(Page 4 of 6)Report No. 74
Reported by: A. W.
Wednesday, May 9th  was the most horrible day of my life. In the early afternoon that day, my flat was suddenly opened from the outside, and a man wearing the [Czech] tricolor ordered me to follow him. I wasn't allowed to take anything at all with me. I was only just able to put on my coat, but aside from that I was not permitted to take even my handbag, not even a handkerchief. Like that, totally empty-handed, I was expelled. I've never seen my flat again since. On the street, cursing women searched me for weapons, then forced me into a house and shoved me into the cellar there. The cellar door was locked behind me. Once my eyes had adjusted to the dark, I saw that there were already quite a few other unfortunate people huddling in the corners. We were sure that we would be shot. Over and over again the door opened and new delinquents were pushed in. Finally, after perhaps an hour, we were brought out again. The howling crowd greeted us with curses and threw rocks at us, and it was only a few minutes before blood flowed. In the middle of the street stood a big bucket full of white paint. We had to stand facing the wall, and one of the worst agitators - it was the caretaker of house no. 11 in our street - painted huge swastikas on our backs, to the roaring laughter of the spectators. A number of Red Guardsmen then took charge of us - they all wore an armband with the letters R.G., which meant either "Rudá Garda" - Red Guard, or "Revolucní Garda" - Revolutionary Guard - they were choice samples of brutality, apparently convicts released from prison specially for this purpose, and they threw themselves at us with rifle butts and rubber truncheons and urged us to greater speed at the work we were put to. We had to tear down barricades consisting of huge, heavy stones, thick wooden beams and even entire garden gates and wagon wheels. I had eaten almost nothing for four days, hardly slept at all, and felt ghastly. Besides, I was not used to heavy physical labor, and this hard work was simply impossible for me. Therefore I was beaten dreadfully by these dehumanized creatures, with rifle butts, rubber truncheons and whips. We were completely at the mercy of our yelling, shooting tormentors, who rained blows down on us without restraint wherever they could. It was an unimaginable pandemonium. With a superhuman effort of will I remained standing despite all the maltreatment, because God help anyone who fell. The crows howled with glee every time it happened, and clapped their hands in joy. The fallen victim was urged back on his feet with rifle butts. We were spoken to - or more precisely, roared at - in a uniformly rude manner, as "German pig", "German sow", "German whore". Right at the beginning I had already noticed the many glass shards that covered the street, and now we were suddenly ordered to take off our shoes and stockings and to finish our work barefoot. That's why they had scattered glass shards in the street. We had to continue working on dreadfully painful, bleeding feet. In an unsupervised moment I had quickly slipped out of my warm coat and hung it over a garden fence, as I had begun to sweat very much, given the warm May day and how weak I was to begin with. Then, when we were herded on, I was violently prevented from taking my coat with me.
Finally the barricades had been cleared. We were herded together and made to line up in twos. A large picture of Hitler lay on the ground, and everyone had to trample and spit on it. Then we had to kneel down and pray for the souls of the fallen Czechs.
Now, it is almost impossible to move forward in the position described above, on one's knees and with arms raised. Soon all one could see was a mass of tumbling human bodies, a wide, long trail of blood along the entire street, and bestial creatures beating wildly at their victims. The screams of the tortured mingled with the yelling of the guards and the cheering of the crowd. Someone began to pray loudly. Once, a married couple beside me lost their balance. The man seized what he believed to be an unobserved moment to jump to his feet and take a few quick steps. A terrible blow showed him the error of his ways. He collapsed, but his wife had to scramble on. She never found out if he survived. One old man implored them to have mercy on him, being 83 years old. He too fell under a violent blow, accompanied by a terrible curse.
In the beginning, when we had had to line up, we had graciously been allowed to take our shoes again, but not to put them on. So we had to hold them in our raised hands, and suddenly I dropped one. I wanted to quickly pick it up again, when a terrible blow crashed onto the back of my head. Things grew dark before my eyes. I did not lose consciousness, but from that point on I suffered from a constant hissing in my ears, day and night, that almost drove me crazy. Also, as soon as I tried to speak, my hearing faded. I was almost deaf. Speaking was very difficult. This distressing condition only gradually faded after I was already in Germany. Needless to say, I also lost my second shoe.
