Mom Wants A Diabetes Cure

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Shadow Was Real

Laying in her jail cell, my grandmother was in and out of consciousness from the beating she endured for refusing to say Heil Hitler.

She was awoken by the sounds of horrific screaming...streams of French...more horrific screaming.

She lifted her head just enough to see a woman being dragged by prison guards to the jail cell across from her. The woman had been badly beaten. My grandmother assumed she was with the French Resistance due the fact that the woman spoke French. She also assumes the French woman was tortured because of the extent of her injuries...perhaps to extract information about the plans or whereabouts of those involved with the Resistance.

The woman never stopped screaming, yet my grandmother fell back to sleep.

Nighttime fell and all was quiet. My grandmother opened her eyes and looked around waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness.

The woman wasn't screaming anymore. My grandmother looked to the cell across from her and to her horror, she saw a shadow, slowly swaying, slowly twisting.

My grandmother was the one to scream now. Every terrified fiber from her weakened, beaten body flowing through her lungs into gutteral, primal screams.

Two guards and the prison maitron came running in response.



The guards and maitron assess the cell across from my grandmother.

"It's late. She can stay there until tomorrow."

"You won't take her down?"

"No. You'll just have to deal with it."

My grandmother just sat there. Staring at the shadow, swaying to and fro ever so slightly.

The next morning the body was still there. My grandmother couldn't help but to study the body in horrific fascination...where else could she look...this was the only view she had.

She studied closely and saw that the vertebrae in the woman's neck had separated. Her tongue was protruding from her

After all of this, my grandmother went on to tell us of the most luxurious experience she had after her jail stay. She contracted lice from the jail cell and the prison maitron made her get into a bath of scaulding hot water and soap. My grandmother says it was the best thing that happened to her during her four years in the prison camp. She stayed what seemed for hours, soaking, relaxing. The maitron had to come and finally chase her out of the tub...when the water finally cooled.

Perhaps that memory helped my grandmother to survive, and kept her from leaping over the edge...the way the French woman did.


  • One word .....


    Thanks for sharing her stories with us.

    By Blogger Jamie, at 4/05/2006 11:22 AM  

  • shivers
    I am in awe
    amazing shannon. Thank you! And tell your Grandmother thatnk you and hug her for me.

    By Blogger Tongue in Cheek Antiques, at 4/05/2006 1:21 PM  

  • Shannon, these stories are astounding. Really astounding.

    By Blogger Nicole P, at 4/05/2006 2:27 PM  

  • Another... Wow.

    Your grandmother sounds like a truly remarkable woman.

    Again, thank you for sharing her stories here.

    By Blogger Sandra Miller, at 4/05/2006 2:40 PM  

  • I've been kicking these stories around in my head for years.

    It's only been now that I've figured out a way to write about them.

    I have one more story to tell.

    This summer I'm going to take a trip and coax more out of stories, and possibly fleshing out the existing ones.

    By Blogger Shannon, at 4/05/2006 2:47 PM  

  • These stories are amazing Shannon. My grandmother escaped from E to W (or is it the other way around?) when she was 18 - on foot. Prior to that her family had the job of digging out corpses from the bomb rubble... We are trying to get her to write her memoirs because it's also preserving history like your grandmother's stories.

    By Blogger Erica, at 4/05/2006 3:30 PM  

  • Erica, isn't irt incredible what people have endured. I would like to hear some stories if you decide to post them.

    By Blogger Shannon, at 4/05/2006 4:06 PM  

  • Lemme get clear on the details from my dad or grandmother and I'll post some. I don't want to sound like a dumb-ass since I can't remember which Germany was the 'bad' one that she escaped from! LOL

    By Blogger Erica, at 4/06/2006 11:30 AM  

  • Erica you crack me up, LOL.

    If you're referring to communism, East Germany (closest to Russia) was communist and West Germany (further from Russia) was not communist...I think, LOL.

    By Blogger Shannon, at 4/06/2006 1:07 PM  

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