Factory foreman – powers of persuasion

EXCERPT FROM THE LONG NIGHT

Leonberg

Construction in the road tunnel of the fighter aircraft ME 262 [Overijssel Historical Center]

“I mustered my thoughts together and decided to make conversation with the foreman. He was not one of the criminals from Grossrosen, but he had been active in the Underground Movement. In contrast to the Poles who had been in Grossrosen, those who had been members of the Resistance Movement had retained their humanity. So I said to the foreman, “Look, I have already been in different camps for four years and have gone through a lot. While I still had my strength I was happy to work but now I am too weak to hold this electric riveting hammer properly in my hand. It didn’t hurt when you slapped my face. But I think you understand and can see that the war will soon end. Warsaw is already liberated. Whatever will happen to us, we are all destined to share the same fate. This is why I believe it is a crime for any one of us to beat another unless we are forced to do so.” Deep in thought, he looked at me for a while; then he said, “Boy, you are right. In this inferno we often don’t know what we’re doing.” He gave me a job which I was able to do sitting down. I had to fix various different-size screws where they belonged.”

Forced labourLeonberg camp
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