Sample K17 from Leon Uris, Mila 8. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1961. Pp. 324-329. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,008 words 826 (41.1%) quotes 1 symbolK17

Copyright1961 by Leon Uris. Used by his permission. 0010-1770

Leon Uris, Mila 8. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1961. Pp. 324-329.

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Burly leathered men and wrinkled women in drab black rags carried on in a primitive way , almost unchanged from feudal times . Peasants puzzled Andrei . He wondered how they could go on in poverty , superstition , ignorance , with a complete lack of desire to make either their land or their lives flourish .

Andrei remembered a Bathyran meeting long ago . Tolek Alterman had returned from the colonies in Palestine and , before the national leadership , exalted the miracles of drying up swamps and irrigating the desert . A fund-raising drive to buy tractors and machinery was launched . Andrei remembered that his own reaction had been one of indifference .

Had he found the meaning too late ? ? It aggravated him . The land of the Lublin Uplands was rich , but no one seemed to care . In the unfertile land in Palestine humans broke their backs pushing will power to the brink .

He had sat beside Alexander Brandel at the rostrum of a congress of Zionists . All of them were there in this loosely knit association of diversified ideologies , and each berated the other and beat his breast for his own approaches . When Alexander Brandel rose to speak , the hall became silent .

`` I do not care if your beliefs take you along a path of religion or a path of labor or a path of activism . We are here because all our paths travel a blind course through a thick forest , seeking human dignity . Beyond the forest all our paths merge into a single great highway which ends in the barren , eroded hills of Judea . This is our singular goal . How we travel through the forest is for each man's conscience . Where we end our journey is always the same . We all seek the same thing through different ways -- an end to this long night of two thousand years of darkness and unspeakable abuses which will continue to plague us until the Star of David flies over Zion '' . This was how Alexander Brandel expressed pure Zionism . It had sounded good to Andrei , but he did not believe it . In his heart he had no desire to go to Palestine . He loathed the idea of drying up swamps or the chills of malaria or of leaving his natural birthright .

Before he went into battle Andrei had told Alex , `` I only want to be a Pole . Warsaw is my city , not Tel Aviv '' .

And now Andrei sat on a train on the way to Lublin and wondered if he was not being punished for his lack of belief . Warsaw ! ! He saw the smug eyes of the Home Army chief , Roman , and all the Romans and the faces of the peasants who held only hatred for him . They had let this black hole of death in Warsaw's heart exist without a cry of protest .

Once there had been big glittering rooms where Ulanys bowed and kissed the ladies' hands as they flirted from behind their fans .

Warsaw ! ! Warsaw ! !

`` Miss Rak . I am a Jew '' .

Day by day , week by week , month by month , the betrayal gnawed at Andrei's heart . He ground his teeth together . I hate Warsaw , he said to himself . I hate Poland and all the goddamned mothers' sons of them . All of Poland is a coffin .

The terrible vision of the ghetto streets flooded his mind . What matters now ? ? What is beyond this fog ? ? Only Palestine , and I will never live to see Palestine because I did not believe .

By late afternoon the train inched into the marshaling yards in the railhead at Lublin , which was filled with lines of cars poised to pour the tools of war to the Russian front .

At a siding , another train which was a familiar sight these days . Deportees . Jews . Andrei's skilled eye sized them up . They were not Poles . He guessed by their appearance that they were Rumanians .

He walked toward the center of the city to keep his rendezvous with Styka . Of all the places in Poland , Andrei hated Lublin the most . The Bathyrans were all gone . Few of the native Jews who had lived in Lublin were still in the ghetto .

From the moment of the occupation Lublin became a focal point . He and Ana watched it carefully . Lublin generally was the forerunner of what would happen elsewhere . Early in 1939 , Odilo Globocnik , the Gauleiter of Vienna , established SS headquarters for all of Poland . The Bathyrans ran a check on Globocnik and had only to conclude that he was in a tug of war with Hans Frank and the civilian administrators .

Globocnik built the Death's-Head Corps . Lublin was the seed of action for the `` final solution '' of the Jewish problem . As the messages from Himmler , Heydrich , and Eichmann came in through Alfred Funk , Lublin's fountainhead spouted .

A bevy of interlacing lagers , work camps , concentration camps erupted in the area . Sixty thousand Jewish prisoners of war disappeared into Lublin's web . Plans went in and out of Lublin , indicating German confusion . A tale of a massive reservation in the Uplands to hold several million Jews A tale of a plan to ship all Jews to the island of Madagascar Stories of the depravity of the guards at Globocnik's camps struck a chord of terror at the mere mention of their names . Lipowa 7 , Sobibor , Chelmno , Poltawa , Belzec , Krzywy-Rog , Budzyn , Krasnik . Ice baths , electric shocks , lashings , wild dogs , testicle crushers .

The Death's-Head Corps took in Ukrainian and Baltic Auxiliaries , and the Einsatzkommandos waded knee-deep in blood and turned into drunken , dope-ridden maniacs . Lublin was their heart .

In the spring of 1942 Operation Reinhard began in Lublin . The ghetto , a miniature of Warsaw's , was emptied into the camp in the Majdan-Tartarski suburb called Majdanek . As the camp emptied , it was refilled by a draining of the camps and towns around Lublin , then by deportees from outside Poland . In and in and in they poured through the gates of Majdanek , but they never left , and Majdanek was not growing any larger .

