"Thousands of those men and boys died here, and I have recently learned that their inhuman treatment was the intended policy of Himmler. He called his plan Death by Exhaustion, and he implemented it. Work them hard, don't waste valuable food stuffs on them, and let them die. They could, and would, always be replaced by new slave workers from Europe's Occupied countries. Some of the Todt workers were kept down on the Common, behind a wire fence- they were white as ghosts, covered in cement dust; there was only one water standpipe for over a hundred men to wash themselves. Children sometimes went down to the green to see the Todt workers behind the wire fences. They would poke walnuts and apples, sometimes potatoes, through the wire for them. There was one Todt worker who did not take the food- he came to see the children. He would put his arm through the wire just to hold their faces in his hands, to touch their hair."
And that is where I put the book down and wept.
I cried for things that have happened and for things that will happen one day.
I thought about unbearable circumstances that others have faced and wondered when I might face one in my lifetime.
I vowed to hug my children more the next day, and cherish the small freedoms I enjoy.