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The Answer Justice – A. C. McClelland

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The Germans called it the Klein Festung, the special place of detention for the Gestapo. But this Fortress had held prisoners for many hundreds of years and the men responsible for the shooting of Archduke Ferdinand, the excuse for starting WWI, had died within these walls as had thousands of other political prisoners. We went through a gate then a tunnel and turned right into an open courtyard.  Here we were in Compound 4, “the top security" place. I didn’t know at the time that this was Cell 44, designated XYZ Death. The people held in this cell were to be sent on to Auschwitz to be liquidated.

As we went through I looked up and I could see the nozzle of a Spandau machine-gun sticking out of a glass-enclosed look-out tower right above the entrance, and from this position one man could overlook all the roofs. If a fly moved day or night in that compound he could see it. I was looking around constantly for a possible way of escape, but escaping was out of the question here. No way could any human being get out of this place, other than feet-first. They opened the second door on the left and we were pushed in. The rear of the cell was full of Russians in dirty rags, all that was left of their Russian uniforms. This wasn’t a good place to be because the Russians always had lice and with lice came typhus. The door slammed behind us. Clank, clank, and the two bolts shot home, no chance of getting out that way.

The Answer Justice - An Autobiography by Alexander C. McClelland - Australian Prisoner of War & Witness in Terezin Concentration Camp in 1945

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