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As numbers stood at attention
in blue-grey striped dress
to be counted off in Ravensbrück.
They stood and stood for hours on end
before the SS began to count.
The commander cried down the camp:
"You must stand and hunger for days on end!"
The 18,000 pain was great.
36,000 eyes full of deepest horror
asked, appalled, "When will this abate?"
the 18,000 numbers stood a full 36 hours.
feet with painful wounds,
couldn’t hold them up.
Death reaped a plentiful harvest here.
Legs and heart cramped in vain
from the inexpressable pain.
And many fell to the ground.
One didn’t count the dead.
But there came a second verdict
over the poor ones mercilessly.
and kicked with feet
in the faces of the dead.
Not a single human emotion stirred...
Who could find a way to believe
in a life beyond this...
when bestiality and death are not avenged?
O, damned human race!
Maria Günzl: Counting Roll Call (1949)
Original language: German