Suddenly we were ordered to stop. Now a number of women appeared, each of them armed with a pair of scissors, grabbed us women by the hair and cut off the hair on one side of our heads. The cut hair was forcibly stuffed into our mouths. Then the cry rang out, "water!" Interestingly, the spectators immediately understood what was meant by this. Women and men with buckets came out of all the houses and dumped freezing-cold tap water or disgusting filthy water on us.
During this stop, a long column of motorcycles came towards us from the opposite direction. Since we were on our knees and I did not raise my eyes, I only saw a lot of feet, perhaps twenty pairs of men's feet in strong, tough shoes. The column drove past us very slowly, evidently to savor the spectacle we offered. They took the convenient opportunity to treat us kneeling people to powerful kicks in the face.
And finally another group of harridans came to relieve us of our jewelry.
Finally we had reached our destination, the Cinema Slavia in Reif Street (Ripská ulice), which had been designated as concentration camp. Outside the cinema itself a large obstacle was set up which we had to leap over - we, with our throbbing, bloody feet and our tormented, beaten bodies, soaked to the skin. The Cinema Slavia is one of the few ground-level movie houses, not underground like the other Prague cinemas. On one side of the hall there are three large gates that lead into a yard, where in normal times the moviegoers could go during intermission. We were herded into this yard and had to line up with arms raised. We were left to stand like that for a long time. Then we were sent into the movie hall and had to sit down in the rows of seats. Several Red Cross nurses and two doctors, Dr. Günther und Dr. Lacher, and one woman doctor, Dr. Lang, received us. They too were Germans, and prisoners like us. Our mangled knees and soles of our feet were washed and some kind of antiseptic was applied, and drinking water was also handed around, but that was all they could do for us, for they had almost no medications or other aids, and further, they themselves were kept under very close guard and were only allowed to treat the very worst cases.
There was one thing we were very worried about, and that was that we did not want to be sent home before dark because we feared the Czech population. With our beaten limbs, our bloody feet, our badly cut hair and our filthy, sopping wet clothes we would have been immediately recognized as Germans, and the entire horror would have begun all over again. But this concern was quite unnecessary. When no motion was made to send us home, we thought that we were to be shown a propaganda film or something. But evening came, night fell, we shivered in our wet clothes, barefoot in this dank, cold movie theater. Now we understood: we were prisoners, we were in a concentration camp. We got nothing to eat that day, just some more water.
On the stage, in front of the movie screen, sat a Red Guardsman who constantly kept the barrel of his revolver aimed threateningly at us. We were not allowed to look to the left or the right, only straight ahead at the movie screen. Suddenly this sinister fellow began, in a subdued hissing monotonous voice which was all the more dreadful for it, to expound the most horrific threats against us. There is no conceivable crime he did not lay to our charge, no torment that he did not announce as being in store for us. He only interrupted himself once, to leap down from the stage to yank one unfortunate out of his seat and to curse and abuse him for having dared to turn to his neighbor. Then the gruesome sermon went on, until a new tormentor showed up to relieve the first; he went on exactly like his predecessor, and soon the intent and method became quite clear. This went on for half the night. I got goosebumps in horror. This could not help but result in madness! And indeed, after only two days of this treatment, combined with the constant nagging hunger, the first cases of insanity began. My next-door neighbor, whom I saw again here, a weak slightly hysterical woman, was the first. Six or seven others soon followed suit. They stood up and began giving irrational speeches, threatening the guards that they would not be tormenting us much longer, that the Americans would be coming to our assistance and then just wait and see, and the like. One of them jumped up onto her seat and looked around her insanely. General panic broke out, many screamed, others threw themselves to the floor as the guards seemed about to start firing. Then two of the more level-headed among them leaped at the two women, dragged them into the anteroom and threw the still talking and screaming women from one corner into another until they both fell silent. Nobody ever saw the two again.
