For the next few hours, the truck becomes your world. The rain is so thick and dense that you can’t even see the vehicle behind you.
You talk to some friends, trying to find out what is happening, but they don’t know anything more than you. Besides, the drum of the rain on the tarpaulin above means that you have to shout to be heard. Even then it is a struggle to hear each other’s voice.
After an age, the truck pulls into a train station.
You’ve seen the train station in your village, but this place is on a whole different scale. A long, old train that looks like it is used to transport animals waits on the rails. Next to it is a huge concrete platform, cracked and pockmarked in a hundred places.
There are hundreds of people at the station. Red-eyed and weeping, and all bearing the Star of David on their chest, the SS load them onto the carriages.
You and your parents join onto the end of a line, squinting to keep the rain out of your eyes. You keep your head down you walk between tall, German soldiers towards the train. They kick you, call you names and even spit on you. You try to shield your head with your arms, but you are powerless to stop them. You feel weak, insignificant and helpless.
You and your parents climb into a decrepit wooden carriage, bruised and shaken.
Inside, the carriage looks even worse than it had outside. It is cladded with wood, old and rotten. The only window is too small to let in enough light and tucked into a corner.
More people file in behind you, making it too crowded to sit. You are pressed up against the side of the carriage, a couple of meters away from the window. The pencil in your pocket presses against your leg. You would cry if your warm, comforting parents weren’t standing next to you.
The doors slam shut. You are thrown into the dark, the tiny window the only source of light.
It takes over half an hour for the train to roll out of the station. People start crying, but the drumming of the rain drowns them out.