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resistance, rebellion and death

 

Resistance, Rebellion and Death

 

The situation grew more serious from day to day. He began working afresh with the last of his strength. His parents refused to descend to the cellar during the operation. During those bitter days there was no food in the shops. It was evidence of the tremendous change. The spirit of revolt and rebellion was stronger than the spirit of dejection. 

He asked the members of the command what to do. He knew they were only pretending. People were found who went on with their tasks. It was his duty to record for a later generation all that befell his people. On his way there he repeatedly saw death face to face. For a long time these two worked without consulting anybody else. On one occasion he disappeared for a long time. They were very active in the traffic moving from place to place. Most of them were tracked down on the way. They feared that a single incautious step would destroy all their preparations. Time pressed. In a few weeks it might be too late. 

He told them what he had seen with his own eyes. There was a deep and vaulted gateway, with a courtyard beyond it. Their journey was to be westward. A tremendous explosion within the column gave the signal. For him the revolt was an expression of the many spiritual hardships echoing within him. 

He was moved in the middle of the night. He had personal qualities such as shrewdness, a capacity for adaptation and dissimulation, the power of awakening confidence, etc. From a drawer he took a roll. There was no chance of missing the opportunity. At first sight, this appeared to have been the case. Other members also moved about the streets freely. They apparently did not take it very seriously. He had fulfilled his vow. They passed one after another. Amid the noise, the confusion, and the cries of the wounded, he was smitten with astonishment. Contact among them was both infrequent and precarious. Finally a practical method was found. He pretended to lose his temper. He had long been seeking some positive objective. They dispersed through the streets. Some of them fell on the way, but others managed to reach safety. He was usually prepared to hide. They regarded themselves as doomed to death. They took apart and assembled the weapons. His idea was that he should be first. When her strength was exhausted she put the child down. He jumped on to a moving tram, but a few seconds later jumped off again. He stretch his neck and stared after her in surprise. They had electricity and a radio. Not a single one of them uttered a word. The humming of saws and other tools was to be heard everywhere. 

From time to time they looked back at the town. He was responsible for preparing and organizing the departures. The usefulness of the document was limited. All their money and belongings were taken from them, and they were beaten as well. People left the upper floors. He was of the opinion that the people must be alerted. The house residents became one family. He gave a sign that they were to go. Within a few moments the train began to move off. They put their belongings on the floor behind his desk. It seemed as through he never slept or rested at all. Here the ground seemed to be full of hills and valleys. Here weapons were personal property. They fixed a time for a common meeting. They warmed themselves a bit by walking. The instinct of self-preservation was stronger than anything else. He told them that if they got through the night all right, they had a chance of surviving. 

In the kitchen there was usually a pale young woman wearing high, laced brown boots. There were also many fictitious marriages. He accepted his short, stern reply without complaint. He didn’t know anything, but all night long couldn’t close an eye. They faced a grave problem. But it was still a matter for research. 

Death was the constant companion of the workers. Here the signs of animosity have left their marks. They were called on to carry out the order. She was forbidden to look out the window. They tried to extort a confession from their victim. The shining sun, the blue sky, the warm breeze and the space all dazzled them. Many youngsters dreamt of revenge. What was happening to his family was happening to others too. He answered them with a quiet detached voice. 

His first name was almost unknown. The visitor stressed the high degree to which the youths had organized themselves. They did their best to enable him to conceal his work. He was known to his friends and acquaintances as a shy young man. He ordered that the prisoners should eat their fill. They received a reply which was damaging in itself and wounded their human and national honor. The fellow only shouted louder though. He knew that the captured men had arms and papers in his room. They protested against the criminal actions they were perpetrating. The matter was too urgent to allow of any delay. He showed them all the wonders of this lower paradise. From the evidence which has reached us, it would appear that they did not at first accept them without some measure of suspicion. They wept for all those who had perished. He was also a human being. He wanted to live! 

They organized a secret network for spiriting children from France. The reign of blood did not prevent the establishment of an organization. She was unsuccessful and returned. Everybody began gazing into his own soul and life. These were illusions in which neither side really believed. People began to unbutton their coats to ease the heat. They soon after denounced the people who had put their trust in them. When he was sick, she brought him rice or porridge in a bowl. From time to time they turned their heads as though they suspected something. Evening had already fallen and suddenly they saw many campfires all around them. Only those with strong hearts made use of this opportunity. A bread drive was organized . They were resolved to hold out as long as possible. Because of his size and strength he was afraid he would be forced to bury them alive. He looked at his own family. It seemed to him they had all grown old in a single moment. A living man, who feels and writhes in his anguish, was condemned to death for no reason. It meant that this was their last night and their last opportunity. 

