Page 85 - November 2020
P. 85

November 2020            85

                                                   AND  LIFE  MOVED ON

                The warning has been passed on and everyone managed to flee the city. Only the
                school  principal  stayed  -  he  thought  someone  needed  to.  The  news  about  the
                planned arrests turned out to be true. The principal was arrested.

                Irene and her parents left the city and hid at their family, a dozen or so kilometers
                further. Many of the other teachers were not that lucky - they had been detained in
                a makeshift prison, in a factory. When the whole population of her hometown was
                displaced,  in  order  to  turn  the  area  into  a  firing  ground,  the  family  moved  to  a
                nearby  village.  Mother  has  been  giving  underground  tuition.  She  would  go  to
                pupils’ houses or pupils’ would come over - even though the mother knew she
                could be sent to the concentration camp if she got exposed.

                The war had left a mark on Irene as much as on everyone else. Her father died
                from tuberculosis in 1943. After father’s death, they have been helped by a doctor.
                He was a father of two and asked the mother to teach his children. He would allow
                children like Irene to access his library, help other orphans. It is then when the
                little  girl  read  the  most  important  works  of  Sienkiewicz,  Kraszewski  and  many
                others. One could say that she educated herself. Long into the curfew, she stayed
                up and read, with the window blinds shut tight. She didn’t even dream of the fancy
                snacks from the time before the war. Rationed food had to suffice - black bread,
                swede and beetroot marmalade, watered-down

                soups. Schools were only for Germans, no-one was allowed to have radio; even
                the benches in the park had a sign „Nur fὕr Deutsche”. Poles have been treated as
                if they had not been human beings. And so, after the defeat at Stalingrad, when
                groups of wounded and worn-down German marauders passed the village, the girl
                would whisper:

                - I’m not even sorry for them, momma.

                - Let’s rejoice, dear child, the nightmare is almost over.

                And the life went on.
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