To return to that first night. Finally they left us in peace, but we looked around in vain for someplace to sleep. We had to spend the rest of the night on the folding chairs, or underneath them, for we were so exhausted that we slid off the seats and were then allowed to remain lying there, in the dirt and garbage that was still there from the last movie showing, insofar as one can even speak of lying among the barred chair legs and the feet of those still sitting.
Naturally it was out of the question to undress for the night. I did not get out of my dress for five weeks.
The next day, and the following days, we were given some bitter black coffee and a few slices of bread, and nothing more. Some time later we also got a little soup, a small coffee cup full with a slice of bread. And these rations never increased. Other than the bit of bread we never got anything solid to eat. The soup seemed to have been made of the scraps scraped off the plates of the soldiers and guards, for it contained the most bizarre combinations of ingredients. Nonetheless we tried with every trick we knew to sneak ourselves a second cup. The soup cup was passed around - there were about 5 or 6 altogether, so that at least 100 people had to drink from the same cup, which of course was not washed.
There were at least 500 of us, possibly more, definitely no fewer. But the movie theater had only one washroom, 2 stalls for men and 2 for women, outside of which there were always long line-ups, all the more since many people soon suffered from severe diarrhea, which went untreated. Every day people committed suicide there. Even though nobody had any weapons any more, many still had a razor blade or a small pair of scissors, with which they cut their wrists. Soon this got so out of hand that the guards saw themselves forced to unhinge the doors, as this kind of self-help was not what the camp administration wanted. And so now there was not a single spot left where we could be alone for even a minute or two.
The terrible maltreatment, the constant hunger, the surfeit of horrible impressions in quick succession, my aforementioned painful condition as a result of the blow I had received to the back of my head, all this had produced a strange sort of condition in me. I never really slept and was also never really awake. I registered everything as though from a great distance, and yet very clearly. It seemed to me like a dream from hell. I fainted frequently, something that had never happened to me before in all my life. I recall how once I must have fallen down while sweeping the hall together with the others. Evidently someone had called one of our Red Cross nurses, and what brought me back to consciousness were her efforts to open my convulsively closed hand, in which I clutched a bread crust that I had found in the garbage and which I would not give up under any circumstances. Another time I was particularly fortunate. I found a piece of a bacon rind, which I cleaned off on my dress - as I had no handkerchief or the like - and which I then kept in my mouth for hours. It gave me the illusion of having eaten something.
Every morning we were called out to go to work. We women had to pave streets and cart off the rubble from bombed-out houses, while being constantly beaten and cursed by the guards if the work didn't progress fast enough for them, mocked by the citizenry, and woe to anyone who dared set foot on the sidewalk on her way to work. I too became guilty of that monstrous transgression once. I was yanked down by a brutal hand and flung into the middle of the street. "German sow, you dare step on the sidewalk like a normal human being!" Each and every Czech who needed a worker for some or other job could fetch himself some Germans in the camp for the purpose. During those Days of Revolution, Prague never ceased to celebrate, and the next morning the evidence had to be cleaned up again. Some of these celebrations must have been indescribable orgies, to judge by what was expected of us women in the line of disgusting clean-up jobs.
The most horrible thing was always when the order came for 15, 20, 25 men to go and dig graves. In those days in Prague there were in fact still a large number of unburied dead from the last battles. But when the men who were to dig the graves for them came back, some of them would always be missing, sometimes half of them, sometimes even more. They had been buried right along with the corpses, in some cases even before they were quite dead. So we were told by those returning, half-mad from the horror.
Every evening some men were taken into the anteroom, then the doors were closed, and during this time nobody was allowed to go to the washroom. Shortly afterwards we heard horrible screams and the dull sounds of blows. Soon the unfortunates were brought back. Most of them were younger men, good-looking and of fine stature. But what came back were images of misery, aged 20 years in just fifteen minutes, dragging themselves painfully along on sprained limbs, their muscles literally beaten off their bones. I don't know how many survived this treatment. It couldn't have been very many.