What was happening in Majdanek ? ? Was Operation Reinhard the same pattern for the daily trains now leaving the Umschlagplatz in Warsaw ? ? Was there another Majdanek in the Warsaw area , as they suspected ? ?

Andrei stopped at Litowski Place and looked around quickly at the boundary of civil buildings . His watch told him he was still early . Down the boulevard he could see a portion of the ghetto wall . He found an empty bench , opened a newspaper , and stretched his legs before him . Krakow Boulevard was filled with black Nazi uniforms and the dirty brownish ones of their Auxiliaries .

`` Captain Androfski '' ! !

Andrei glanced up over the top of the paper and looked into the mustached , homely face of Sergeant Styka . Styka sat beside him and pumped his hand excitedly . `` I have been waiting across the street at the post office since dawn . I thought you might get in on a morning train '' .

`` It's good to see you again , Styka '' .

Styka studied his captain . He almost broke into tears . To him , Andrei Androfski had always been the living symbol of a Polish officer . His captain was thin and haggard and his beautiful boots were worn and shabby .

`` Remember to call me Jan '' , Andrei said .

Styka nodded and sniffed and blew his nose vociferously . `` When that woman found me and told me that you needed me I was never so happy since before the war '' .

`` I'm lucky that you were still living in Lublin '' .

Styka grumbled about fate . `` For a time I thought of trying to reach the Free Polish Forces , but one thing led to another . I got a girl in trouble and we had to get married . Not a bad girl . So we have three children and responsibilities . I work at the granary . Nothing like the old days in the army , but I get by . Who complains ? ? Many times I tried to reach you , but I never knew how . I came to Warsaw twice , but there was that damned ghetto wall ''

`` I understand '' .

Styka blew his nose again .

`` Were you able to make the arrangements '' ? ? Andrei asked .

`` There is a man named Grabski who is the foreman in charge of the bricklayers at Majdanek . I did exactly as instructed . I told him you are on orders from the Home Army to get inside Majdanek so you can make a report to the government in exile in London '' .

`` His answer '' ? ?

`` Ten thousand zlotys '' .

`` Can he be trusted '' ? ?

`` He is aware he will not live for twenty-four hours if he betrays you '' .

`` Good man , Styka '' .

`` Captain Jan must you go inside Majdanek ? ? The stories Everyone really knows what is happening there '' .

`` Not everyone , Styka '' .

`` What good will it really do '' ? ?

`` I don't know . Perhaps perhaps there is a shred of conscience left in the human race . Perhaps if they know the story there will be a massive cry of indignation '' .

`` Do you really believe that , Jan '' ? ?

`` I have to believe it '' .

Styka shook his head slowly . `` I am only a simple soldier . I cannot think things out too well . Until I was transferred into the Seventh Ulanys I was like every other Pole in my feeling about Jews . I hated you when I first came in . But my captain might have been a Jew , but he wasn't a Jew . What I mean is , he was a Pole and the greatest soldier in the Ulanys . Hell , sir . The men of our company had a dozen fights defending your name . You never knew about it , but by God , we taught them respect for Captain Androfski '' .

Andrei smiled .

`` Since the war I have seen the way the Germans have behaved and I think , Holy Mother , we have behaved like this for hundreds of years . Why '' ? ?

`` How can you tell an insane man to reason or a blind man to see '' ? ?

`` But we are neither blind nor insane . The men of your company would not allow your name dishonored . Why do we let the Germans do this '' ? ?

`` I have sat many hours with this , Styka . All I ever wanted was to be a free man in my own country . I've lost faith , Styka . I used to love this country and believe that someday we'd win our battle for equality . But now I think I hate it very much '' .

`` And do you really think that the world outside Poland will care any more than we do '' ? ?

The question frightened Andrei .

`` Please don't go inside Majdanek '' .

`` I'm still a soldier in a very small way , Styka '' .

It was an answer that Styka understood .

Grabski's shanty was beyond the bridge over the River Bystrzyca near the rail center . Grabski sat in a sweat-saturated undershirt , cursing the excessive heat which clamped an uneasy stillness before sundown . He was a square brick of a man with a moon-round face and sunken Polish features . Flies swarmed around the bowl of lentils in which he mopped thick black bread . Half of it dripped down his chin . He washed it down with beer and produced a deep-seated belch .

`` Well '' ? ? Andrei demanded .

Grabski looked at the pair of them . He grunted a sort of `` yes '' answer . `` My cousin works at the Labor Bureau . He can make you work papers . It will take a few days . I will get you inside the guard camp as a member of my crew . I don't know if I can get you into the inner camp . Maybe yes , maybe no , but you can observe everything from the roof of a barrack we are building '' .

Grabski slurped his way to the bottom of the soup bowl . `` Can't understand why the hell anyone wants to go inside that son-of-a-bitch place '' .

`` Orders from the Home Army '' .

`` Why ? ? Nothing there but Jews '' .

Andrei shrugged . `` We get strange orders '' .

`` Well -- what about the money '' ? ?

Andrei peeled off five one-thousand-zloty notes . Grabski had never seen so much money . His broad flat fingers , petrified into massive sausages by years of bricklaying , snatched the bills clumsily . `` This ain't enough '' .

`` You get the rest when I'm safely out of Majdanek '' .

`` I ain't taking no goddamned chances for no Jew business '' .

Andrei and Styka were silent .