pulled the blanket off herself and tucked it around her little Eva and then pulled her close to curl around her child once more.

The old blanket never kept them very warm but she appreciated what warmth it did provide, now that her entire backside was exposed. Only the thin striped uniform covered her, and just barely.

She fought the lump again, her head lying on her arm right behind her daughter. This was never supposed to be this way. Hanna curled her daughter tighter in her arms and tried to fall back into the fitful sleep she had awoken from.

Morning would come sooner than wanted. It would come even though she didn’t want it to arrive at all. How easily she could slip off into a deep sleep and never awaken.

 

She couldn’t do that though. Not to her little Eva. Eva deserved so much more than she currently had. She didn’t need to wake up cold and alone…or worse, wake to find her mother beside her; never to smile at her again.

The tears she tried to keep in check began to roll over the bridge of her nose and fall onto her cheek. Hanna knew of other mothers who had gone that way.

There were also those who had carefully covered their sleeping children’s faces until the cruelty of this existence was no more. Hanna couldn’t do that. It wasn’t that she hadn’t thought of it; but she wouldn’t do it. Eva was her whole world, but was she being selfish keeping her here?

She had to keep hoping. She had to keep living. She could not lose that small shred of hope, no matter how fragile it was. Besides her beautiful and solemn little Eva, it was the only thing she had left. Hope.

Some of the other women in “camp” clicked their tongues at her, scolding without any words needing to be said. Reminding her that her faith and hope were wasted; there was no rescue coming. There never would be, and she was a fool for thinking otherwise.

That small shred of hope was all she had though. Of course it would be a cold day in hell before and even if any hope of rescue would ever be realized. But what did she have to lose holding that hope in her heart? She was already in hell, and it was spelled Majdanek.

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