The Last Chance to Remember
Chapter 18. THE LAST MARCH
left Glowen. With heavy hearts we started another long journey into
the unknown. This one lasted three long weeks, laboriously walking day
and night. Step by step we tried to keep pace with each other, never
daring to hope we could get out alive from this chaos. Our guards were
still with us, although some very suddenly changed their uniform for
civilian clothes. Hope and fear were constantly with us. Since we were
working on different commandos (working groups) we all knew that the
road which we just started on was full of danger. Underground and on
both sides the bushes and trees were covered with hidden, very dangerous
road was beautifully asphalted pavement and the march went on seriously,
very quietly, nobody talked. We didn't need any warning not to talk.
We didn't utter a word, just walked and didn't dare to look at either
side, because the briar bushes were on fire already. The bible story
came to my mind with the burning bush. We walked among the burning rose
bushes and the bombs were coming down, falling and soon everything was
engulfed in flames and we were in the middle of all this, just walking,
going on. This was really one of those most unforgettable experiences,
miracles, how did we escape this part unhurt. I will never understand
how we were not hit! This was supposed to be the last chapter or the
beginning of the last chapter of our odyssey.
were in constant danger, with air raids and hunger escorting us everywhere.
If the air raids came too close, we had to hide in the ditches as deep
as possible, and lie on our stomachs. Of course, hunger was the worst
thing. There was no hope or place from which we could hope to get something
we found something, fine, if not, the grass was still there. Hunger
is a big master we discovered again and again. We discovered with great
satisfaction that some of our guards wore civilian clothing and didn't
have such a big voice right now. The road was full of people, civilians
and all kinds, like ourselves, families with children, with old people
trying to save themselves and some of their belongings. So we just followed
everybody else. It seemed like the whole world was on the road.
went in every direction, so it happened sometimes that the road was
quite clear for a while. We just walked breathlessly. It was obvious
what danger we were in. The sirens and bombings never stopped. They
were escorting us. Just how we got out of this nobody can say. This
was not a regular march anymore.
a single word we reached the railway station Nitzow. We had to cross
some tracks. The whole station was in flames, so we were very eager
to get out of there. Our column became a very pitiful sight. I was wandering
among the very last ones and will never understand that they let us
follow the others. In slow motion, we tried to catch up with the others,
who were somewhat ahead of me. My sister was also in bad shape, so we
tried to help each other.
was a wagon pulled by younger people, where the very weak or sick marchers
were able to rest a little bit. By Clara's intervention, my sister Olly
got a little place there. Some of the girls objected, so a struggle
took shape and the wagon wheels hurt Clara's toes. It must have been
very painful but luckily nothing serious happened. In the meantime we
had to go on. We stopped for a short while in two small camps and spent
many nights in barns in the hay.
factories and private homes were evacuated, fleeing families discarded
many things that had become a burden on the road. We could find all
kinds of things, only we didn't have the strength to carry them. I found
a typewriter, only a small manual, and probably not too heavy in normal
circumstances, but I was not able to lift it. My heart was aching for
it. All kinds of things were scattered all over. Here I found a pair
of man's shoes and kept them. Later I found a violin and used the strings
to replace the shoe laces. This is how I came home, much later.
Here I have to mention something that is vividly in my mind even today. While we were marching suddenly I had the most interesting and funny feeling. I felt suddenly so light that it frightened me. I had to force myself to step down harder to the ground with each step harder, otherwise I would lose ground. We were just dragging ourselves along.