Passenger Cars to Camp Dretz, February 1942
5. Passenger Car Train
When Abe gets to the train station this time, he and the rest of the prisoners in the transport are amazed to be boarding regular passenger cars when they had expected cattle cars. They are allowed to sit in passenger seats, just like paying customers.
Abe and other prisoners travel from Gross-Rosen to Camp Dretz, near Berlin, Germany. Luckily, Camp Dretz is a civilian work camp, not a concentration camp. The prisoners are treated with a measure of dignity when they arrive, with no armed guards at the gates. They are fed a sumptuous meal, and waited on by French waiters, also prisoners. Abe later learns that this was a mistake, meant for others, but the prisoners are all fed better and treated better at Dretz.
Abe is allowed to work with German civilians outside the gates of the camp. Several of these Germans were good to Abe and treated him as their equal. They even let Abe sit at the dinner table with them in their homes when he works for them. Abe devotes an entire chapter to “Good Germans.”
Abe stays at Dretz for about 14 months, nourishing his body and his soul, until he is once again deported. Abe is sad as he leaves this place of relative comfort and friendship.