With time, the utterly rigid discipline relaxed a little, and sometimes we were allowed to spend some time in the yard. But one can imagine how much relief that really was, when one considers that we were between 500 and 700 persons and that the yard in question was a small city compound surrounded on all sides by tall houses. At night this yard was the scene of tragedies of which nobody will probably ever learn. Then it was forbidden, on pain of death, to enter the yard. Every night there was shooting in the yard. Each morning, some of our people were missing. But new victims arrived daily, and so numerically it wasn't noticeable. Given the incredible crowding and the never-ending milling-around, only the respective seat neighbors could tell when yet another one was gone.
In the row in front of me there sat a woman who had a pair of rubber boots standing underneath her seat. Not everyone had arrived as totally stripped of everything as the group with which I had come in. Some had been able to bring a few things along. They were relieved of them easily enough later. Since I was barefoot, as I've already mentioned, this woman lent me her rubber boots sometimes when I had to go to work. One night she too was among those who were fetched outside - most of them were taken at night - and as it was one of those nights where there was much shooting in the yard, we were certain that she too had had to make her way across the yard. I still have the rubber boots today.
Since the guards were almost always drunk, we were constantly in danger of our lives, as they played like children with their loaded weapons. They laughed like crazy and wanted extra entertainment. For that reason, in the evenings they would fetch our exhausted men, who were almost dead on their feet from the hard labor and lack of food, and made them perform squats in the yard. They had a wonderful time whenever another one of the unfortunates collapsed.
A number of women sitting near me were ordered every day to report to the former SS barracks on Lobkowitz Square, where Russian soldiers were quartered now. Despite the quite incredible work loads that were foisted on these women, nonetheless we all envied them, as they were not subjected to additional torment and humiliation there, and most of all because they got something to eat there. They usually brought something they had saved for us back with them in the evening, and we impatiently awaited their return. Since there were many of us who sat in the immediate vicinity of these much-envied few, there wasn't more than a spoonful for each of us, but even that was already a significant improvement for us. Unfortunately the guards soon grew wise to this matter, and so the women were now searched on their return each evening, and were relieved of whatever they had brought with them.
One time a group of men had to do some work on a construction site behind a big fence. Some onlookers stood outside and made fun of them. That gave the guard the idea to put on a show for the crowd. The German men had to spit at each other, box each other's ears, finally they had to eat filth from the street, and more of the like. This was repeated for several days, with some variations, and there was not a single Czech there who could be bothered to protest against this shameful exhibition.
Once, some of our women returned from work in terrible agitation. Horror was still written on their faces, and they were racked by sobs. They had been put to work in a depot of the German Wehrmacht, bundling dozens of sweaters and the like that the Czechs had appropriated, and had also had to sort a great many blood-soaked uniform pieces that were lying around there. In some places they had literally had to wade through blood, and had had to stomp on hundreds of Iron Crosses and other medals that lay in the blood there. Probably this was where one of those last battles took place, one of those incredible tragedies that no-one will ever hear about. The unhappy vanquished were stripped of their uniforms and thrown naked into the mass graves, often while they were still alive. This is not just my own supposition, it has been generally alleged and no doubt really happened. How many people who are now missing may have suffocated in a Prague mass grave!
Every day we were threatened with being shot. These threats abruptly ceased when we begged time and again that they would follow through and release us from this martyrdom. One day it was announced that anyone who was Austrian should speak up, as they were to be released immediately. This included a young woman, who reported right away and couldn't contain her joy. When she was driven from her home, her six-year-old daughter had happened not to be at home, and the poor woman had spent the entire time fretting in worry about her child. Her husband had fallen in the war, so this woman had more than her share of hardship and we were glad for her that she was to be freed. But a few documents were still needed for her discharge, and of course she didn't have them with her. So she was sent to fetch them from home, accompanied by a guard. Unfortunately the man found more than he was looking for, namely proof that she had been employed as typist in a Gestapo office. From that point on her fate was sealed. Naturally her dream of being released was over. But what that unfortunate woman had to endure from that day on is simply unimaginable. She had to clean dreadfully filthy latrines with her bare hands, without any tool and without water, she was locked into a dark basement for days and nights on end without food, she was flung head-first against the wall. Several weeks later, when we finally started out on our death march (which I will mention later) to the train station to be sent to Raudnitz to the slave auction, we tried to save her by keeping her, who could barely still walk, as far as possible in the middle of our group. Someone had lent her a large kind of shawl so that she could disguise herself. Nonetheless one of the henchmen recognized her, and she was beaten to death right before our eyes.
