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“There he [Meister Hermann, the master electrician working for Schallhorn who took Ernst under his wing] asked me about my home, my origins, my family circumstances and how I had come to be a forced labourer in this camp. I told him about home and the unfortunate night when we had been taken away. Hermann listened to my account with growing fury, took hold of the hammer and banged on the table with it. He called out in horror and anger, “One people, one Reich, one Führer, one mass grave, one lost civilisation!” He told me that his brother-in-law had been appointed as leader of the Gendarmerie in our home town. The reports about how the people of the town had been driven out and their homes plundered were true, because his brother-in-law went home every second weekend, laden with luggage full of goods stolen from the homes of people who had been deported.

Meister Hermann took a piece of bread covered with fat from his locker and invited me to share his snack with him. Then he pointed to a particular compartment in the locker and remarked, “What lies in there is yours.” From then on he always put into the compartment a ration for me like his own.”


Meister Wilhelm Hermann was a member of the German Labour Corps. This picture shows an unknown member of DAF with his wife, wearing the movement’s ceremonial uniform.{United States Holocaust Memorial Museum courtesy Dan Lenchner]

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