JF Ptak Science Books Post 2692
I Escaped from Nazi Germany, a French Deportee's Report, is a short, compact story by a French resistance fighter (of the "Armee de l'Ombre") and observer/informationist. The writer is not identified, though the translator ( Egon Larsen) is, along with author of the author of the foreword (Waldeck Rochet). It was published by I.N.G. Publications in London in 1944, and although it is unclear whether this is pre/post 6 June, the writer does make it clear that the end was near for the Nazis.
Perhaps the most emotional part of the pamphlet is the section ("Slave Workers and Prisoners-of-War Under the Swastika") on "foreign workers". There's a fairly longish description of the types of slave labor being done in Germany, and of the accommodation of the 'workers", with some insight on those who were kept in private houses/stables/billets and not in a camp. There's also an interesting statement that speaks to the numbers of "foreign workers" in sections of Germany, saying that amidst the sea of these slaves that it was difficult to find an actual German resident. Then, at the extreme end of the treatment of foreign workers, in listing the tragedies of those people forced into cruel labor, the author ends with:
"Foreign workers run the risk of being sent to concentration camps; and everyone knows what that means."
This may be the Great Unspoken of the war--unspoken though spoken, or unheard, or partially heard, or heard but not believed.
"A terrible fate await those who are sent to Dachau, the notorious torture camp" the pamphlet continues, followed by a short discussion of terrible working conditions and brutal treatment. Then there is a curious statement, an attempt to show the essential savagery of the Nazi/German, relating how there were "other Germans who were there fellow prisoners" [italics mine], not "just" foreign slave workers at the camp, "and whose treatment was even worse than that of the foreign workers". These "other Germans" could have been political, or gay, or a host of other legislated offenses--but in 1944, these people were no doubt Jewish, though the "Jewish" part of this explanation goes unmentioned.And so far as I can tell the only time the word "Jew" or "Jewish" appears in this pamphlet is a description of serendipitous punishment levied on the foreign worker for simple infractions of not-necessarily-exiting codes of behavior: "A Jew who tried to pick up a cigarette butt was 'shot out of hand'". This person, this Jewish person, was identified as a "Jew" as a social indicator (like telling someone to go ask Moshe, the Jew) rather than identifying the person as a class of people signaled out for particularly brutal treatment. Rather than just say "a person" or "someone" being shot for picking up a cigarette, the writer identified that someone simply as a "Jew".
So, most of the pamphlet is an outsider's view inside Germany--how the Germans live, what they eat, traffic conditions, Hitler Youth, and so on. There's a discussion of R.A.F. (nighttime) bombing and the "catastrophe" of rail travel. There are also plenty of attacks on the social fibre and people of Germany laced throughout the work: "the uniformity of the masses can be found everywhere", "their faces betray an enormous tiredness", "the faces of the Germans do not show anything but appalling mediocrity", "not human beings but automatons", that sort. Also there's a fair amount of notice on the state of terror instilled by the Gestapo on the German population ("Himmler's Gestapo terrorism"): "individual expressions of dissatisfaction are suppressed with fantastic brutality".
I wonder that in all of this ability of insight how the author missed the particularly brutal treatment of the Jews--especially when he knew about Dachau (to some degree), and spent so much time in Germany, and it was 1944. It is certainly possible, I guess, but I don't know how likely that possibility is, knowing so much about a big piece of the picture. Perhaps much of what he says in hearsay, or second hand, or contrived for propaganda purposes, and perhaps not; I doubt it is a knowable thing.