After they all passed through, the exit gate was closed behind them. Everybody became uneasy. Together with a handful of expert craftsmen, they prepared plans for revolt. Every member was threatened with the greatest dangers, of which death was the most comfortable. He brought evidence which he collected which reflected their fate. He jumped out of his place in line while they weren’t looking. The catastrophe in its full and tragic weight bore down upon them. He walked the length of the street, left it through a break in the wall, and entered the neutral zone. The building still stood firm on their foundations. It was a detailed plan, simple yet daring. Putting the base into operation a fortnight later helped them very little. Their own feet were on the edge of an abyss. They jumped from beam to beam, keeping silence. They were sought at any price. It was their practice to exploit the differences and to sow dissension. He managed to whisper to the fellows beside him, “Pay no attention to me and go on fighting!” Many of its members dispersed in all directions. They regarded themselves as doomed to death. All contact had already broken off. Yesterday’s points were not to be found, they had vanished. 

Only women worked where there was contact with explosives. He learned methods of organization and combat. They had already passed. They shot along the line of the windows to keep people from trying to escape. He wrote at midnight, in secret, and in danger of death. They were absolutely unable to exercise any check. His neighbor always sat beside her husband. He decided not to hide anything from him. In order to represent this many-sided reality faithfully, they collected material as an example of some of the headings and sub-headings on the subject. On the way out he slapped him in the face. It was the most dreadful part of the great “action.” Yet despite this it was necessary. The wailing of the human spirit was written in the letters in order to give a complete and true form to this secret document which was written by one of those still surviving. 

That was all she wanted to tell us. Their hearts rejoiced. He used to wash what had to be washed. Each department was a world in itself. The idea occurred to someone, flickered there for a moment or so and promptly went out. In the distance the cry of their families could still be heard. He witnessed, organized, and planned resistance. They made holes through the floor and sawed the steel between the holes. They reached a point where a low attic reached an end. He knew at once that he must be the messenger. His heart filled with pity. What would be the point, they wanted to know, in destroying their souls without avenging the shed blood? 

What had happened was being passed on from mouth to mouth. He was concerned with the whole range of communal life. His objective was “to behave like Samson.” With their spades they removed the first layer of corpses. Naturally this was no more than a drop in the ocean. They knew deep within themselves that they were not being sent there. There were those who refused to abandon their people and society. He ran along in flames, a living torch. That was all they had to say to one another. Matters were generally thrashed out at prearranged meeting places and at designated times. The people made way for fear of the hoofs of the startled animals. They watched and rested alternately. 

Three girls were arrested. Before the war he was known to have a strong and independent character. They were entirely in their hands, after all. Whenever he copied the work, he would make slight changes. An obstinate stand during the prolonged examination, which was accompanied by severe torture, was enough to convince them. There were certain puzzling details in their behavior. Each fire left heaps of ashes and bones, which were pounded in huge mortars. He concealed himself for two years. They were tortured and perished in countless unnatural ways. The most desired thing was a dwelling on the ground floor. The matter was too urgent to admit any delay. They included a list of communities and memorial days. They raised the banner of what is exalted and lofty. 

Social distinctions between passers-by were emphasized by dress, speech, religion. They belonged to the cream of society. They had to keep on crawling forward. They were immediately surrounded by an angry crowd. He was waiting for them and preparing to shoot, he thought. All the fragmentary and partial evidence was collected. They saw through the window that faced the street a group of workers on the bank. They stood him up from 2 o’clock on Thursday till 11 o’clock on Saturday morning without a break, with his hands chained behind his back. Children came out on the street, stared and pointed their fingers. It was a dreadful scene. They did their best to compel them to take steps against their consciences. They had been preparing for a long time. In the morning a loud rattling was heard. The administrator came to receive a check. The greater part of the people, deep in the hells of cruel torments, were tense and ready for resistance. They included ordinary people. His face grew grave and the smile vanished. They faced a riddle which they solved too late. He wanted to hasten with some faithful friend to the destroyed and burned writings hidden in the bowels of the earth. He would have gladly wished himself such heaps of sand. They took into consideration the restricted possibilities of action. There was a casual inspection. They also regarded him as one of themselves. They had to watch and make sure that the fire did not go out in the middle of everything. They fall and sink every moment into a terrifying abyss of void, where there is nothing to touch and hold. 

