The Last Chance to Remember
Chapter 19. RAVENSBRUCK
the usual commanding voice we were ordered to line up in double file.
We had to follow the directions although we didn't expect anything good.
We were ready for the announcement and now we heard with disbelief that
a surprise was in store for us. By standing two abreast we discovered
that one of us, myself or my sister, was left alone in the last row.
Since we had lived with distrust for the past months, we couldn't believe
that something good should happen to us. We found a girl who was alone
and begged her if she would change her place with us. She didn't care
and was willing to move.
happened later could be a joke, but in reality this was the naked truth.
Many boxes were piled up in front of us and the Red Cross started to
distribute those parcels to us. In accordance with the facts the truth
is that we were supposed to have been getting those parcels monthly
but instead they had disappeared in thin air. But at this time they
were in front of us and unopened. Every twosome row received one whole
parcel, only the girl who was in the last row alone, had the box just
parcel came as though from heaven. We never dreamed such a beautiful
thing could happen to us. When we opened our treasure, we couldn't take
our eyes away and examined every single thing again and again. Neatly
packed, clean, real edible things, everything wrapped and not touched
by anyone yet. Cocoa, instant coffee, chocolate, crackers, biscuits
and even cigarettes. The smokers had suffered another measure of hardship
all the time. On our wanderings we all watched the road for cigarette
butts collecting them. The cast away cigarette butts had been a treasure,
now we had a brand new, real cigarette pack which we could exchange
for food. At a time, when we had absolutely nothing to eat, not even
a little hope for some food, this parcel was a double blessing.
the end was real chaos. They had nothing for us and we could see the
fear in the guards eyes. Probably they were contemplating what was in
store for them in the near future?
situation became more uncertain day by day. In this camp we had another
chance to look for relatives and tried to look around. We saw stiff,
naked bodies thrown on a big pile. I looked there and I also looked
away. I watched those bodies with deep seated anguish for I was afraid
what I might find. My dear mother had an operation in her younger years
and the mark was visible all her life.
there was a call that they needed a few people for work. We never knew
what to expect, but our meager situation was pushing us to try. So,
poor Olly, my sister, tried her luck and unfortunately fell into a commando
where the work was much too hard and even harder to remember, or try
to forget. I mentioned before that we had spotted a pile of corpses
already rigid and stiff along the whole length of a wall. This wall
belonged to the crematorium; so poor girls, including my sister, had
to gather the remaining parts of the bodies, the bones and carry the
heavy load in little wagons to the end of the lager near to the river.
There they had the sorrowful task of burying everything and raking the
top to cover up.
thank God, she got away from there but it was a terrible experience.
I was working somewhere else. On the way back Olly found a powder case
which she gave to the kapo who gave her two slices of bread for this
treasure. It was a lifesaver.
a short stay we had to hit the road again. It really is very hard to
describe the situation or what we saw there. The roads were full, fleeing
civilians with crying children, dogs, and carriages. Children were yelling
and also groups of häftlings, prisoners like us all over in every
direction. Again there were air raids, hurrying into the ditches, we
were already more than exhausted. We were pushed all the time although
we had hardly any strength. I was the last one in the group and I was
sure that my last strength was ebbing slowly away. I had a most unpleasant
problem for I had developed diarrhea. I wondered how they let me shuffle
after them, but the group was able to wait for me until I could reach
them. From somewhere a bed sheet was found which they tied around my
body. The sheet was longer than my coat, so it was hanging and showing
a piece from my coat, but who cared?
Gypsies or any homeless creatures couldn't look worse. We were so very tired as we tried to cope with everything, carrying our burdensome life, our emaciated, light, thin body in rags into uncertainty.