Odette was French. She was brought to Auschwitz in January 1944. At that time I was still on the block for newcomers. Odette was about fifteen years old, and her mother could not have been older than thirty. They resembled each other, and the mother was young enough so that they looked like sisters. They were both very pretty -- slim, with brown eyes and prominent mouths. Since they spoke only French they did not understand the orders that the sztubowa barked at them, and as a consequence they absorbed many a beating. On several occasions I served as their interpreter; it was perhaps for that reason that they trusted me.
Marie -- that was the mother's name -- was a seamstress. Odette was still a student. They were Parisians. The husband had been shot very soon after the Germans entered Paris. I did not ask why they were arrested. They did not have to confide in me.
One evening, she said to me, "You probably think that they arrested Odette and me because of my activities. Would you believe that it was my little Odette who was fighting against the Germans? I don't know how they happened to get on her trail, but when they came to arrest her I let them take me. It didn't work. They just waited in the house for somebody else to show up. When Odette came they took her too. To this day they don't know who's who. That's how we escaped one severe beating. This way we share the beatings. Now we are in Auschwitz, which we won't be able to survive, because I have a weak heart and Odette is too brave."
Meanwhile, I envied them because they were together. When they cuddled up together, lying on the hard bed, they must have dreamt that they were together in their own home. They went through the selection. Later on, when I went to the hospital I failed to see them.
The spring of 1944 was cold and ugly. I remember how we yearned for warm weather. It was not absolutely vital to us, but we hoped for warm weather for the sake of the women who were coming to the infirmary with frost bite on their arms and legs.