The investigators shared information, but didn’t really have enough to make any solid plans yet. So, they decided it was best to just let the chips fall where they may.
After a short while, they were called to dinner and headed out of the barracks to the cafeteria. Jorge, George, and Manfred received hearty bowls of stew and enjoyed the company of the other guests. Aldric was served a delicious looking bread-bowl filled with the stew and found a spot at a nearby table. He learned that there was a liaison he could talk to about organizing fun activities for the men, such as a Gardening Club, and headed over to discuss some ideas with him. The liaison agreed to bring the ideas to the Commandant and let him know the following day. When Manfred learned of the liaison, he petitioned the man for writing materials so he could document his stay. The man was shocked to learn that Manfred was a civilian and not actually in the military, but since Manfred could provide no evidence to back up his claims, there was nothing he could do about the situation. However, he did agree to allow Manfred use of a typewriter in exchange for his clerical skills and help with the daily paperwork drudgery.
The following day was bright and cheerful. Manfred headed off to begin helping with the daily paperwork. Aldric learned that that Commandant had agreed to the new activities; bubbling with excitement, he headed out to recruit gardening club members. Having little else to do, George and Jorge decided to join the work crew.
Manfred worked diligently and, after quickly dispensing with the days bookkeeping, began writing his accounts of the camp. “The Germans are quite hospitable, and really make you feel warm and welcome.”
Aldric recruited dozens of men who were very excited with the prospect of gardening and growing fresh food. Unfortunately, Aldric’s misunderstood their motives, thinking the others knew it was a device for digging escape tunnels and hiding the dirt. “You like digging holes, right?! And what better place to hide the dirt then in a freshly dug garden.” This statement didn’t sit well with many of the men, as they were much more interested in spending the day gardening than spending the day in the Enhance Punishment facility. After several men left, the others decided to take charge of the situation – they politely shooed Aldric away as they put another man in charge of the club.
The forest air was crisp and clean, as George and Jorge headed into the forest with the others in the work group. All the other men were Russian, and they were all wrapped and covered head to toe with cloth. When they reached the work area, George and Jorge were handed axes and a long-bladed saw, and given free reign to fell whatever trees they wished. After a couple hours, they grew tired and sat down for a rest. An officer came over to inquire as to why they had stopped. Unfortunately, he did not speak English and George and Jorge did not speak German. So, instead, George handed the man an English cigarette, and they sat on a stump and enjoyed each others company.
At lunch, they decided to talk to the other workers and headed over to where they sat, taking off their coverings in order to eat, revealing horrendous scars, missing flesh, and drooling purulent boils. The Russians became agitated, so George decided to share an entire pack of cigarettes with them. This set everyone at ease, as they all smoke and ate in the cool, crisp, forest air.
Shortly after lunch, the work crew headed back to camp. George was invited into the Russian dorm, and Jorge followed alongside. The building was dark and smelly, but they were led near the back where they met an extremely cheerful man. He smiled from ear-to-ear as he told them about how the Germans come every night to take a few of them to the Enhanced Punishment facility. He had gone once, but decided he didn’t much care for it: “I saw demons coming out of the floor and attacking me,” he explained. “So now I hide. No one hides better than me! Oh, and it’s getting late, you should should probably hide as well.”
George and Jorge made a beeline for the door. Jorge ran out just before a small group of Germans turned the corner and headed into the building, blocking George’s escape. After some chit-chat and more cigarette sharing, they escorted him off to the facility. Jorge watched carefully and followed at a distance so he could see which building George was being taken into. Then, he headed back to tell his friends so they could make plans to visit George later that evening.