3. November 1945
3 Nov 45. The Russian starts recruiting voluntary work force among the officers. According to the Geneva Convention, we don't have to work. The Russian doesn't want to force us directly. So he solicits us with promises in the Russian way: In the Soviet Union, the principle 'whoever does not work, shall not eat' would apply. So whoever doesn't volunteer gets no tobacco and no military pay (which we never get anyway!!). He also gets no Red Cross postcards. Of course, that was another breach of the law, but that doesn't bother Ivan. Whether the Russian adhered to treaties or not depended on whether it suited his concept and plans or not.
The typical German reaction now set in among the officers: an eager discussion began about whether to work or not. Some rejected the Russian invitation on principle. The majority, however, wanted to go to work to escape the tedium of camp life and the mental deadening that came from idleness. And already the disagreement was there. The Russian had won.
Our first work deployment. Unloading cement sacks from a river barge. The Russian idea of the social habitus of the German officer corps is so grotesque that it makes you want to cry. He thinks we are all fine masters who have never done any physical work in our lives. The Russian supervisor, an officer, is seriously concerned whether we could carry a one hundredweight bag of cement!
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