The rumors served to confirm the news. They were all engaged in widening the railway. If a bomb fell they went up on the roof to save the house. There was considerable depth below the foundation. They covered the iron stairs of the abandoned storeroom with blankets. He was sure that the engine had gone to load up with coal and would be right back. They were standing below in the street. Everything was saturated with mass murder. 

The preservation of his life sometimes depended on the merest trifle. He sat down and read the latest news broadcast to them all. He began to call on them to sell their lives at a high price. It was hard to reach some of the shelters. They brought with them evidence and photographs which they had collected in and around the graves during the excavations. For the greater part of the day the streets were empty. He heard that they knew his distinguishing marks. This was the end of the last attempt to get them to help them in their desperate struggle. They faced a grave problem. There were a great many of them. The official orders and the various notices regarding the journey were wonderfully styled. The change came about when the internal positions were entrusted to the political prisoners. They were devoid of any heritage and lacking in public backbone. The documents were supplied without payment. There was no water for drinking or washing. They were stupefied, half-crazy. He was the only person wearing a large and elegant hat. They all put down their bundles and parcels. When somebody suddenly disappeared, which happened from time to time, the place seethed and bubbled with scandal-mongering. They were liable to expulsion without their uniforms. Their heart were filled with despair, fear and uncertainly. They dreamed of active struggle but they had not yet made contact with the fighters in the forests. There were descriptions of acts of sabotage and the carrying out of the death sentences against traitors. The liaison officers obtained the trucks. His funeral was a dumb mass demonstration against the entire regime. 

For the first time they told the history of the group. He had gone crazy, and shouted and wept and wailed in disjointed, incoherent phrases. They used to shoot wherever they saw a face. Dreadful tidings were supplied to him by the young son, who was very active and knew what was happening in various communities. He went cautiously and furtively. The whole essence of their general calamity and his private calamity seemed to fuse together in that instant. He surprised them by his initiative, organizing ability, fighting spirit and boundless devotion. The conscious or unconscious omissions were now for the greater part replaced. During these difficult weeks the relations were good. The spectacle astonished them. About half an hour after the door was locked, the lights were put out. He mentioned the names of those who had been preserved in his memory. They were formed in a line and began to march. The air was full of outcry and shouting. His eyes filled with tears. There was great risk in fetching foodstuffs. He was in the position to gain the confidence of his brethren. They began to ask his advice of everything. The beaten man remained lying like a corpse on the ground, wallowing in blood. At night too they had no rest. Everything seemed to be uprooted. Their very consciousness seemed to be clouded over. 

This delicate intellectual from the big town fitted in with the simple boys. He was surrounded by glowing affection. The camp had already begun to take shape. It meant leaving his family and devoting himself to its objectives. It was afterwards learned from friends that the memorandum had very much annoyed him. He left when he was in danger of immediate arrest, but he did not go very far. Some of them shouted to their acquaintances. Details were provided to these leaders, and they were provided with full instructions. Manners and good behavior which they had known in the past had completely vanished away. The miracle did not happen. They wanted to set up a new base entirely by their own exertions. They had never seen him hit anybody, but on this occasions he furiously slapped the soldier’s face. 

The street was named after a fighter for liberty. They received their last gifts. They argued the business in all directions. They worked in two rooms, one of them very large with two windows facing each other. He defended himself so madly that they let him be. On a balcony on the first floor diapers had been left hanging for a long time. The voices outside were harder to hear. In a choking voice he tried to calm her. Thirst was burning their throats and mouths. He sat moaning quietly. There was something new in the air. He gave him details of his training in the use of arms. He distributed them to the various groups, each according to its proper share. He proved to him he was still alive. They came to his home to take him away. His real, not his poetic, act of heroism opened a new page of self-respect in their history of their struggle against their destroyer. He did the last true kindness to the dead. From passivity to bravery, taken vertically instead of horizontally, some colored tint, blurred, in this respect liable to go wrong — it was easier for them to live with their tragic illusion when registering at the dwelling. 

