They wrote it this week: From the pox to an Amazonian farm girl


They wrote it this week: From the pox to an Amazonian farm girl

Extracts from diary entries and letters written between May 20 and May 26


May 20
1941, the Warsaw Ghetto
I look with a feeling of pride on these ranks of boys and girls who march along the ghetto streets, returning from work outside. All of them are tanned by the sun and refreshed by the free air they have breathed in the fields beyond the city. From their knapsacks protrude red radishes and golden young carrots. Every one of them carries a loaf of fresh bread received from the peasants. Officially it is forbidden to bring bread in from the outside, but in this case, the Germans let it pass because they need the manpower of these young people.

Mary Berg, Holocaust survivor, 1924-2013. (At this relatively early stage of the Holocaust, the Nazis were using Jewish volunteers from the ghetto as agricultural labourers.)

The Diary of Mary Berg: Growing up in the Warsaw Ghetto edited by SL Shneiderman, Oneworld, 2018
May 21
1945, Prague
16 days after liberation, 12 days after the end of the war.
In clean clothes, sewn by hand from SS bedcovers, with a full stomach, in a second-class local train. The final screech of the brakes and the loudspeaker announces up and down the platform: “The train from Mauthausen is departing on track three!”..

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