Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land

By Sara Nomberg-Przytyk; Eli Pefferkorn et al. | Go to book overview
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THE NEW YEAR'S CELEBRATION

There was a line in front of the mirror hanging on the wall. Everyone wanted to look good tonight. We were all excited, as if we were going to a grand ball. We had to make a celebration of greeting the new year, 1945.

In December we had already decided to celebrate the new year merrily. We were sure that the year 1945 would bring with it the defeat of Germany and that the Russian offensive would sweep away the camp in Auschwitz. Of this much we were certain, but it was difficult to foresee what would happen to us. On this day, however, we did not want to think about that. We had decided that today we would have a good time, just like people throughout the world.

We decorated the infirmary to give it a festive look. We set tables covered with white tablecloths in the middle of the room. On the table were all sorts of dainties that Lucy had been preparing for days. She was the superintendent of the kitchen in the area. The girls had brought her whatever they could manage to grab. Some of us had even hoarded our bread just to make sure that there would not be a shortage at the New Year's Eve party. Everyone had an assigned place at the table. On each plate lay a card with the name and next to it a beautifully painted branch of a pine tree. By each plate lay a star intended as a souvenir. In addition to this there were presents that we gave to each other. I remember that I received a keepsake from Orli, and I had also "organized" something for her. It had cost me a great deal of effort, but I finally managed to get her a beautiful, colored silk scarf.

Next to my table lay a beautifully wrapped package: "For dear Sara, from Orli." Finally, we were all assembled, except for one of the girls who had to stand guard duty in front of the infirmary. Lucy performed the function of hostess. With a pleasant smile she conducted each person to her place. She set a bottle of wine in the middle of the table. "Where did she get it?" I thought with amazement. We called Lucy the ambassador from Luxembourg because

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