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Thursday, 5 April 2012

Day 61 - Injections and Indoctrination Movies!

There was also an unemployment bureau within the camp.  This bureau would determine which task we were was best suited to perform.   Behind the S.S. buildings was a quarry which supplied stones for the roads and camp and even contracts further afield.

In a place called "Valkenhof", falcon house, there were more animals and a fenced park for deer and boar which was tended to by prisoners.  There was also Villa's for the V.I.P.'s - between 1944 to 1945 the camp was closely associated  with the einsatz groups of the S.S who very likely stayed in these villas. 

We had arrived at a good time to join the international resistance within the camp, which, at that time was growing stronger and stronger by the day.  The  camp resistance group had originally been started by Germans, of which eighty percent had now disappeared.

Personalities who had been at the camp prior to their release in 1940 were; Richard Thalmann, Hood and Walter Poller. From our side were people like; Blum, the Brussels redactor!, from the newspaper, "Le Peuple", Dewever, a dentist from Antwerp and many other representatives with diverse political opinions - not just from the left, as implied by the press and other sources.  To our dismay and to the merriment of the Nazi's rivalry, chauvinism, bias and small mindedness were always rife and present within our ranks,.    

We now moved slowly to the lower camp, a quarantine camp.  Here we could verify most of the things we had recently heard from the other prisoners.  The atmosphere and environment we now found ourselves in was very similar to Auschwitz.  A dirty, little quagmire with closed barracks, one blanket, open pit toilets and outside washing pipes with troughs.  We were separated from the upper or senior camp by a fence.  We were also kept separate from the brothel and indoctrination hall below us.

For the next three weeks we received so many injections that we were warned to try and dodge them by passing them through the skin pressed between our fingers, inside one way and out the other if possible.  The injections were administered by the Capo's and camp helpers and an S.S., who couldn't always be everywhere -  so this was the method to employ while he was distracted.

During the quiet spells there we searched for lost friends and at other transports for news of friends and acquaintances back home.  We were also taken to the indoctrination block to be photographed, measured and receive more new numbers.  Then we were shown an S.S. film about their superior qualities in training and fighting - which we had to watch.  Nothing about cruelty as they had enough experience of that with the prisoners and for us to look at within the camp! 

After that our new numbers were sewn on the coats and trousers which were striped.

To be continued ...

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