"I'll tell you what happened to them, this family you knew," Schaefer said. "If they were treated like the others, they were pulled out of the ghetto. They were forced into trains- men and women and children, young and old- and they were shipped to death camps."
"This is all a lie. You've accepted the lies of our enemies. I'm telling you, Schaefer, stop now, because I won't listen." He pushed his fingers up under the curve of his helmet, clamped his hands over his ears.
"Hitler is gassing these people, Dieter- and burning their bodies."
Dieter pulled his hands down. "Burning them? What in the world are you talking about?"
"It's done by the SS. The cowards murder Jews, then drag their bodies off to the ovens and burn them. I have talked to a man who did all these things- a guard who bragged about the number of Jews who could be burned in a day, the thousands and thousands he had put to death."
"He was a liar, then. I have no idea why you want to believe all this." Dieter was sickened by the thought of such a thing, but he knew it couldn't be true. His Hitler Youth leader had told him that lies like this sometimes circulated, but they were senseless. Why would Germans kill people when labour was so much in demand? It wasn't logical. Some people only wanted to make Germans look bad, didn't care about the truth.But Dieter knew there was no use talking to Schaefer. As soon as he had the chance, Dieter would have to report the man, get him off the line.
"Dieter, listen to me. You have yo know this- whether you want to or not."
"No. I don't have to hear it. I hate these lies."
"When this war is over, Dieter, all this will come out. I hope, by then, you lie in bed at night and remember this day and those boys you killed. I hope you'll be ashamed to know you fought for Hitler- a little madman."
"Be quiet. That's enough." He grabbed his ears harder this time, began to hum, so he wouldn't be able to hear. But Schaefer grabbed Dieter's wrists, hard, and jerked his arms down. "I shot at no one today, Dieter. I aimed beneath those boys. I didn't kill a single one of them. But I killed, killed plenty in Russia, and what I wish is that I had died instead. I'm ready to die anytime."
"You're a coward. You listen to lies, and then you put your comrades in danger be refusing to shoot the enemy. You will be hanged if you make it through this battle. I'll see to it that you are."
But Dieter was only saying words now, and he was struggling to believe them. He needed his Hitler Youth leader. He needed those who knew the whole truth to join with him. It was too hard to take Schaefer by himself.
"I want you to live Dieter. I want you to live long enough to be ashamed. It's what you deserve. Maybe you've been duped and misguided, but there's something wrong with German boys like you- and me- that we fall for these things. Hitler visits with you in his fancy train, gives you a piece of junk medal, hardly worth a mark or two, and you're willing to die for that. What's wrong with you? Do you have any idea?"
I don't know if he's got to write a book report on it but yeah... lol =)