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It was the first order that the deportees of Europe heard when reaching the death platform of Birkenau, as soon as the unlocked doors of the overcrowded vans were slang open:

"Alle heraus! Everybody out!"

Few were those who understood the exact meaning of the words, yet everybody inferred what they meant. After so many days and nights of being tortured by hunger and thirst, by ringing frost or sultry heat, after revolving to obsession the question "what would become of us?", no wonder that to the detainees the order sounded as if it were the signal of their salvation, so they rushed to the large openings made by the doors drawn open.

For three, four or perhaps five days on end the people in the vans had seen neither the plains, nor the forests they had been passing through, they saw no people, no birds, not even a patch of sky. The walls of the van had no slit to look out.

The people rushed to get off the vans as if they had been freed. They were at the end of their tether. Trying to delude themselves, they hoped that finally their ordeal had come to an end. The order "Alle heraus!""Everybody out!" strenghened that feeling.

But before jumping down, those on the edge of the van were seized with horror when seeing the strange sight in front of them: endless rows of barbed-wire fences, hundreds of sentry boxes with SS-men keeping watch and ward, one hand pulling the trigger, barracks, long, perfect lines of barracks as far as eye could see, thousands, hundreds of thousands of people in streaked clothes in front of them, and a heavy, black choking smoke above, covering the whole sky, leaving out not even a patch of blue.

But pushed from behind, weary of moans of the ill and of the dying, sick with the stink of putrefying corpses and of excrements (from the buckets they had relieved themselves into for several days), they jumped off the vans believing that "it had to be better here".

Nowhere and never have people stepped towards death more trustful than the deportees at Birkenau, jumping from vans urged by an order repeated over and over again:

"Alle heraus!" -- "Everybody out!"