In those last few months I happened to find myself in peculiar situations. These situations were so far from anything logical that I could not believe in their reality. First there was the bizarre New Year's Eve celebration of 1945, when, surrounded by electric fences, we inmates of the concentration camp joined in camaraderie in singing the "Internationale." Then there was the enchanted sled that the obersturmführer put me into when I could not walk any farther; and the blanket that warmed my freezing body, which was given to me by an outstretched hand in the darkness. And now, 1 May 1945, there I was between Röbel and Rostock. Behind the stack, on the side away from the road, we placed a long, massive table and two benches that we had dragged out of the barracks on the evening of the first day. The table was used by the tenants of all those holes in the huge haystack. There was Sasha, a Russian, a tall blond man with a laughing face; Rene, a Frenchman, short and fat, and very witty; Irene and Janek, Poles, brother and sister, from Lodz. There was also an older Jewish woman with a twelve-year-old daughter, a sweet, pretty girl. She had come to Auschwitz in the summer of 1944, from the Lodz Ghetto, and miraculously succeeded, without any help, in smuggling her daughter into the camp and later in placing her on the block. Now they were together, and the mother's happiness knew no bounds. Further down the table sat two men from Poznan. They described themselves as professional pickpockets. All the day before they had been busy dragging valises full of goods from the nearby town. "We are taking back from the Germans what they took from us," they said. Finally, there was a Hungarian woman and a Slovak woman, and, not least, Klara and I.
On the table there was a large bowl of potatoes, standing next to a pot of horse meat and a pitcher of red borscht. In front of us were plates, spoons, and cups. Sasha was talking about May 1. He made a toast to the Red Army, which had frightened the Germans, so that now they were running away. We all lifted our cups of