They lived in freedom one year. They made desperate endeavors to preserve what still remained. As to the scorn with which they referred to their aspiration, they were not faced by the bitter and heartrending dilemma. Isolated groups decided to amalgamate. She entered with a group of workers returning from forced labor. He tried to catch up with them and join them. He accepted his short, stern replay without complaint. She felt she was being unfairly treated. They were hurrying as though they wished to avoid a meeting. He approached one of the lads and whispered something to him. He seemed to know their faces. They found a box or something of the kind and all of them climbed up. A girl opened the door and asked him what he wanted. He defended his opinion with much fervor and honesty. 

The information reached the camp by various roundabout routes. In the future they would also be required to liquidate the last of them. A bottle of beer stolen from them was taken from its hiding place. They reported this decision to rise up and revolt in their parting letters. He was not prepared to deviate from what he wrote. The blood of the people had been shed so cruelly. They began to “feel penitent.” They destroyed the railway tracks and set the place on fire. All belief in their lying promises began to evaporate. The people were bloated and exhausted from hunger. He alone of all those present was left alone. A thoroughly penetrating treatment of these subjects is impossible. They attached themselves as kinsfolk to those who did really have relations. The official reason for their presence was to defend them against robbers and highwaymen. A few of them threw them a keepsake. There was something not quite in order. This exactness was what misled them. They felt that they were happy. It is so good to be at ease, in the bosom of belief… 

She had an overcoat folded over her arm so that it covered the place were the number might be. He was wearing the black cap of a gravedigger. Meanwhile, the people and the police underwent the same selection. In the ruins hid many people. She was a weak and tiny thing. Finally they received cabbage soup in a tin plate. 

The pictures were significant not only as vital evidence of a terrifying period, but also as a proof of human strength. The reorganization took place from the bottom upwards. The idea of active defense and struggle took root. Care was taken not to leave them to their own devices to be corrupted by the demoralizing atmosphere. They found some slight recompense for all the days of their tears and blood. As usual in such circumstances, each one began describing what had happened to him. They had a deep sense of victory. The room was properly camouflaged. They dug an underground tunnel leading to a spacious excavation under the courtyard itself. He based himself on sincere expression. Every hour of life was a gift from fate. He took his place in line and received a negative reply. He proceeded through the sewers. It was a dark and drizzling day. Despite the inhuman conditions, this was an exceedingly fruitful period for them. He faced the philosophic problems. He wearily sought a hero among them. He responded to every phenomenon and development at the time in his own fashion. If he was fated to shed blood, then it should be his own blood. 

It was hard to recognize the men. Every candidate who wished to enter the company was asked one question. They were the first to burn bridges. They showed unusual bravery. They began to treat them better. They consoled themselves with the thought. They never even dreamed of any such thing. The street was desolate, with open doors and windows. They were all included in the list, waiting for the journey. They felt there was something ridiculous in such an answer. 

Many bullets had hit the ceiling. The bunker into which they descended was a large cellar. He sat somewhat apart from the others, doubtless planning the next stage. The great tank began to burn and made its way in flames towards the main square. The whole world was watching them. A stray bullet hit him in the lungs. They were proud of themselves and their deeds. A deep sense of victory obliterated all that lay ahead of them during the next few days. They entered the second room through a gap at the bottom of the wall. Some lay down to rest, while others lay down and read. They heard of the revolt. They removed the round plates from the top of the oven. His knees gave way and he fell. They were at the verge of the abyss. He had been wounded not in the course of action, but by chance. They were called upon to carry out the order by the end of the year. Fiery beacons began to rise, crowned by clouds of smoke. They went down into the pit by ladder. Very often they were whipped to death. The prisoners struggled against one another for a brighter corner, for the edge of a straw mattress, for scraps of food, for a few crumbs of bread. Rumors spread that they fought against their murders and had not undressed before being murdered. 

The various communities were all closed in behind their walls. They represented this many-sided reality faithfully. They worked out methodological principles which would prevent the narrative element from getting out of hand. Many contradictory qualities, from the most sublime to the very basest, rubbed shoulders. He had boundless devotion, sense of responsibility and capacity for work. A radical change came about. Every document bore testimony to the mass annihilation. They graphically illustrated the methods. Their goal was to collect the largest possible number of films dealing with the persecutions. Many artists perished during the period. They were subsequently dug up from the ruins. He tried to answer “the question which will be asked by students of the future ages.” All these occasions gave them many terrified moments. They regretted that up to the present it had proved impossible. It was essentially a desperate appeal. It convinced the enemy once and for all that they had to return to their old methods of siege and violence. His uncontrollable grief constantly found expression. They personally experienced all the horror. He lived through the period as a soldier. The situation had deteriorated. He requested that they take appropriate steps. The workers refused to comply with the demand. Only after years had passed did they dare to gaze afresh into the abyss. He expressed the wrath of his generation, its illusions and hopes. 