I have already mentioned my strange half-awake state. Almost like a dream image, I recall a corner by the gate that we called the suicide corner. I see again a large tub of water and quite a number of pitiful figures huddling around it, waxy pale in the face, with mad looks and expressions of pain, holding their hands immersed in the water. These were the prisoners who had cut their wrists. Really, every effort was made to prevent suicides. For example, I know of a man who had swallowed some poison. He was in terrible condition and it was no small feat to get him back on his feet again. When he had finally recovered, he was shot.
Every night there was some new kind of excitement. I don't recall a single quiet night. After midnight some "delegates" usually showed up in order to fetch young women and girls for the officers. We tried our best to hide them, but it didn't help much. I find it difficult to recount what all happened in this regard. Just imagine the worst you can, and no doubt it will still be a pale shadow of what really took place.
Another favorite kind of entertainment were the nightly lootings. I and those who had arrived with me had nothing to fear in this regard, as we had nothing left to steal, but the others had to be constantly prepared for being deprived of what little they still possessed. The first thing to be taken from everyone, without exception, were their timepieces. Watches were the most popular. One Asiatic fellow wore about 20 of them on his arm. With a bestial grin he would yank them off the arms of the victims lying helplessly before him.
It was terrible to witness the suffering of the ill prisoners who had been under medical care and now had to die here miserably without their medications and diet. After all, even most German patients had been chased out of their hospital beds.
Our sadistic tormentors took special pleasure in making us line up for hours on end, whether it be to take us to work or to simply chase us back into the hall hours later. Whether it was raining or scorching hot outside, while we were lined up we were not allowed to move, to turn around or to speak. Aside from my own distress, at times like that it sometimes took me all my common sense and self-control to keep from lunging at the throat of one of these monsters when we had to watch how he would beat a poor sick old man and yank him by the hair or force him into some ridiculous position as punishment for looking to the right instead of the left, for example.
One day the news spread that we were to be sent to a different concentration camp. A paralyzing dread took hold of us, for as wretched as our existence was in this camp, at least we knew what our torment entailed and knew more or less what degree of abuse to expect from each new day. Elsewhere it might possibly be even worse, and perhaps it meant certain death. Why didn't they just let us starve right here? For we did not doubt that we would be slowly starved to death.
The name Theresienstadt was put about. Then there was talk of a GPU camp in the Reich, but nobody knew anything definite. Finally, one day, things began in earnest. It began as always, namely with an hours-long line-up, this time on the stairs, then we were marched one story down, then two stories back up, and finally we were back in the large yard where we had to line up four to six rows deep and facing the wall so that we couldn't see what was happening behind us. At times we had to stand like that with our arms raised as well. Finally, after several painful hours, it was my turn and that of those standing nearest to me. We were allowed to turn around, and then we saw several tables that had been set up in the yard, behind which sat some young girls. Several open boxes and cartons stood on the tables, some of them filled with money, others with wedding rings, others again contained papers. Evidently our guards had learned that the Mark currency had not been discontinued and had retained its value, and so they had decided to relieve again us of the Marks we had been allotted. During the aforementioned lootings, wedding rings had still been respected, at least in some cases. This oversight was now being remedied. Any personal documents anyone still had were also collected. Now most of the others had nothing left at all anymore, like I had had nothing left from the start.
