Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land

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

THE ROAD BACK

Do you know what," the older lady from Lodz said to me, "I will tie your feet to these bars, because we could have an accident." Through my sleep I felt her tying my legs to the bars with a scarf. "The car is open, and if it should give a sudden jerk you could go flying." I heard her subdued voice through the roar of the wheels. "Mrs. is sleeping in a sitting position," she said, "and there could be a misfortune because it is easy to fall off. But the scarf will hold you."

Actually, I was not sleeping, only napping. I dozed on and off, dreaming a little. I was satisfied that I was headed for home. I did not have a home to return to this very minute, but I would certainly have one in Poland, in this new people's Poland. The trip on an open car was not comfortable, especially with the bars pinching my flesh, but I was moving forward, and for me that was the most important thing right then. It was no easy matter for me to get on this train in the first place.

Right after 9 May, Klara and the Hungarian woman came down with stomach typhus. A military ambulance took them to the hospital in Röbel. The next day I started getting ready to return to my country. I prepared myself psychologically only, because any other means was out of the question. Every day I went to the station with the older lady and her daughter, counting on some lucky break that would enable me to get back to my country. I felt myself suffocating in this little German town. I could not bear to look at the women in their white aprons, working in their gardens, carrying on their calm, normal, everyday lives.

I always took my possessions with me: one new sheet and a white tablecloth with a monogram in the corner. We did not have much food, but at that point I was not really interested in food. All I cared about was finding a way to get home.

I remember the twenty-first of May. As usual, we came to the station very early. I wandered out onto the tracks and saw a long line of cars loaded with iron bars. There was a convoy of Russian

-155-

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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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