Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Quotes: First Christmas in Ravensbruck

Both today's and tomorrow's quotes come from Caroline Moorehead's A Train in Winter, a non fiction book about female French Resistance workers who are captured by the Germans and spend time in some of the most infamous prison camps during WWII. Whilst they are kind of bleak I think they also demonstrate the strength of the human spirit in difficult circumstances.

Today's quote comes from page 239

On Christmas Eve, the women were permitted to stop work at four. Plans had been made for a dinner of celebration: women still alive despite all the odds celebrating the simple fact that they were not dead. They realised with delight that their hair had grown back a bit and they helped each other to wash it and brush the new tufts and strands that covered their heads. A few of the women had acquired stockings from 'Canada', and shirts had been 'organised' and cut up to make a clean white collar for each of them. With sheets as tablecloths, the refectory tables were formed into a horseshoe and decorated. Paper was crinkled into flowers, and the chemists had fashioned rouge and lipstick out of powders in the laboratory. Food, saved from the parcels from France and vegetables pilfered from the gardens were made into a feast of beans and cabbage, potatoes with onion sauce and poppy seeds. The women ate little, having lost the habit of food, but the sight of so much to eat made them cheerful. They drank sweet dark beer, stolen from the SS kitchens. After they had eaten, they turned out the lights, lit candles, and the Polish women sang hymns and ballads, saying to each other Do domou: back home. presents were exchanged: a bar of soap, a rope woven into a belt, a teddy bear found near the gas chambers and exchanged for two onions.


  1. Love quote. I really, really want to read this. I'm not sure why I haven't gotten to it yet.

  2. I agree with Beth. Great quote and I just discovered this book recently and I can't wait to read it. This pushes me to read it even more.