Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land

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

REVENGE OF A DANCER

During the summer of 1944 the transports used to arrive at Auschwitz at night as well as in the daytime. We often woke up because of the shouting of the SS men, the barking of dogs, the whistling of trainmen, the stamping of hundreds of feet, and the cries of desperation in different languages. At night the atrocities combined with our sleeplessness to give us a very vivid sense of existing in a factory of death. And yet, it all appeared unreal.

This particular July night it was the shouting of the SS men and the barking of the dogs that awakened me. I was lying on my narrow mattress thinking of those unfamiliar people going on their last trip. Suddenly the air was shattered by a series of shots, and then you could hear the sound of someone running. Then more shots, more shouts, and lamentations. It lasted a long time, almost the whole of a short summer night. Something was going on at the train station. Someone had fouled up an order given by the Germans.

According to my usual custom, I went to the infirmary before roll call, not yet dressed. Since there was running water in the infirmary it was possible for me to wash up. At the gate of the infirmary I met Marusia.

"Come quickly to the infirmary," she said. "We have to figure what we should do."

Except for the two of us, everybody was already in the infirmary. There was a young girl wearing Mancy's sweater. She sat there hunched over, so frightened that she did not know what she was saying. We knew we had to get all the information immediately in order to help her. She spoke French and a little German. Marusia ran to get Masha, who was French, in the hope that the girl would trust her more than she trusted us and would tell us how she managed to get here so early in the morning with practically no clothes on.

When Marusia had arrived that morning she found the girl, who had barely managed to cover herself with a rag that had been

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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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