Beatings

When Boris Pahor returned to the place where he was deported, the memories came flooding back:


“And now that I’m standing here in front of these open cells, before the wooden post where he whose back they were going to lacerate with a bullwhip had to lie, stripped to the waist, I feel no compassion for him, no pity for the blows he received. I find myself in the motionless silence that in such circumstances gripped the ranks lined up all the way up to the top of the terraces.

When somebody would sneak away to have a rest, he would lie down someplace without knowing when he let his exhausted eyelids close; enraged men would look for him in the wooden bunks and closets while a German shepherd, nervous because of the sudden tension, would shatter the thick silence with its fierce barking. At that moment, none of us standing in tight ranks on the flat parts of the slopes in the dead of night would think of the wooden stand with a sign that said: whipping post. In fact we didn’t think of the punishment that awaited the unfortunate; instead, we waited for the moment when, accompanied by the heavy, brutal sound of boots, he would emerge from someplace behind us, invisible, and find himself alone in the hollow atmosphere, alone in front of the silent ranks that rose to the sky in a pyramid.”
Boris PAHOR