The dead

”After the morning roll call I was chosen to do a job I never expected: I was an ‘undertaker’ for two days. Three other comrades were picked to work with me. We had to mode bodies from the ‘infirmary’ block to the crematory block. To do that we took a long wooden crate with a lid and handles on both sides. The bodies were in the infirmary’s shower. There was a label tied around the big toe with a number written on it and a purple ink stamp, the same kind that you see on meat at the supermarket, on the skin. We delicately laid four bodies in our makeshift coffin, or sometimes even five because they were so thin; we put them in a white-walled room in the crematorium and went back to the infirmary to pick up other unfortunates with faces drawn by suffering.”


“Like a grey locomotive with no wheels, day after day the oven spewed fire and smoke out into the Vosges sky. A wreath of fire hung over the smokestack like the flame of a clandestine refinery.”