| The Hot War |
POD: November, 1950
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Nationality:||West Germany (born in Germany|
Trudl Bachman was the wife of Max Bachman, a printer in Fulda, West Germany in the years between the Second and Third World Wars. Trudl remained in Soviet-occupied Fulda when the ground-war of World War III began in February 1951, while Max was part of the fighting retreat through West Germany. In June 1951, the MGB arrested Trudl and several other women, including Luisa Hozzel, the wife of Max's employee Gustav Hozzel, for counterrevolutionary activities.
THe 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 Luisa Hozzel were assigned to cut down trees with a two-person saw.Snow started falling in October, and Hozzel and Bachman were soon treated to a proper Siberian winter and the accompanying work conditions.
As time passed, Bachman grew increasingly fatalistic about seeing Germany or her husband again. In Spring 1952, Hozzel she noticed Bachman was much friendlier with the various people who ran the camp. 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 Bachman's barracks had escaped. Bachman knew nothing in advance, and had not helped them. However, the women of the barracks were placed in a punishment cell. Bachman came out of her five-day confinement more determined to survive.