It was the most dreadful tragedy in history. Terrible times came upon them. Every one of them was among those condemned to death. They no longer had anything to lose. Thousands were led away and tens of thousands followed. 

The present facilities were inadequate for the tasks ahead. Construction work had to be suspended. The curtain was raised on all these activities. They made desperate efforts to rescue the remnants. They had nothing left but their honor. It was a trick in order to mislead them, and to make the work easier for themselves. He was detained for a whole year. The aim was to give the visitor a consecutive impression of the catastrophe. They bowed their heads in heartbroken sorrow. They hid like rats while their dear ones were dragged away. They did not know the names of those who fell fighting. The great majority experienced the barbarity themselves. They put an end to their wanderings. They provided a brief survey of the cooperation between their organizations. The time was not convenient for personal contact. They grappled with the problems of adaptation and acclimatization. They crossed the frontiers. The local population showed much enthusiasm and gave its help. 

They established contacts with groups described as “wild.” This information confirmed their earlier assumption. He met with insuperable obstacles. The enemy sent new forces against them. She learned about the death of her five children from a comrade, who came to express his grief. They were not in a position to prevent this fate from befalling them. He saw the house in which the family lived. The police knew them very well. It was not easy for them to manage and make a living. They began working when they were very young. Each little heap made its own demand. He sought, and maybe found, comfort and an answer to all those painful problems which had no solution. The residents had plenty to tell. The gendarmes caught them and tortured them savagely. Soon the dark night fell. They did not make an outcry. They remembered quite clearly the large lorries and the wailing of the children in the middle of the night. 

He showed a full understanding of his work. The neighborhood was beautiful and well wooded. He gave a more general picture of the fate of their community. The whole town grew bright. He seemed to cling to his sufferings. They never succeeded in finding the place. he drew up a special questionnaire. These witnesses represented the whole gamut of the movement. He was incapable of doing anything more than bewailing ruin and destruction. He took a sack of money with him. Though he gave up his life, he did not succeed. When the war came he did not leave his place. He called on them to resist and disobey orders. Their weeping was stronger than God’s own moans! 

He was still in full possession of his faculties. He was in a very awkward position. He had little rest. The curse of man still raged upon earth. Only he and his cousin read the Lament for their people slain, with its infants and its babies in the wombs of their mothers. If he kept his mouth shut they would accept what was written in the file. He was interrogated in a dark cell in the basement. They were hallowed without the slightest trace of secularity. He completed his song of wonder. He saw with his own eyes only. A large proportion reached their goal. The danger of spying and denunciation hovered over every head. 

They thought of him afresh, and all that he did. He did not give way under the worst of torture. They immediately embarked on a daring attempt to free him. It was there that their arrangement was undertaken. A grave responsibility rested on the leadership during the war years. They would not have succeeded by their own resources or without their aid. With his active temperament, he felt dissatisfied with acts of sabotage and disobedience. They searched for families prepared to accept and hide the youngsters. There was not the slightest hint of pity about it. They were moved by a great ideal. They were guided by the aim of absolute faithfulness. He devoted himself to observing, investigating, and inscribing everything on the tablets of his memory. 

The confusion in the city was tremendous, the authorities having lost control. There was no link between them. They helped them by preparing lists of those doomed. It kindled a flame in the hearts of the youths. He took in all the various problems and events. An official guaranteed that war would not break out in September. Every man had arms at home. Some even testified to having seen them hanging in the public square. Those who found no help were lost. They were isolated and locked up in the blazing heat. Some tried to burst into their carriage. He was nothing but a mass of bloody wounds. The end was approaching and they were scared for their own fate. The breath of war filled the air. A question was passed along the line until it reached him. The spy psychosis was felt all the time everywhere. Meanwhile, large stores were burnt and the population experienced starvation. 

They would not part with an easy heart. His face was dug down into his collar and his hand covered it. His obstinacy infuriated them. The meetings were conducted with breaks. There were frequent questions over the phone. They began a series of tortures, which are difficult to describe adequately. 

