Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land

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

ALIENATION

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

____________________
*
Concentration camp about twenty miles east of Gdansk (Danzig) and three hundred miles north of Auschwitz, on the Baltic Sea, opened in September 1939. Survivors of the uprising in the Bialystok Ghetto were sent there in the summer and fall of 1943
An industrial city with a substantial Jewish population before World War II, on the Polish-Russian border. Bialystok was under German occupation from 15 to 22 September at which time it was ceded to the USSR. The Germans re-occupied the city from 27 June 1941 to 27 July 1944

-3-

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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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