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Chapter Twenty
The Camp

“ Poland?  We can't go to Poland!  We have school!  We'll miss our lessons!”

Ron looked at Hermione, incredulous.  They were being held prisoner in Germany, and were being shipped off to Poland in the morning, and she was worrying about missing lessons.

“ Hermione, how can you think about school at a time like this?  We have more important things to think about, like how to get out of here.”

“ Get out?  You cannot escape.  There are guards and fences all the way around, and Grossrosen is more heavily defended than even here.  There is no escape.”

“ Who are you?” the redhead asked the strange woman, “ And how do you know where we're going?  What is Grossrosen anyway?”

“ I am Yanika, a gypsy from Czechoslovakia.  I know where we are going because the guards came in earlier to tell us, knowing the information will fill us with dread.  Grossrosen in a forced labour camp in Poland, where the Nazis send people such as us, gypsies, resistance fighters, Jews and prisoners of war.”

“ You mean we're going to a concentration camp?!” Hermione screeched.

“ What's a concentration camp?” Ron asked.

“ It's a place the Nazis sent people they wanted rid of, such as prisoners and ethnic minorities.  They're most famous for what happened to the Jews.  It's what's known as the holocaust.  I read about it in a Muggle book once.  Yanika, did you say it was a labour camp?”

“ Yes.”

“ It's bad, but at least it's not a death camp.”

“ Death camp?!” Ron exclaimed, a look of horror on his face.

“ Yes, some of the camps were for forced labour, some were where people were taken to be slaughtered.  Some acted as both.  While people died frequently in labour camps, the death toll wasn't nearly as high as for the death camps.  Ron, we have to get out of here.”

“ Really?  I thought we could stay a while, enjoy the sights.”

“ Ron!  When did you become so sarcastic?  You sound like Snape!”

“ About the time I was thrown in a Muggle prison, and don't insult me like that.  I'm nothing like the greasy git.”

“ Alright, I'm sorry.  Let's think about this rationally.  We can't use magic, and that means we can't change into our animagus forms.  We're being held prisoner, and are going to be sent to a labour camp in the morning.  We don't know how we got here, or what happened after the battle.  We also don't know where Harry and Ginny are.”

“ That seems like an awful lot of things we can't do and don't know.”

“ Alright, what do we know…there's no visible way to escape, but they have to move us from the anti-magic field to take us to Poland…”

“ That will not work.”

The two sixteen year olds turned to the young woman.  It suddenly occurred to them that they had been discussing magic in front of her.  Seeing realisation and worry spreading over their faces, she simply smiled at them gently.

“ Do not worry.  I am a witch, and graduated from Hogwarts several years ago.  I will say nothing to the Muggles.  However, I can tell you that the Nazis have been thorough.  I assume you took part in a battle?”

“ Yes, there was an attack in Paris.  We were part of a resistance group fighting Grindelwald's followers.  We cast a powerful spell, and we, along with our two friends, collapsed in exhaustion.  The next thing we knew, we were here.”

“ I see.  If your friends were unconscious, then it is likely they were taken as well.  You see, part of the alliance between Grindelwald and Hitler, is that the Dark Lord will gain Muggle weapons of mass destruction, if the Führer is provided with magical aid.  This includes anti-magic fields in the camps and trains, so that wizarding resistance fighters can be sent here.  There is no way a witch or wizard would be able to escape if they were reduced to Muggle level.”

“ So, how do we get out,” Hermione asked Yanika.

“ There is no escape.  Now, the guards will wake us early tomorrow, so I suggest you get some sleep.”

The two students reluctantly agreed, curling up in each other's arms to keep out the biting cold.


“ Alle raus, schnell!”

Hermione and Ron were rudely awakened a few hours later by the voice of a German guard.  They didn't know what he was saying and, unable to do a translation spell, looked at Yanika for help.  She simply helped them to their feet and guided them out of the door in front of them, along with the other occupants of the small cell.  On their way down the long, cold corridor they had passed through the day before, the two Hogwarts students were joined by more prisoners from other cells.  As they were bustled along by more soldiers, Hermione reached out her hand and grabbed Ron's, holding it tight so as not to lose her friend in the crowd.

After a few twists and turns, the prisoners were led out of the building and into the weak morning light.  A faint mist was hovering over the ground, making the wooden huts and barbed wire look all the more eerie.  A biting cold March wind blew past them, chilling them to the bone as they were herded down a dirt road to where a train was parked.  The carriages were all the same, made of wood, with barred slits in them every now and again.  People were being led inside and packed tightly, leaving no room to sit, and barely room to breathe.  When it came to Ron and Hermione's turn, they were glad to be placed in a carriage with Yanika.  As she spoke German, she was the only one they could turn to when the guards gave instructions.  No matter how much they wanted to fight their way out, using martial arts to their advantage, they took one look at the machine guns wielded by the uniformed men and decided to cooperate for now.