There was a dreadful slaughter on the way. The idea was born with a few people. There were persons in whom the war brought out their finest and their best. He realized that this was not the way to achieve his purpose. He made a sign to his companion and they both jumped into the car. Their plans were all upset. He felt surrounded on all sides. They faced great risk in fetching foodstuffs. He was known for his exaggerated precision. She deliberately looked away from him so that no one should know their connection. It was no time for arranging facts and working out syntheses. This was a mere pretext by which they endeavored to set their consciences at rest. They were not on the pavement but in the middle of the road. Accordingly, he raced straightaway to one of the bunkers to fetch his friend who would no doubt be given access to the room. Others were taken to the woods in the vicinity of the city. He returned without delay in order to be on the scene of events. All these impressions and articles were subjected to his scrutiny. 

He did not regard their work as a self-contained task. They continued to delude themselves into a state of unfounded complacency. It commenced at breath-taking speed, beginning in the provinces. He obeyed the orders of his officers without asking too many questions. They began to brace themselves and prepare for the coming disaster. Hitherto narrow limits were exceeded and in the course of time activities of extensive range developed. They sat in a room waiting. He decided not to hide anything from him. He coordinated the lies that they would tell. He took them to the place of slaughter. One of them spoke. Day after day they received a little bundle containing explosives. She passed all the hells of the inferno and had not been broken. In the evening they came back in tatters with marks of torture and bleeding wounds on their bodies. They were capable of fighting and knew how to defend their lives. He told his father that he would be leaving home. On a number of occasions they prepared proclamations. They had satisfactory experiences with them. They were given an opportunity to aid their suffering brethren. Meanwhile they were proceeding as cautiously as him. Those who worked outside had already left. He caught up with them and saw them at close quarters. Much as he wished to tell them, he could not. He paused a moment to talk with her. 

The administration took safety measures. The escaping men were caught and brought back. Many members were uprooted and the ranks of the organization were thinned out. They blocked entry to the courtyard. The men were allocated their various positions. He strode over to them. The provision of additional food was a vital matter. Another fighter, posted beside the window, was ordered to throw his grenade. They succeeded in preventing general revolts and mass escapes. He had a compass and a military map. Another man’s hand was perforated as a result of drilling through the steel door for weeks on end. They listened to the news from the secret station. They never even imagined that there could be another room there. He returned weary and exhausted, bringing greetings from those who had gone. He had wandered about for weeks on end in the frost and the snow. The struggle between the criminal and political prisoners continued. 

Their possibilities were restricted. They decided to use their arms if anything at all went wrong. His frozen legs were operated on, but he died a painful death. They aimed at breaking down the personality of the individual, and transforming him into an obedient slave. They compelled the ordinary citizens to treat them with respect. The door to the stair well was slightly open. The air was thick and choking. They had been transferred there from their forsaken homes. They were in their death throes. Barbarism and insanity reached their peak. 

They sat listening to tales told by the master thieves — stories of thefts and housebreakings described in vivid colors and fresh and spicy terms. They poured out all the anguish of their lives and longing of their souls. In their hearts there was an animosity to this alien, inimical universe. Yet in spite of everything, a number of them succeeded in making their way across. His comrades warned him that the urban population was permeated with Jew-hatred. It is interesting that they did not take any punitive steps. It was strictly forbidden to enter those empty and deserted streets. It served as a concentration point. They were safe there for the time being. They argued heatedly about all the major issues. They did not take delight in the radiant world. He smiled all the time he was describing the military measure. He described the events with great ease, as though it all stood to reason. It was only a temporary halt as far as he was concerned. There was no point in waiting any longer. 

She disguised herself as a Christian and found refuge in a Catholic Nuns’ Institute for the Paralyzed and Incurably Diseased. Dirty stairs led to the upper floors. There was no sign of movement on the roadway or in the neighborhood. They slowly advanced to the ditch. They sought and searched in the peasants’ huts, in every attic and cellar. They all waited behind the wall at the wayside. They did not know exactly what happened, and that served to increase the tension. A large sum of money was paid for a fictitious marriage with a policeman. She was found abandoned in any empty dwelling. They warned the inhabitants that they were dangerous brigands who had escaped and were hiding among the peasants. 

