Awakening, washing up

“We went…to the wash basins… The block leader forced us to be bare-chested and wet down to our waists. The water was ice cold, and anybody who did not move to the wash basins fast enough was immediately beaten with a club… There were 140 of us [in the block] and it was physically impossible for us to wash ourselves at the same time.”


“This is the life we were going to live.
At 4:15 in the morning the kapo, a fat, heavy-handed, imperious German Communist who had been interned for eight years but wasn’t such a bad chap, would shout at us to get up. Then we would run naked to the sink to wash ourselves with ice-cold water.”