In the Forest and Hallows of the Earth
“And they shall come into the caves of the rocks and into the hallows of the earth.”
As we wandered, many thoughts raced through our heads during the endless walking. One thought that never left us was where to sleep at night.
We felt lonely and exposed in the open air, walking for an entire day with short breaks to rest and stretch our limbs. Apparently we were in a hostile area under German control, deep in unfamiliar Russian territory and far from population centers. Ita said we were going towards the forests, where, according to rumor, many Jews were hiding.
Evening descended and darkness began to reign. The forest, our destination for that day, seemed very far away, literally on the horizon.
As usual, we walked on side paths rather than on the main road. Whenever a vehicle appeared on the road, we were careful to hide in order to avoid being discovered. Now, under the cover of darkness it was easier to make progress.
“We should rest a bit and then continue walking. We’ve avoided being detected by the Germans until now, and we must not be caught by them. If we continue we can still get to the forest tonight,” said Ita, spreading a blanket on the ground. We all fell on it, exhausted and drained. I fell asleep instantly.