Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

I Am Old, I Am Sick, I Do Not Want to Die in Auchwitz

Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

I Am Old, I Am Sick, I Do Not Want to Die in Auchwitz

Article excerpt

on a sub zero night January 18

fast approaching the gates of

Auschwitz, Rapael, then 19,

was forced into line with

thousands of Jewish prisoners

under the light of the full moon.

The bright moon brought an

unearthly clarity to a moment

of dread. Shouting Nazis

separated emaciated prisoners,

some barely able to move,

into groups of 500. For a fleeting

moment Rafael thought they

might all be killed right there.

A French Jew hauled to the camp

on a cattle car after his arrest

in Lyon 11 months earlier

made a promise to survive the

ordeal. The thing he'd seen

had already tested his will to live.

But what came next, was a

different kind of horror:

the death march. The Nazis

pushed tens of thousands of

weakened prisoners into long

treks bound for other facilities

farther west. On hard ice

the prisoners marched in shoes

of cloth and wood that quickly fell

apart. The worst were barefoot

and within a few hours were

swollen, their bloody soles sticking

to the ice with each step. …

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