Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land

By Sara Nomberg-Przytyk; Eli Pefferkorn et al. | Go to book overview

THE ROAR OF THE BEAST

Iran into Eva the day after the selection. I was very surprised that she would want to come to the zugangen block, where grief reigned among those of us who were still alive. Since she was a clerk in the neighboring block, she belonged to the elite of the camp. That is why the chain of hands opened before her during the selection. Thanks to her position, she was allowed to move freely in the vicinity of the bath house.

I looked at that sweet, likable young face, which to me appeared to be almost not of this earth. Auschwitz predisposed you to mystical comparisons. To me she was an angel who had snatched me from a terrible death. I just stood there speechless, listening to what she was telling me about herself. She had been brought to Auschwitz in 1942 in a transport of Jews from Radom. She was sixteen years old at the time. Her parents, who had come with her, were sent to the gas immediately. She was left alone on the block of the zugangen. Her parents had been teachers of German in the local gimnasium, and as a result she spoke German fluently. The blokowa, who took notice of her, recommended her to the secretariat as a läufer. A läufer was not a simple courier. The area of the camp extended for several kilometers, and the camp was divided into many areas separated by gates. All of the administrative reports and orders were carried from the main administrative office to the blocks by the lauferki. Usually they were young, beautiful girls, uniformly dressed in sports outfits with white collars, and with the word "lauferka" on the sleeve. As carriers of both good and bad news, they were able to move through the camp freely and were treated respectfully. The camp underground tried to enlist these girls in the organization because they were an excellent source of information on what the Germans were planning to do in the camp. The lauferki could also serve as a communications link among various groups in the organization without being noticed. Thanks to the lauferki it was possible to shelter comrades who were ailing because one of the läufer's duties was to lead prisoners to their assigned komandos.

-31-

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Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Translator's Foreword ix
  • Alienation 3
  • Exchange 8
  • New Arrivals 13
  • Without Pity 17
  • Death of the Zugang 22
  • Salvation 27
  • The Roar of the Beast 31
  • The Infirmary 36
  • What Kind of a Person Was Orli Reichert? 41
  • The Fight for Masha's Life 43
  • A Plate of Soup 45
  • Erika's Red Triangle 48
  • A Peculiar Roll Call 51
  • The Block of Death 53
  • Morituri Te Salutant 58
  • Marie and Odette 63
  • Esther's First Born 67
  • Old Words -- New Meanings 72
  • Children 79
  • A Living Torch 81
  • The Little Gypsy 83
  • Taut as a String 85
  • The Extermination of the Midgets 89
  • Natasha's Triumph 94
  • The Price of Life 98
  • The Lovers of Auschwitz 100
  • The Dance of the Rabbis 105
  • Revenge of a Dancer 107
  • The Verdict 110
  • Friendly Meetings 114
  • Old Women 118
  • Ilya Ehrenburg Addresses Us 121
  • The New Year's Celebration 123
  • The Bewitched Sleigh 127
  • The Camp Blanket 132
  • In Pursuit of Life 137
  • The Plagues of Egypt 142
  • Without the Escorts 146
  • The First Days of Freedom 151
  • The Road Back 155
  • Editors' Afterword 163
  • Glossary 183
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