Gigliotti - Chapter 03
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The Emplotment of Experience
unmaking of the modern railway experience began before victims were
forced to board the trains. Roundups, unannounced inspections, ruthless
extractions from apartments, and beatings were all features of the
forced relocation from ghettos, towns, and villages. Observing the
deportation of Jews from Salonica, Greece, Rosa Miller wrote: "And the
Jews emerge, weighed down by their rucksacks, their bundles, their
bags, loaded with baskets containing food for the journey ahead.
Children press close to their parents, uncomprehending, fearfully
following their every move. Older people have difficulty in walking,
they stumble and fall sometimes, but everybody must carry their burden.
Young people walk out defiantly, head up, completely silent." Using
Miller's description as a departure point, I analyze victims'
testimonies of departure from ghettos in different locations across
Europe. I explore what they were discussing, responding to, and
witnessing at each critical stage of transit, of which I identify
three: identification and roundups, assembly and waiting, and boarding