Summer 1996 • Vol. XVIII No. 3/4 Fiction |

The Flood

Translated from the Czech Rainy nights in Auschwitz-Birkenau resembled a flood. Clouds threatened rain. It looked like it would start raining and never stop. In October 1944, William Feld became an assistant to the Kapo, the leader or the house captain, of barracks number twenty-one in the former camp for gypsies long after they went up the chimney. In addition to improved work conditions and better food, he was able to secure a bit of privacy exceedingly rare in the camp. Only a few people knew about his female acquaintance, although this was about as unlikely as the existence of any private matter in camp. With his helper he distributed deloused blankets. Night was falling and they rushed to finish. The last time, people had fought over the blankets. For the first time since arriving in camp, W. F. had had to slap a few. In W. F.'s eyes, the prisoners' efforts to obtain a blanket full of holes was an expression of dying energy. Today they were still living; tomorrow they

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