Outside and inside

“Outside, we were destroyed by weapons; inside, by terror.”

January 1945: We were now with many others near the Austrian border. Imagine the oval brick burner building with its small opening filled with crawling skeletons. For two nights, we were forced to stay in the furnace room. The smell of decomposing bodies and incineration containers full of human excrement was indescribable. In the darkness, we had no way to distinguish the dead from the dying. Millions of lice had invaded us. What a hopeless fight–fingers exhausted from endless scratching and nails broken by futile smashing. This point marked the beginning of an epidemic. My suspicions about our destiny were confirmed.