Josef Mengele, by Kayla Lee - Young Writer's Competition 2017 Final

Kayla Lee

Voting is now open in the 2017 Around DB and Life on Lantau Young Writer's Competition, sponsored by Bookazine. This piece about Josef Mengele by Kayla Lee, a Year 9 student from YHKCC, has been shortlisted for the final, along with two other entries.

The annual competition once again saw lots of great submissions from secondary students living and/ or attending school across Lantau, who were asked to write an account from the perspective of a famous historical figure.

Congratulations to all the participants, and good luck to our finalists!

To vote, head to the Around DB Facebook page and comment on the pinned post at the top of the page, with the name of the author, or the title of your favourite story, or alternatively, click 'like' on the individual Facebook post linking to your favourite story. You can also cast your vote by commenting below the story on the Around DB website.

By Kayla Lee - Year 9, YHKCC
Mentored by Trisha Hughes

I never imagined I would find solace in my solitude on the shores of Argentina. The warm feeling of golden sand fades as I step into the midmost mulch, and I search for my homeland over the horizon, millions of miles away. The waves beckon to me, seemingly willing to wash away any traces of so-called sin. The bitter tang of salt on the wind and the ominous calls of seabirds worsen the explosions in my head, elevating them from mere fireworks to nuclear demons at full velocity.

Nobody here knows me. There are no admirers here to sing my praises. It irritates me to think that there are people in the world who go to sleep at night without worries, people who have never known the great deeds I’ve done for them.

My head is pounding, so unlike my heart. It does no use to follow the heart. I am a sadist, and rightfully so. Kindness would have gotten me nowhere in these times. I was respected – feared, even, by the strongest of my subordinates. I had the power of life and death in my hands, the power to either condemn prisoners to a painful end or reach out to them as a saviour. I was Julius Caesar and they were the slaves. Or rather, I was the Angel of Death, cold and aloof, separated from mortal woes.

I remember the first day at Auschwitz, the hordes of bewildered, trembling creatures herded like cattle. Mothers clutched their children and husbands as if their lives depended on it. Not that it mattered – most of them would have been dead within the year, if not for my intervention. They stank like the dead, and looked halfway there.

Those foolish soldiers were too idiotic to realise the potential that the prisoners had as my lab rats. All they cared about was their bloody glory. They never realised the full extent I would go to in order to help them, and all of my fellow Nazis.

This was my gateway to greatness, and my chance to raise myself above the pawns. And with the earnings that have been hard won by myself, I’ve managed to give my family a good life and future. Rolf, my dear son, will never have to struggle for food nor money.

I am strangely calm as the tainted water envelopes me, seeping through my nostrils and into my lungs. I get up with an aching body and iron will, and tread deeper.

And speaking of Rolf, was he the same as all the gypsy twins who called me Uncle Josef? Could they have been just as human and innocent as he was in infantile form, just as susceptible to pain? Did Irene shudder at the thought of my work when Rolf asked what his father did to ensure the both of them were safe and well? Did she think of me as a monster not unlike the ones from my own son’s childhood tales? Or was I a hero to her just as much as I was to Rolf, another man fighting to win the war?

No. They were vermin, rightfully exterminated. They would have poisoned the pure bloodlines, and manipulated the innocent Aryans into thinking that they deserved the right of German citizens.

Liquid has replaced the air. I breathe involuntarily. The migraines have finally left me, long enough for me to have my final thoughts. I hope it ends quickly for me.

Will the world know all there is about me? No, I think, as I sink to the bottom, lungs screaming for air as the merciless waves batter me bruised. There is one more thing they don’t know.

I am no monster. It was my duty to contribute to science in the grand scheme of the world. But there is a beast in each and every one of us, and it is futile to struggle to cage it.

The bubbles stream from my mouth as I smile for the last time. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. Nor is there the cruel clutches of hellfire waiting to hold me in its grasp – the end I had once accepted. It’s too late for regrets now.

Photo: Portrait of Kayla Lee by Baljit Gidwani -

You can read the entries from the other two 2017 finalists via the links below:

Anne Frank, by Janice Ho - Young Writer's Competition 2017 Final

Harriet Tubman, by Sienna Bertamini - Young Writer's Competition 2017 Final

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