In the course of all these revolting happenings, evening had come. We had not received anything to eat that day, since actually we should have been marched off long ago. Allegedly no more supplies had been brought in for this day. Now it was too late to march off, and they made do with herding us back into the theater after this supposedly last looting. The upper rooms had already been locked in the meantime, and we had to squeeze together even more closely on the first floor. Suddenly one of the guards appeared. It was the one we all feared most. I have never seen him in any state other than screaming, enraged and drunk. For some reason he had missed the looting, he had come too late, which made him even angrier than he usually was. Nonetheless he clearly hoped that some rings might have been missed here and there, roared at us, "Show your paws," and beat us over our fingers with a cane he had brought especially for the purpose. It hurt hellishly. Since he failed to find anything, he roared and yelled more and more. The children began to wail in fear, which enraged him even more and he screamed at them like I have never heard a human being scream. I thought my eardrums would burst under the infernal noise.
Finally, when he had left, we were given a bit of crispbread, two slices for each of us, with the comment that we should not eat it all at once as we would not get any more tomorrow and would have to be on the road all day.
Finally, when we were about to get some sleep as far as that was even possible under these overcrowded conditions, we suddenly heard a very strange, frightening noise that got louder and louder and came ever closer. Sounds of yelling and running were to be heard in the house, commands rang out, and a very unusual excitement lay in the air. Suddenly someone who had been standing by the window cried out, "for Heaven's sake!" We rushed over, and in the early dusk we saw a seemingly endless crowd of people coming closer and closer, gesticulating wildly with sticks and cudgels and screaming threats. Those were aimed at us. The people had learned that we were supposed to leave Prague the next morning and would thus be removed from their sphere of power, and so they had come in order to quickly vent their spleen on us one more time. They simply wanted to lynch us. I thought my heart was going to stop, I was so horrified. An indescribable panic broke out. Some cried out like wild animals, some clung to each other as though to protect each other, others again stood silently, frozen like pillars, pale as plaster and trembling violently. It was one of the most dreadful scenes I have ever seen. We understood perfectly that we were doomed. How could we unhappy people, fatally weakened by starvation and maltreatment, have defended ourselves without weapons against this raging, incited mob?
Apparently there was some negotiation going on between the guards and the ringleaders, which took valuable time and it was during that time that a miracle happened, a real, true miracle. Nobody had noticed that a storm had been brewing, and yet, suddenly there it was. Like a bolt out of the blue a cloudburst began, accompanied by strong winds and hail, and thunder and lightning followed in quick succession. The mob beat a hasty, screaming retreat; one of the more sensible ones among our guards had quickly closed all the doors, and we were saved.
The next morning, or more exactly around noon, after more hours-long line-ups on stairs and in hallways, when we were already faint from hunger, for of course everyone had already eaten his second slice of crispbread - around noon, then, our march-out began, the start of that horrible "Death March". The Red Guardsmen, our guards, also knew that this was the last chance for them to exercise their sadistic inclinations on us, and evidently they had agreed to make the fullest possible use of this last opportunity.
We had to line up in rows of three. As soon as we had done so, the guards claimed that they had ordered rows of four, and they beat us and beat us. Then they called for rows of five or even six, then rows of three again, and so it went on. An indescribable confusion ensued, all the more so as every guard gave different orders for the area under his command. No progress was made at all, and the guards roared and cursed and hit and beat us blindly. I received a terrible blow from a rifle butt to my ribs, and a blow on the shoulder because in all the madness I suddenly no longer stood neatly in line. Finally they had had enough of this game, and to make up the time that had been wasted we now had to run, faster and ever faster. I recall sending a quick prayer to Heaven that I might have the good fortune to drop dead, to be released from this torture that was simply no longer to be borne. Others probably did the same. This was also the last day for the poor Austrian lady whom I've mentioned earlier. Many others also did not survive that day. Every step we took put us in some new mortal danger.
I believe that an entire deportation group from another concentration camp had joined ours, for there were many who drained their energy by dragging suitcases and the like with them. Now, when this terrible running began, these poor people had no other choice than to throw their heavy encumbrances away, just so they would not be beaten to death. And all the while, along our entire path, the spectators cursed us and rained their terrible threats down on us. Everyone tried to move to the middle of the rows, as the danger was greatest at the fringes. Many people fell, and of course I don't know what happened to them as we had to keep moving, faster and ever faster right over those who had fallen. If we had tried to help them, we would have been beaten to death ourselves.
