I am of course aware that this is not in season, but hey, who’s out of sync here?
Here we go, Part 2 of me meeting history, in flesh.
The systematic deportation of Jews from the Czech lands began in October, when the first 5 transports left Prague. The passenger included any of the city’s leading professionals and business people.
Everyone says it. Even the newspapers imply as much. Arrests, disappearances, deportations. Thousands of Jews have been rounded up in Prague and sent to Poland.
They say the fortress at Terezin is being turned into a ghetto. The Jews are to be concentrated there. That’s the story.
“Line up! An officer called in French and German. Get in line! Papers! Have your papers ready! “
The queues shuffled forward. Passports were being stamped. Passengers were climbing back on board. Once they had got past the desk, people were going back on board. But some were being taken away. (…) Problems with papers, questions of identity, that kind of thing.
How many times did my heart sink when crossing the border to Romania?
How long did I hate my blue, useless Moldovan passport which labeled me and limited not only my steps but my thinking? How many sleepless nights, crammed in the bus seat, together with many other Moldovan, trembling or sweating at the borders waiting for the verdict-go on or stop.
Von Dachau nach Mauthausen
Am 9.Main wird ein Transport nach Mauthausen zusammengestellt.
Wir sammeln uns in einer leer stehenden Baracke.Bis 11 Uhr müssen wir warten. Wir sind alle froh, dass wir Dachau den Rücken kehren dürften.*1
My family – me, my wife and two children. And the children’s nanny. And her daughter.
Come forward woman, he said. Katalin stood in front of him, trembling.
Is this the woman’s child?
It’s all right, Liesel replied. She’s with us. We’ll look after her.
She must go with her mother.
Nach eineinhalb Stunden Fußmarsch nähern wir uns dem Lager.Es liegt in einer huegeligen Landschaft, die mich lebhaft an das Tiroler Mittelgebirge erinnert. Kühle Tannenwaelder wechseln mit weiten Wiesen ab.*2
What the devil’s going on? Viktor demanded.
A procedural issue. The rest of you may move on.
Zehn Minuten führt den Weg noch leicht bergan, dann erreichen wir das auf einem großen Hügel liegender Lager.
Es besteht aus achtzehn Häftlingsbaracken. Auf den ersten Block erkenne ich, dass Dachau ein Sanatorium gegen Mauthausen ist. Die Baracken sind in einem verwahrlosten Zustand *3
I loved her. It’s different. Love for one doesn’t mean hate for another.
Did you ever love me?
Auf dem Appellplatz stehen viele Wassertümpel.Wir müssen warten und schauen uns in unseren neuen Umgebung neugierig um. Es sind nur Grüne und Braune im Lager, Berufsverbrecher und Asoziale.Wir sind die ersten politischen Häftlinge in Mauthausen. Zu meiner Genugtuung ist kein Isolierblock vorhanden, es gibt nur den einen Drahtzaun, der das ganze Lager einschließt.*4
Like a desert oasis, culture and the arts enlivened the ghetto’s landscape.There was a constant menu of lectures, readings and plays (…)
The Nazis deprived inmates of their physical freedom but not of their capacity to think.
The prison included people eager to exchange ideas about logistics, botany, anthropology, theology, literature almost everything.
Einmal veranstalteten zwei Wiener Juden einen Liederabend auf unserem Block. Der eine Jude ist ein bekannter Wiener Komponist, er macht seine Sache so gut, dass sogar der Blockführer neugierig hineinschaut.-Ein beliebtes Spiel unter den Häftlinge ist das “Watscheln”, bei dem flache Steine aus einer bestimmten Entfernung in einen Kreis geworfen werden, in dem ein größerer Stein das Ziel markiert.
Der Sonntag vergeht meist mit Putzen und Reinigen. Beim Frieseur müssen wir stundenlang anstehen.Der Rest des Tages verbringen wir mit Tauschgeschäfte. Brot ist der begehrteste Artikel.*5
For months, an elite unite of Czech and Slovak officers had been undertaking missions in their homeland.Supervised by the British, parachutists were taught to operate. Radios, shoots, fight, read maps, live off the land, resist interrogation, handle explosives and jump out of airplanes without injury.
-It sounds fascinating
-I am not sure that’s the word I would use.You must warn your parents that if you accept this work, you will, to all intents and purposes, disappear from their lives until it is all over.
-And if they catch me?
-Use your cover story for as long as you can.If things get silly..
-It’s been silly all the time.
She swings in the wind for a moment. Ahead of her the black bulk of the aircraft roars on, shedding another parachute, Benoit’s, the canopy opening out and floating like a great white jellyfish in the flood of the night.And then the ground, which for a moment has been something remote and theoretical, comes up to hit her and she is rolling in the earth and grass and being dragged by the billowing silk until she does what they were taught to do at Ringway, pull on the rigging lines to empty the air and collapse the canopy into something manageable, a great bundle of silk sheet.
Two German refugees, Bertolt Brecht and the incomparable director Fritz Lang created …
Hangmen also die– a movie based on the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi Reich Protector of German occupied Prague.
Vienna has changed. The city of dreams has become the city of nightmares, a city of fear and anticipation. A tide of political violence lapped around the ponderous baroque buildings and although the jolly music, the waltz and the polkas continued to be played in the cafes and the ballrooms, the dance was a dance of death.
The goal we seek, the goal we hope for comes not as some final reward but as the hidden companion to our quest.
It is not what we did, but the reason we cannot stop looking and striving, that tells us why we are here.
From Dachau to Mauthausen
On 9th of May will be organized the transport to Mauthausen. We gather in an empty shack. We have to wait until 11 o’clock.We are all happy because we can leave Dachau.
*2 After an hour and a half of walking we are approaching the camp. It is situated in a hilly region which reminds me of the Tyrolean High hills. Cooling fir woods alternate with large meadows.
We walk ten more minutes uphill until we reach the camp, situated on a big hill.It is formed out of eighteen prisoners’ shacks. I can see at the first glance that Dachau was a sanatorium compared to Mauthausen. The shacks are in a miserable state.
On roll-call meeting place there are many water ponds.We have to wait and we are looking around with curiosity at the surroundings. In the camp are only Grüene and Braune, professional criminals and anti-socials.We are the first political prisoners.To my relief, there is no isolation shack, there is only the wired fence surroundings the whole camp.
One time two Jews organised a singing evening in our block. One of them is a well known Viennese composer, he knows what he ‘s doing, even the commander is looking curiously. “Watscheln” is a preferred game among the prisoners, you have to throw into a circle, from a certain distance, flat stones. Inside the circle a bigger stone is marks the target.
During Sunday we clean and wash ourselves. We have to wait for hours at the hairdresser.The rest of the day is spent with exchange. The bread is the mostly craved item.
There is nothing that your spirit can’t do
Whatever trouble in your life right now, remember that it will be over the instant you accept it and say, that’s it. Breath. Let it be.
When you feel a little stronger ask- What can I do now? What should I renounce to?What should I become? Why am I in this situation. I am sure, an answer will pop into your heart. Listen to that voice.