Thursday, July 1, 2021

Gustav Scholl

 From the diary of Gustav Scholl, a Neckarsulm resident, after the bombing of Neckarsulm on 1 March 1945:
The main road had to be cleared as a matter of priority. A group of prisoners is deployed from the concentration camp in Neckargartach. They wear thin, blue and white suits striped lengthwise and walk in tightly closed columns, arms hooked. All of them make a starved, run-down impression. A good part obviously belong to the intelligentsia and were certainly not sent to the concentration camp for criminal reasons. Now that you come into contact with them for the first time, you start to think. Something can't be right. Just last year, several men from here were sent to the concentration camp who were known as decent, professionally very capable people. Their only crime was that some of them had a Jewish mother. What you see here now as concentration campers are not crooks or criminals. It is a suicide mission they have been assigned. They dig up the unexploded bombs and defuse these bombs, which weigh ten hundredweights and have the appearance of a short, thick oxygen cylinder. Where such an unexploded bomb is, there is a circular hole in the ground. [...] A Kapo of the concentration camp workers, a man from Neckargartach, calmly sits down on the bomb and knocks out the upper and then the lower detonator with hammer and chisel. If the thing went off, a search for the remains of him and his neighbourhood would be in vain. It is forbidden to talk to people, but when asked if he is not afraid, he says: "I've been doing that for three years!" (Historische Blätter aus Neckarsulm. Heft 2, 1985, p. 12)

Translated with (free version)