It was fall 1944. On that cloudy day the roll call dragged on endlessly. Every few minutes we would look through the wires only to see columns of tired women. Rapportführer Taube, who had taken over the roll call that day, was running from one block to the other, checking and counting. The SS women ran in his footsteps, terribly nervous. Apparently not knowing what else to do, the blokowe kept calling out, "Achtung!" The women braced themselves for the worst. Later, all the blokowe were called to the rapportführer and issued some sort of order. They quickly returned to their blocks and, with the clerks, wrote down the numbers of the women who were standing in columns. Every prisoner feared that most of all.
"Why are they writing down the numbers?" we wondered. "Are all the prisoners designated for the gas?" In Auschwitz you could expect the worst every minute. Here you walked arm in arm with death.
Having written down the numbers, the blokowe ran to give them to Taube. Right after that the sirens started wailing. For us the wail of the sirens was the most beautiful music we could hear in the camp, because the sirens sounded only for two reasons: when a prisoner escaped or when an "enemy" plane was spotted overhead. The sound of the sirens in this instance meant that a prisoner had escaped. No sooner had the roll call ended than the whole contingent of SS men and their dogs started on the hunt.
The next day we discovered exactly who had escaped. Mala, a Jewess from Belgium who worked as a läufer in the camp, had escaped from the women's section. Her boyfriend, who was a Polish political prisoner, had escaped from the men's section. For a few days the fugitives remained at large. Among the women in our area there was a holiday atmosphere. Since Mala was a member of the anti-Fascist movement, we figured that, if she escaped, she would spread the news of what was happening in this Hell. Now, every time we met we would greet each other with the same questions: "How is it with Mala? Is she still free?" What pleasure