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Leseprobe für das Buch What has befallen you, Isaak?
A Quest for Clues by von Sybille Eberhardt:
Efim Komras and his cousin Isaak were deported to Estonian camps:
Kruk writes that because of the typhoid epidemic, around New Year’s a quarantine was ordered for Narwa for six weeks, this being extended for another six days. A total of 400 deaths was said to have been the result. We do not know if any friends of the Komrasses were among them. But Efim speaks of his own experiences during the quarantine, when he had to get coal from a place near the camp: “Inside the coal heap we often found food which the Estonian population had hidden there for us. One day, I too, found a loaf of bread wrapped in a newspaper among the coal, which I quickly hid in my coal bucket. I did not know that [camp leader] Ahrens was watching me from the camp. When I returned to camp, Schnabel was waiting and ordered me to take the coal bucket to the bath house. Two SS men joined us. I had to empty the bucket and they all saw the bread wrapped in newspaper. Unfortunately, the bread was wrapped in a newspaper for German soldiers. Schnabel yelled at me claiming I had connections to Estonians in order to gather information from the front, and he hit me with his whip. Then they made me undress, the two SS men held me down and Schnabel administered 25 lashes with his whip, with me counting along out loud. I lost conscience and two prisoners took me to the barracks. I could neither sit nor lie down for days. I was lucky, though, that during that time we were not sent to work, under these circumstances I could not have worked and would no doubt have been shot.” How frightened Isaak must have been to see Efim fall unconscious and having to fear that he could lose the sole member of his family who sought to protect him there?
In Efim’s estimate the prisoners in this camp “were treated well to some degree”, which according to him, was due to the nearby German military, “which had strained relations with the SS and would not have tolerated assaults in the camp.” He reports an absolutely unusual experience with a Colonel of the Wehrmacht, who intended with the means at hand, to counteract the lack of food for the prisoners: Every day he requested a gang of 20 men for the whole purpose of giving them food. Let’s listen to Efim’s account:”I, too was once in one of these gangs, and to my great surprise the Colonel led us to a table with food of all kind. ‘Well, children’, he said, ‘eat heartily, I believe you need it.’ That was our only “work” for the Colonel. If Isaak did not have such a chance to be part of one of the “work gangs”, we can safely assume that Efim would have brought him something, since any extra provision would have helped to survive. A further visit to the camp by camp doctor von Bodmann brought home the problem of surviving a selection. Efim remembers very clearly:”It was after July 20, 1944, either the end of July or the beginning of August that Dr. v. Bodmann came to the camp. He made a long speech about the failed assassination attempt on Hitler, which of course had been instigated by the Jews. Therefore he had received the order to see to it that 10% of all Estonian Jews be killed, beginning with the old and infirm. Then he began to select 30 victims from among the 60 to 120 prisoners. The first one was Dr. Rucznik [a Wilna ophthalmologist who had successfully removed a splinter out of the eye of a German general] whom he addressed as follows:”You are a good doctor but a little bit old.” Next was the Wilna lawyer Srolowicz and then it was my brother-in-law’s turn, my wife’s brother. My brother-in-law was only 22 years old but he was wearing glasses. Then Dr. v. Bodmann called me but our camp commander yelled:”I need him, he runs the trains.” Whereupon Dr. v. Bodmann screamed:”Scram, you dog!”, kicking at me.” Isaak would have held his breath at this moment, shaking. The sword of Damocles also passed him by, though.