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Transcript of Night
Not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch. Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, i did see this, with my own eyes… children thrown into flames.
Dozens of inmates were ready to receive us, sticks in hand, striking anywhere, anyone, without reason.
One day when Idek was venting his fury, i happened to cross his path. He threw himself onto me like a wild beast, beating me in the chest, on my head throwing me to the ground and picking me up again, crushing me with ever more violent blows, until i was covered in blood. As i bit my lip in order not to howl with pain, he must’ve mistaken my silence for defiance and so he continued to hit me harder and harder.
“There are eighty of you in the car,” the german officer added. “If anyone goes missing, you will all be shot, like dogs.”
“Meir, my little meir! Dont you recognize me… youre killing your father… i have bread… for you too… for you too…” he collapsed. But his fist was still clutching a small crust. He wanted to raise it to his mouth. But the other threw himself on him. The old man mumbled something, groaned, and died. Nobody cared. His son searched him, took the crust of bread, and began to devour it. He didnt get far. Two men had been watching him. They jumped him. Others joined in. when they withdrew, there were two dead bodies next to me, the father and the son.
Then came the march past the victims. The two men were no longer alive. Their tongues were hanging out, swollen and bluish. But the third rope was still moving: the child, too light, was still breathing…
And he began beating him with an iron bar. At first, my father simply doubled over under the blows, but then he seemed to break in two like an old tree struck by lightning.
They were forced to dig huge trenches. When they had finished their work, the men from the Gestapo began theirs. Without passion or haste, they shot their prisoners, who were forced to approach the trench and offer their necks. Infants were tossed into the air and used as targets for the machine guns.
Outside, the SS walked by, shouting: “throw out all the dead! Outside, all the corpses!” the living were glad. Hey would have more room. Volunteers began the task. They touched those who had remained on the ground. “Here’s one! Take him!” the volunteers undressed him and eagerly shared his garments.
One day when we had come to a stop, a worker took a piece of bread out of his bag and threw it into a wagon. There was a stampede. Dozens of starving men fought desperately over a few crumbs. The worker watched the spectacle with great interest.