Saturday, 16 May 2009

13 [23 February 2009]

I came across a quote from 'The Journal of Rivesaltes' written on August 9th, 1942 by a Red Cross worker at the camp (Friedel Bohny-Reiter); it describes interns being loaded into cattle wagons headed for Auschwitz and links well with the section of this blog (October 14th) which is going to appear in the a-n magazine next month.

"...Torrid heat at the camp. The barbed wire, tightly strung around K and F blocks, is oppressing. The moans of the tormented still linger in the air. I see them filing out of their barracks, panting under the weight of their belongings. The guards are beside them. Lining up for the role call. Waiting for hours in a field in the sun. Then the trucks arrive to take them to the rail roads. They get off the trucks in two rows, between the guards, and climb on the cattle cars. Some hesitant, others apathetic, others defiantly, heads held high.

This goes on for hours until all are crammed into the cars where the heat is suffocating. I recognise certain faces through the bars. Calling out one last request, or thanking.

At every door, two guards.

I look at the faces. Even despair has disappeared from these aged, ashen, doleful faces.

From the last car we hear "goodbye . . ."


Right: 'Leaving Rivesaltes', 1942

Left: 'Rivesaltes', 1942

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