| The Hot War |
POD: November, 1950
|Appearance(s):|| Bombs Away|
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Nationality:||West Germany (born in Germany)|
Luisa Hozzel was a clerk in Fulda, in American zone of West Germany in the years between World Wars II and III. She lived with her husband, Gustav, a printer and a veteran of World War II. When the Soviet Union invaded Fulda in February 1951, Gustav joined the emergency militia and was forced to retreat west with the American forces. Luisa hid Gustav's medals, and did her best to keep her head down.
Unfortunately, her best was not good enough. In June 1951, the Soviet MGB, aware that Gustav was fighting in the west, took Luisa into custody as a counter-revolutionary. She and several other women, including Trudl Bachman, the wife of Gustav's employer Max Bachman, were placed on a train and sent to a gulag in the east. She wound up somewhere in the Jewish Autonomous Region not far from the town of Smidovich. She and the other women prisoners were promptly stripped, bathed, and shaved by male guards. Then she was assigned a uniform and number, and soon fell into a routine in the camp over the course of the remainder of the summer: wake up at 0530, breakfast in the form of gruel, a visit to the latrine, and then work. She and Trudl Bachman were assigned to cut down trees with a two-person saw.
As the weeks passed, Hozzel learned Russian, mat in particular. She learned how to look like she was working while doing the absolute minimum to avoid getting in trouble. Her guards taunted her by telling her that the camp was in the Jewish Autonomous Region, on the theory that, as a German, Luisa was also a Nazi. For her part, while Luisa wasn't particularly anti-Semitic, but acknowledged what Germany had done to the Jews. Snow started falling in October, and Hozzel and Bachman were soon treated to a proper Siberian winter and the accompanying work conditions. Hozzel was subject to the unwanted attentions of Nadezhda Chukovskaya, a guard in the camp, who was willing to take care of Hozzel in exchange for sexual favors, an offer Hozzel was able to diplomatically refuse.
In Spring 1952, Hozzel was propositioned by one of the camp barbers. She refused. However, she noticed Trudl Bachman was much friendlier with her barber. When Hozzel asked about the relationship, Bachman denied it, but also defended herself, reminding Hozzel that the odds of surviving the camp were small, and that they needed to consider any option to survive.
A few weeks later, the guards discovered that five women from Hozzel's barracks had escaped. Hozzel knew nothing in advance, and had not helped them. However, the women of the barracks were placed in a punishment cell. Hozzel came out of her five-day confinement more determined to survive and escape.