All of them stank of corpses. It was hard to be near them. The final instructions were given. He swiftly opened the doors of all the subterranean structures. Here they used to feed the fire on the hearth with books and papers. From time to time they would issue an order. Everything was restricted in time. They pulled off the caps on the heads of the police, and in that way transformed them into ordinary men. Their heads wagged with the rhythm of the journey. They complained that the wood they received was wet and would not burn. They gave the liquor and tobacco to the guards so that they should get even more drunk. Nobody understood what had happened and they all feared the worst. 

The scope of the plan was enough to terrify them. Since they were working so diligently he would try to improve the conditions under which they lived. He promised that not a hair of their heads would fall to the ground. The tunnels were blocked with wooden beams that had to be removed. When he was sick she used to cook him rice or porridge and brought it to him in a bowl. He turned his head backwards and wept aloud. They hung there while the rains fell and the sun shone. She was wearing working clothes, a sweater and ski trousers. The floor of the corridor was often flooded with water. He was very fond of his little joke. The old man’s gaze met his own… 

He was equipped with a pen knife found in the rotting clothes of a corpse. As soon as they finished their dreadful labor, they would also be burnt in the fire. Witnesses of this kind do not remain alive. She sat by the desk worrying. He dipped his pen in the ink and went on writing. 

Very often they were whipped to death. The gold teeth were extracted and all rings and bracelets removed. She did not even raise her head. She was sunk deep in here own grief. She would not be comforted. There wasn’t a youngster like him in the world. Then they rose and said good-day. They went to see what was up there. It was a special torture center and Valley of Mass Murders. The names were simply transferred from one book to another without difficulty. They removed a few bricks and put their heads through the gap. All the way they found signs of life. A strange woman burst out of the kitchen. He spoke to them as an equal, without any fear. Many were beaten with the rubber club. They found a pot, a bottle, a pail. Their hearts melted with fear for the fate of the little girl. They became reputed for their readiness to undertake any task, however dangerous. 

She came to them without knowing anything and they went home together. He was trying to reassure her all the time. Others never went out at all. They had hidden from the very first, and had not believed in papers or numbers.. That was the proper way. They wanted to remove their names from the files after their departure. He also stood beside her helplessly. The uncomfortable position was very hard for all of them. He held the tiny little thing as carefully as a devoted and loving mother. The big wagon came into the courtyard. They sat on chairs all night long, leaning against one another. Finally they received a cabbage soup in a tin plate. 

His eyes glittered, his face was yellow, he was puffing loudly, marching like a dummy on wooden legs. They were tracked down on the way and killed. They traveled by truck, disguised as laborers. The matter was now an open secret. She followed them of her own free will and stayed with them. He had come casually to take a look. They did not know what he was thinking. None of these preparations were of much use. They believed in utmost innocence that it would save them if they were in danger. It was easier for the women to hide. Adult children left their parents behind. Even his nearest and dearest didn’t know about it. The yoke seemed to be far heavier with the realization that there was some possibility of escape. Meanwhile, they were groping their way. It was kind of a mass psychosis, a fashion, a hopeless gesture. Afterwards they would see what they would do next. Their desire was to bring new believers to the bosom of the church. He promised he had put the photograph in the archives. They received instructions to disperse. They did not have to face the complex problems posed by contact and the daily pressures involved in ministering to their needs. 

It was calamitous because it attracted attention. None of them had humane feelings or felt pity. Some went over to the enemy camp. It was only one part of a long and varied testimony. He had only one objective. It was pure chance that delivered him from all danger. They “organized” their disordered existence. The woods echoed to the song of lads returning with wagons loaded with sacks of flour and meat. He did not particularly approve. They mustered themselves anew, albeit very vaguely. After a few months only a small remnant of the renowned community was left. He ran ahead erect. He left behind a clear line of moral struggle. They began to believe there must be something to it. Humor began to flicker and sparkle in their downtrodden souls. A soldier requires entertainment and must be kept cheerful. He felt far worse than he would have if he had had to stand before a court martial. He swung the muzzle of the heavy machine gun around and compelled them to retreat. They were ordered to climb into the carts. A few were wounded. He found the time ripe to spread a special doctrine among his men, the doctrine of struggle and revenge. They had just run away from the slaughter. They gave the enemy what he deserved. The sense of freedom they had felt on the way vanished as at a wave of the hand. He tried to run away. But here all their belief was undermined. The whole world was white. A long time had past. When they left the town it was already bright day. He led them deep into the forest and ordered them to stay there. They informed him of caches containing large quantities of arms. They found a man who seemed to belong to another world. 