Finally we arrived at the Hyberner train station (known as Masaryk Station again now). We were led onto the station grounds from behind, from Florenzer Street, when suddenly we were ordered to stop. A guard called out in a strangely friendly tone: "We are looking for a woman with a good education, who can speak foreign languages and knows how to do double-entry bookkeeping. Any volunteers?" A few unfortunate women who still hadn't clued in to the game spoke up. Perhaps they thought they would be able to improve their lot and remain in Prague, maybe even work in an office. But then the guard grabbed one of them by her collar, yanked her out of the row and roared: "All right, come on, you sow, you will now clean all the toilets in the station." The poor woman had to follow him, to the yelling, laughter and applause of the people that stood crowded together outside the gate that closed off the station grounds. We were ordered to lower our heads, not to look right or left and not to move. It is useless to try to describe what took place here, it simply can't be described. Turning one's head even a hair's breadth sideways could mean death, and meant exactly that for probably a great many people. Peering out from under my brows I nonetheless saw how a group of people in horrible condition passed us in the opposite direction. All of them were covered in blood, and among them was our Dr. Günther. I don't know what had been done to them or where they came from. Between the people was the occasional cart, on which dying or mortally injured people lay, as well as some which I assume had suffered a heart attack. The howling crowd outside watched the display with growing interest, and at every particularly entertaining incident they broke out in loud cheers, for example when someone fell and could no longer get up. Under the circumstances described, the view I got was naturally very limited, and I sensed more than saw all the atrocities that took place there. I myself was closer to death than to life at that point. I recall hellishly loud noise, a mixture of laughter, howling cheers, applause, the tormented people's screams of pain, the whimpering of the dying, and the stomping of countless feet.
Finally we were herded, always with blows from cudgels, across many tracks and towards a railway car that was intended for us. It looked as though the guards were mowing hay with their rifle butts, for this time they were aiming at the legs of the running people in order to make them fall. I was "lucky" enough that a woman fell onto the tracks right in front of me, and before the guard could swing back for the next blow I had slipped through. The railway car was of course a coal car, and we had to squat on the floor in a layer of coal dust several centimeters thick. Naturally the car was far too small, that is, there were several of them but no doubt it was the same everywhere. I was still wearing the dress I had not been able to change for weeks, and huddled in a dirty corner, happy for the moment to have escaped imminent death. We were packed into the car like cattle or some inanimate cargo. But we had hardly been entrained before the Red Guardsmen showed up once more, this time in the company of their girlfriends, whom they urged to help themselves to whatever they liked that we still wore. "Don't be shy, take what you like. Look, this sweater is really quite nice," etc. Most of the girls made disparaging faces and declared that there was nothing they liked. However, I believe that they were ashamed to take the clothes off our very bodies and only said that they did not like anything. Some of them were less sensitive, and many a woolen vest, many a sweater was taken off its owner. One young woman was wearing a par of men's trousers which tempted one of the guards. She had to take them off on the spot, and was left wearing only her underwear. There was really nothing left that could have been taken from us if we were not to be stripped totally naked, and so the train finally set off. A guard with fixed bayonet sat on an elevated seat. We were strictly forbidden to get up, and so we squatted as well as possible in the thick coal dust. Whenever anyone even tried to straighten up to at least recover a bit from the uncomfortable position, a shot always rang out in close proximity, without us ever being able to locate the marksman. The train stopped at several stations, and then a number of Asiatic faces always appeared over top of the sides of the car and asked, grinning, "Where are you taking that?" "Where they belong, into slavery" (do roboty), was the unvarying reply.
In my possession were a dirty, ragged dress, a set of underwear in similar condition, and a pair of rubber boots which I had inherited from the woman who had been shot. Nothing else!
I affirm in lieu of oath that this my report tells the truth in every respect.