The travels of the mind that have taken me once again through the war-torn years of my growing up merge into our present trip as if the intervening lifetime were something I had read about in someone else's book. Seeing the East German uniforms, at a glance indistinguishable from those worn by the German soldiers in World War II, bridges the gap uncannily. The unpleasant border incident infuses an element of danger and fear unlike any I have experienced since I left Silesia as a teenager, a fitting link across the years. Was coming back a mistake after all? Again, as I had thought many times while reliving and recording the war and postwar events, I find myself thinking: No one should have to pass that way twice, and never by choice. But just as those stories, once begun, had generated a life of their own and been swept on by their own momentum, there is no turning back for me now.
The dark and silence in the van have left each of us alone with our reflections. I force myself back to the reality of our journey. The roads should become familiar, but the night and the foreign names of the communities through which we pass continue to confuse me.
I ask Hans: "Where are we? I know I have been here before."