I lay on the lowest bunk of a three-decker bed, wrapped in a blanket. I was not cold. I was not hungry. I had drunk enough cold water to quench my thirst. I had gotten rid of the lice. You might say that I felt happy. Around me people were asleep. A ray of hope crept into my heart. Maybe here, in Stutthof,*. I would manage to last through the war. After three nights and three days of a terrible trip in a stifling, closed freight car, without food or water, we had stopped suddenly in a pine forest. A cold snow mixed with rain was falling, but the trees were green, and the leaves made a rustling noise. It had been two years since I last saw a tree. There were no trees in the ghetto and none in the Bialystok†. prison, and maybe because of that their aroma and rustling struck me as being unusual.
On the very first evening I drank water -- simple, cold water -- from the sink. But I had been dreaming about one drop for three days and nights of travel in the closed freight car, during which time my tongue had dried out like a piece of leather. I kept hearing a terrible hum in my temples, and one thought kept going through my mind, that I might die before having had a drink of water. Right after our arrival, a Polish kapo from Poznan took us to the toilet, where there were sinks with running water. I could not tear myself away. It had a taste of heaven, and to this very day I can still feel that taste in my mouth. We were the first Jewish transport to arrive in Stutthof, a motley crew who shared nothing in common but the tragedy of having been born Jewish. No wonder we met with little sympathy from the other prisoners. Nobody____________________