Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land

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

We were awakened by the sounds of rifle butts banging on the gates of the infirmary and by the yelling of the Germans.

"Open! Quick!"

We jumped out of bed. We put on whatever was at hand. We were so nervous that everything flew out of our hands.

"Open up quickly!" they screamed from the other side of the gate.

Dr. Koenig and a few SS men burst into the infirmary. They were dressed as if for a trip, with hats and rucksacks, and they were armed.

"Give us all the documents! Sick charts, the admissions books, everything! Don't hide anything," Koenig said threateningly.

We dragged out everything. An SS man was loading the papers into a big sack, which he would tie with a thick rope. Koenig was looking through all the cards. Then he looked at us as though he was considering something. He noticed our nervousness. It was simply too difficult for us to cover it up.

"Don't be afraid of anything," he said. "We won't leave you to the Bolsheviks."

Finally they left. They took the sack with them.

"He really comforted us," Kwieta joked.

We came out to the front of the infirmary. The snow and frost crunched underfoot. Echoes of artillery fire reached our ears from a distance. Every few minutes rockets illuminated the sky. The Germans were running from the camp. You could hear the murmur of the cars departing.

It was 17 January 1945. Hope tore at our hearts. Maybe the Germans really are fleeing, and maybe they are going to abandon us prisoners. That would have been the best solution.

"Don't delude yourselves," Orli tried to convince us. "The Germans won't leave us to the Bolsheviks. Either they will blow up the camp at the last minute or they will force us into other concentration camps. I know them very well. They will not let

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