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Sunday, 8 April 2012

Day 63 - ""Never Give Up and Persevere at all Times!

The food was deficient in nourishment and our hard labour in the quarry extremely heavy.  This was another weeding out process to identify the toughest prisoners.  There was no respite; the "round the clock" S.S. bullies were on our backs all the time!  The whips wound around their wrists ready for the first prisoner they could catch, especially those who were trying to hide in the crevices. 

Luckily, all of us were capable of being actors when necessary - sometimes we would allow our picks to go up and down breaking next to nothing, this was the only way to last out and to survive a bit longer!  Sometimes, they would harness from six to a dozen of us and with a stick placed across our chests we would have to pull slabs of stone up the slope.

One day, at about noon, I dropped down and fell onto the only patch of clover I had ever seen in this place.  I picked out a four leaf clover which I put into my small religious book.  For a long time after that I kept this book, together with my meticulously written in diary and when I left the camp these two books and the four leaf clover left with me!

One day, I was wounded when my ankle got knocked when I slipped among the rocks on the cliff.  The old prisoners had told us that the stones were poisonous and to make sure that we didn't get scratched.  My wound never did heal up properly but I managed - as I had to: -

 "To Never Give Up and Persevere At All Times - through thick and thin".

The fleas and lice on our block were a terrible nuisance.  I had big holes in the same leg as the wounded ankle due to the fleas and lice.  Some of the holes in our flesh were big enough to enable a person to insert their little finger.  Our wounded flesh looked like we had beri-beri -  that is likely because of the lack of nourishment and Vitamin C, which would have assisted the healing process.

If a flea bite could do that much harm you can imagine how other wounds fared!  The people who had been badly bitten by the dogs, when we arrived, died in agony shortly afterwards, mostly from tetanus.  People still kept dying and transports were in the offing again!  I stayed on and I do not know why.  Puzzle.!!!

Eventually, I passed through the labour exchange and was consigned to Gouzloff Werke and to the Upper Camp or rather Senior Camp now, the luck of the draw or maybe picked, I don't know!!!  After the stripes another suite with squares on instead of indelible dye, it seemed as if I had been chosen!  My haircut was pretty normal too, not in the Iroquois style of cocks comb!

I had a cross-interrogation by an elder from my new block.  He appeared to be a well-trained Belgian who came from somewhere around Poperinge. He had been in Moscow and had also belonged to a Belgian resistance group.

In other words, he was a communist agent and commissar - another foreign power's intelligence too.  He was likely chosen for the job because he could verify many of my home regions, recognition points as well as my immediate background in Ostend - my place of origin.

They already knew of some of my exploits through other prisoners, like my escape, reliability and knowledge.  It seemed that I fitted the needs of their organization and pattern of operations.  Having contacts on the outside was also very important too!  I was in their hands now and I am convinced I was also in other people's hands too!!!

To be continued ....

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