Peace Without Honor
For days the military convoys have been roaring through the village. Hardly anyone ventures out, and the fields go untended. When there is a break between columns, an oppressive silence reigns, more paralyzing than the noise of the traffic. Once we rush to the window because we think we can hear a German marching band. The rhythmic sounds come closer and closer, and the glint of metal instruments darts in the distance. When the musicians come into sight, they are Russians, of course, yet the music they play has the same triumphant and rousing quality as the marches through which the tread of German soldiers rang for six years.
Sometimes odd hand-clapping and music drift into our upstairs prison so strange that it draws us irresistibly to a window overlooking the yard. There are soldiers strumming triangular string instruments, shouting and singing, while others, sometimes only one, leap and swirl and squat in wild and captivating dance. The exuberance of the strange men is in such contrast to our joyless existence that we momentarily experience vicarious joy. There seems no doubt that the ru-