On either side of the road along which they passed there were ditches. Somebody plucked up courage and asked where they were going. They began to urge them on with shouts and curses. It seemed as though no power in the world could stand against them. There was a fresh whisper every little while. Many could not continue at the pace required. Belief and trust began to steal in from some dark corner. The whistle was so prolonged and piercing that they felt the world must be coming to an end. There they were, standing joking together, smoking cigarettes and pointing at them. He was messing up the row. The family did their best to be together and now they helped one another to climb up. He felt a strange dryness in the mouth and throat, and an acidity. He could not rid himself of the thought that they might have left her alive if he had claimed that she was his wife. He had become legendary as an avenger. They could not go on with the degrading life. Against the intention of ruin and destruction they set up the objective of rescue. The will to live wishes to interpret each detail favorably in spite of everything. Here and there could be seen clear signs of lunacy. 

There was black terror all around. The man shrieked and tore his hair and rolled his eyes. They all stood weeping. He saw that he was thinking all kinds of thoughts, that plans were being woven. He rolled up his overcoat and put it on the floor. At last the wailing died away and the train moved. Some fluid began to drip as it condensed from the steam. And now the door of their carriage closed and they were cut off. 

It had a special meaning. He was the first to stand up against their rule. In his work he gave the one answer to the murderers. They flung the old man down the stairs, and he was tortured to death. All these images of death hung over their heads. It pierced like a drill through the ears, through the brain and the skull. His hand stretched out in vain. They were listening to the echoes, which were barely dying away. Here they met with crisis and collapse. He did his best to weep silently so that his voice should not be heard. 

Let coming generations take a lesson from their times. They all had the impression that they would soon be coming to take them. They witnessed two opposing phenomena. They studied the factors. He still had a great deal to say on several matters. He had a little bottle of home-brewed liquor in his pocket. Worse moments were ahead of them. This was their last night and their last opportunity. She said jokingly that she was afraid to travel by boat. A woman clutched her baby to her breast with all her force. He had not wanted to upset their belief all this time. Everything was quite open and bare. 

Every morning they went out for water. Very careful watch was kept and whatever they did was done as suddenly as the twinkling of an eye. In some cases he concealed far more than he revealed. They were accustomed to live in the hope of a better morrow. They were so weakened in spirit and body that they could do nothing. As they dragged and tugged and pulled it began to crack and shift. They began to kiss one another. This was a particularly painful source of suffering. Only their work could possibly save any of them. They lived in spite of themselves! 

He began to give explanations and instructions in a quiet voice, and everybody listened. They arranged that he would wait for him where he was, and he would join him there. She took the money which she had hidden with her and divided it equally between them. Now it was undeniable. He tried to encourage them, and tried to strengthen them with his words and raise their spirits. He quickly climbed up and began to crawl to the window. He had a strange feeling. 

Nobody can blame them for doing this. He was the first person questioned. They believed that the end had come. They set the huts on fire and hung themselves. They regretted he was not able to bring the names of his comrades to mind. 

At night they had no rest. They had lost the name with which they were born. He was beaten in public in the most insulting way possible, without having done anything wrong. Everybody ran, falling over one another in a state of terror. He was in an alien and hostile world, frosty and cruel... He was stupefied. Only later did he learn that part of his notes had been saved and had reached their destination. The life at that spot was doomed to gradual but certain liquidation. He did not rest content describing current events. His memory was fresh and his critical sense remained keen. Circumstances changed frequently. Sometimes they accounted for him by stating that he was preparing various lists on their behalf. They looked at them with weeping eyes and broken frightened hearts. They slept on wooden or iron beds without cushions or pillows. He was intent to hurt maliciously. Their hearts began to beat fast when through the windows they saw him left lying insensibly on the ground. Every man was welcomed with blows delivered indiscriminately. He read him a long letter with a description of what happened. They had decided to end their lives in order not to serve any longer as a rod for the oppression of their brethren. To smite at the foe, to slay as many as possible and fall in the unequal struggle would be a death that would help to avenge the blood of their people, which had been shed so cruelly. Only those with strong hearts made use of the opportunity. He believed they would suffer no evil. A great host was going out to exile. Within a little while the day passed, and it was a dark night. Sadness spoke from all of them in the new situation. 

— from Extermination and Resistance: Historical Records and Source Material, 
Ghetto Fighters’ House, Kibbutz Lohanei Haghetttaot, 1958

— December 18, 2008–January 1, 2009 
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