Vol. 12


Camp Dread

1945; northwestern Poland

It was sometime around late February or early March when my great-grandpa was on his way to Poland with the army during World War II. The road was cold, and my great-grandpa was trying to prevent the Nazi army from reaching the Allies’1 main army, which was currently trying to get deeper into Germany.

When my great-grandpa’s group was walking the road to Poland, they came across a small village. It was very small, and there weren’t many people living there. One of the soldiers spotted a dirt trail through the woods, so they followed it. It led to what one would call a small town, but instead of houses, there were barracks. There were bodies lying everywhere. The small place was surrounded by a barbwire fence. When the men saw a few German soldiers, they realized it was a Nazi concentration camp. My great-grandpa’s group of soldiers quickly shot the Germans. In each corner of the barbwire fence there was a stone tower. There was an odor so foul it hurt.

When my great-grandpa’s group entered the camp, there were half-dead people crawling on the bloody turf of the camp. Many of these people were missing several limbs. There was a trail in the back of the camp that led a mile or two into the bosk2 that surrounded the camp. At the end of the trail were a few pits filled with the corpses of captives. The soldiers walked through the camp only to find more and more of what looked like zombies. The “zombies” all had numbers tattooed onto their skin. These people were sick. They had been tortured and starved so badly that you could see their bones through their skin.

These people were going to die, so my great-grandpa and the rest of the soldiers went back to the small village to get help. They gathered all men seventeen and older to help the people at the concentration camp, whether they wanted to help or not, and most of them did not want to. They led the villagers to the camp to help the soldiers aid the “zombies.” The soldiers tried to give the people of the concentration camp drugs to make them feel better. The soldiers wrapped the wounds of the people in gauze and bandages. They tried to identify the people by asking the villagers, but sadly, many of the people’s identities remained unknown. The soldiers forced the German civilians to take the dead bodies to the trenches.

After several days of hard work, the area was considered safe. The soldiers continued on their journey to Poland. My great-grandpa has seen some gruesome things, but none of them can compete with the horror, the stench, and the gore of those days in Germany.

Sam Stephens; Missouri, USA


1. The Allies were the twenty-six countries, including Great Britain, the United States, France, and the Soviet Union (USSR), that fought against Germany, Japan, and other countries in World War II.

2. A bosk is a small area with dense shrubs or small trees.



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