As soon as the carriage was packed tight, the door was closed and padlocked shut, sending the cramped space into virtual darkness.  Hermione, being a little claustrophobic, started to panic, and Ron had to take her into his arms and comfort her as best he could.  A while later, the train pulled off with a sharp shudder, and started to make its way to Poland.  Inside the carriage, the prisoners could see the countryside passing by through the small gaps in the wood, giving them a tantalising glimpse of freedom.


After hours of travelling the train finally ground to a halt.  Once their carriage door was opened, the witch and wizard pushed their way out as fast as they could, taking large gulps of air.  Looking around, all they could see beyond the crowd was a wall of barbed wire fencing and a large towering gate with vicious metal gates, towards which they were heading.  As they got closer, they could see the path split two ways, and the guards were separating the prisoners into two groups.  Hermione squeezed Ron's hand harder than she had before, a deep sense of foreboding filling her.  As they passed through the gates, her worst fears were realised.  One of the guards pushed her to the left with the rest of the women, while Ron was dragged to the right with the men, their hands being separated abruptly.  She tried to fight her way across to him, and he to her, but both were pulled back, Hermione receiving a slap for her troubles.

As the red hair of her friend disappeared into the crowd, Hermione started to cry.  Yanika, thankfully, had been in her group, and wrapped her arm around the weeping girl as their group was told to get in line, before being led into a wooden building.  They were made to stand in a queue, going into a room one by one, emerging a few minutes later to be led off in a different direction.  When it came to Hermione's turn, she tried to refuse, but when one of the SS looked at her in anger she quickly did as was expected.  Going into the room, she stared in horror at the man sitting in front of a wooden chair and table.  Moving over, a gun at her back, she sat down and waited for further instructions.  The man grabbed hold of her right arm and held it on the table, while her other arm and her legs were secured to the chair.


Tears fell quickly from Hermione's eyes as she joined the rest of her group in a large wooden room.  She cradled her throbbing arm close to her chest, a soft sob escaping as she looked down at the number tattooed into her flesh.  A few minutes later she was joined by Yanika, who was also holding her arm carefully.  Once everyone else had been labled, one of the more senior ranking soldiers stepped forward and addressed the crowd.

“ Zieh euch aus!”

Hermione glanced at Yanika and whispered to her friend.

“ What does he want us to do?”

“ He wants us to strip.”

“ What!  Why?”

“ He didn't say, but I wouldn't disobey him.  Remember, you may be a witch, but here, he has all of the power.”

Hermione simply nodded and removed her robe, folding it neatly and tucking it under her arm.  Once everyone was undressed, the soldiers sheparded them though a door and into a tiled room, taking their clothes off them as they went.  Once they were all in there, the door was shut behind them and Hermione started to look around.  She paled when she caught sight of what seemed to be shower heads in the ceiling.  She had read in a book that at concentration camps prisoners were gassed this way.  She started to panic, but was relieved when a spluttering could be heard and ice cold water sprayed onto the women below.  After a few minutes, the water was turned off, and a door on the opposite side from the entrance opened, and they were ushered out on by one.  As they passed through the door, they were handed a set of clothes, all the same.  They consisted of a pair of trousers and a shirt, all of rough material, white patterned with vertical blue stripes, and a pair of uncomfortable looking wooden shoes.  

Once everyone was dressed, they were led to one final hut, where they saw row upon row of wooden bunks, three levels high.  The soldier at the door them gave them a long winded speech about the rules they now had to abide by and how they would have to work for their keep.  Yanika kindly translated for Hermione, who could feel a seed of hopelessness burying itself deep in her soul and start to grow.  That night when she was lying on the back breaking bunk, packed between twenty other people, her thoughts turned to Ron and what could possibly have happened to her friend.


On the other side the camp, a young red headed boy was lying in a similar position, thinking about his bushy haired friend.  After he had been separated from Hermione, he too had been tattooed and cleaned, before being bustled into the cramped room.  He held his tender arm as he thought of what Hermione might be doing at that moment.  He was relieved she had Yanika to help her, but he had missed the gypsy's presence when the guard had given his speech to the new inmates.  He assumed it was a list of `dos' and `don'ts', but he didn't understand a word of it, and thus far he hadn't been able to determine if anyone in his hut spoke English.  As the night progressed, he thought also of his missing sister and best friend, wondering what had become of them.

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