Book: Dry Bones by Roger Penneycategories: Book, Razor Wire, Machine Gun Towers, Guards, SS, Fuhrer, Commandant, Wounded, Up the Chimney, Death, Burial Pits, Spies, Corruption, Nazi Death Camp
Roger Penneyabout this book: Imagine you have been wounded in the fighting in the East and you are no longer fit for front line duty with the Infantry of the Waffen SS. Imagine that you are patrolling the wire surrounding a Nazi style Death Camp. You feel betrayed. You were one of the elite, and infantryman, a front line soldier and now you must work with the despised Einsatz Gruppen who herd the prisoners to and from their work and who supervise the prisoners who feed the ovens with the bodies and who drive the prisoners due for extermination into the gas chambers.
At night there is a glow in the sky from the ovens and all day and all night the chimneys belch out an ugly greasy black smoke and the smell of death lingers everywhere, pervading everything. At night the sounds and sighs of the forests have the mournful wailing and groaning of souls in torment or those who mourn a lost existence.
Once you shared the euphoria of the crowds lining the streets as you marched proudly to war. Now you are condemned to this work fit only for undermen for Jews and Gypsies, for Black Men and Christians and for the subversives who do not applaud and cheer the new Fuhrer. But you must not complain. Say nothing, live with it and one day you might get that coveted release and a pension. Do not grumble or say one word out of place. ‘They’ have spies among even the loyalist of men and the Reichsfuhrer SS has a very long arm and the most sensitive ears and eyes. Men who complain, men who talk of their hatred of the work may also ‘go up the chimney’ with the scumm.
Then one cold night with frost on the ground and clouds that are wind driven across the face of the moon, you see movement. Or you think you did. The ground moved. Or did it? You think yo saw it move, but then perhaps it was imagination, moonshine and the shadows as the clouds obscured the light of the moon.
The clouds of war roll over the earth. The clouds of dread are cold in every man’s mind. At the front you had your gun and your comrades and life was simple. It was kill or be killed and life if you survived was on a high. Victory and another advance, it was hard but you were hard men and the comradeship was something to dream about. Or was all life a dream? A bad dream in the New Reich? For this is not the old days when Adie ruled all Europe and men trembled when the black legions went to war. This is the future, but a future not too far distant. You must ask yourself what part you will play in it. Or will you ’play’ a part or just not think and simply do as you are told. And hope to live.
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• Book Review: TOUCHING THE WIRE by Rebecca Bryn|
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