Believed to be the only book written inside the camp, this memoir, by the last Jewish doctor to graduate from Leiden University in the Netherlands during the Second World War, is an extraordinary account of his life as a prisoner, and a near real-time record of his daily struggle to survive. But it also records fleeting moments of joy with his wife, Friedel, who was transported with him. While separated, they managed to pass notes through the fence, and occasionally, steal a brief embrace. The author's son Melcher de Wind will front the publicity campaign on publication.
De Wind has an eye for the telling detail, and is constantly striving to decode the power structures around him. He observes the intricate, feudal chains of command which keep the huge camp functioning, and in particular the psychological purpose of the constant verbal abuse, the shouting and blows. “The Führer shouted at his Generals...they in turn got to shout at their officers. And the officers shouted at the soldiers...the soldiers calmed down again after beating the prisoners and shouting at them. The Blockalteste (block senior prisoner) hit the Poles and the Poles hit Hans. The Führer’s blow had reached Hans...”