About the Hospital

More Memories about the 12th of April 1945.

After writing about "The Unknown Soldier, I remembered.

I remember the 12th of April 1945.
The day a `Unknown Soldier` did something that saved my life and the life of Aad van Noorduik.
The day the 'Unknown Soldier' brought us to a Hospital.
As I wrote in the story of the 'Unknown Soldier', he got us to this Hospital and to this day, I still don't know why he did it.

We must have been a sight to behold.

Not only because we could not move much, due to a very high fever as a result of the disease we had.
It was that we hardly weighed anything, due to lack of food, we were like a skeletons.
But also every thing else on me, filthy, ragged and with lice crawling all over.

Why were we like that?

For the last previous month we had to live with what we were wearing.
At one time, when going from one camp to the next, we were told to put all our belongings on a horse drawn cart.
That would make it easier for us to march to the next camp, so we were told!
Wasn't that nice of the guards, to be so considerate.
The only thing was, we never ever saw our belongings again.
We all had only the clothes we had on, hardly any one had even a comb.
I know what others looked like, I could not have a look at myself, no mirrors anywhere.
And what I saw, it was not a pretty sight.
All had uncombed, greasy long hair, black finger nails only shortened by chewing them off.
Toe nails ground-off with a bit of gravel.
Bodies unwashed for weeks and weeks on end.
Clothes worn day an night, it was still very cold and what is more, you could not sleep without being fully clothed.
During the night, with no light, cots with just straw, we had to protect ourselves.
We had to protect ourselves from attacking bed-bugs coming out of every crack and crevice in the room.
And yes, lice were crawling all over us but that was just a minor annoyance.

And here I was, together with Aad, sitting outside the gate of a Hospital, the sound of war rumbling on.
I could hear the rumblings of big guns firing from a short distance, the whine of the grenades overhead and exploding not far away.
But I was not worried about that. As long as I could hear the whine, the grenade was already past.
An explosion without a whine, that would have been worrisome.