My sorrow

“Oh, God, in my sorrow, I turn to Thee.”

We reached a small village by late afternoon. We numbered thousands, hungry and exhausted. An Austrian peasant brought a bag of apples to the edge of the fence and started to throw them toward us. The reaction of the prisoners was wild. But the peasant paid a dear price: she was shot on sight.

Yet the SS members sometimes surprised us with their actions. Together they performed their duties without hesitation, whatever the cruel or vile act. However, alone, when not seen by their comrades, some of them behaved quite differently indeed. For instance, once during a march, an SS soldier rudely broke the line, then secretly handed out sandwiches. On another occasion, the soldiers “mistakenly” gave out more food than the ration permitted. Humanity can be seen even in such a place as this! It was as if rare vegetation had appeared miraculously on a rock.