AuschwitzPage 1234 BirkenauPage 123 Other Plaszów
Birkenau fence
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"A vast platform appeared before us, lit up by reflectors. A little beyond it, a row of lorries...We had to climb down with our luggage and deposit it alongside the train. In a moment, the platform was swarming with shadows....

A dozen SS men stood around, legs akimbo, with an indifferent air. At a certain moment they moved among us, and in a subdued tone of voice, with faces of stone, began to interrogate us rapidly.....'How old? Healthy or ill?" And on the basis of the reply they pointed in two different directions.

Everything was silent as an aquarium, or as in certain dream sequences. We had expected something more apocalyptic: they seemed simple police agents. It was disconcerting and disarming. Someone dared to ask for his luggage: they replied 'luggage afterwards'. Someone else did not want to leave his wife: they said,'together again afterwards.' Many mothers did not want to be separated from their children: they said 'good, good, stay with child.'...

In less than ten minutes all the fit men had been collected together in a group. What happened to the others, to the women, to the children, to the old men, we could establish neither then or later: the night swallowed them up, purely and simply. Today, however, we know that in that rapid and summary choice each one of us had been judged capable or not of working usefully for the Reich; we know that of our convoy no more than ninety-six men and twenty-nine women entered the respective camps of Monowitz-Buna and Birkenau, and that of all the others, more than five hundred in number, none was living two days later."
Primo Levi