The Ziatyk Family, Chapter Two

Source

The Saga of a Ukrainian Canadian Farm Family in Saskatchewan

When Orest woke up, he was in a hospital. The hospital atmosphere was extremely chaotic. There were thousands of newly liberated concentraton camp prisoners and forced laborers being wheeled into the hospital. American army nurses were working ttirelessly around the clock trying to salvage what was left of their lives and bringing them to reasonable health.

Orest was still disoriented. He fell into a deep sleep and do not wake up for two days. When he awoke, there were two American soldiers, one a corporal from Oklahoma, Corporal Imus Dickerson, and the other a lieutenant of Jewish origin from Brooklyn,New York- Lt. Benjamin Greenspan nee Grynzspan. Lt. Greenspan was extremely on edge today because he recently discovered that he lost one hundred relatives in various concentration, death, and labor camps throughout Germany and Poland. He furthermore discovered that several of his distant relatives were massacred in the Lvov pogrom.

Besides concentration camp survivors at the hospital, there were ex-SS men who went undercover, disguising themselves as concentration prisoners to avoid capture. It was Lt. Greenspan's duty to ferret them and administer the appropriate penalty. Lt. Greenspan was one of the final arbitrators who could decide to shoot the ex-SS men or send them to the Red Army for their brand of justice.

Lt. Greenspan with his adjutant, Corporal Dickerson, looked for unusually healthy looking patients and started questioning them. One young blond German boy who looked no older than seventeen years of age become apprehensive as they approached his section. The youth started to mumble in a eastern German dialect. He was a Saxon from Roumania and was active in an SS unit which participated in the massacre of unarmed American POWs in Malmedy. Lt. Greenspan lost several of his fellow soldiers in Malmedy and he was thirsting for revenge. As Lt. Greenspan approached the youth's bed, the youth bolted and started to run; however, Lt. Greenspan caught him and began to question him. The youth stammered, proclaiming his innocence. However Lt. Greenspan would have none of it.

Lt. Greenspan left the hospital room for one minute and there was a loud banging sound. The youth attempted suicide by shooting himself in the temple; however, it was unsuccessful. The nurses discovered the profusely bleeding youth and proceeding to put him under intensive care. Lt. Greenspan abruptly instructed the nurse on duty that the young ex-SS man was to be placed on close watch when he gets better. He announced that he wanted no suicides in this hospital.

Orest was left alone for a week. Then Lt. Greenspan with a Black adjutant, Private First Class Reginald Anderson, a Howard University graduate from Harlem, New York, proceeded to question him. Orest was dumbfounded and started to drift off but Lt. Greenspan roughly snatched the bed covers and slapped him. Orest's eyes began to sting with tears as a result of this rough treatment. A young corpulent nurse tried to admonish Lt. Greenspan for his rough treatment but he angrily dismissed her, stating that this issue was none of her concern.

Orest began to mutter nervously in his native Ukrainian. Lt. Greenspan became more incensed. Orest started to get nervous and Pvt. Anderson interceded, telling Lt. Greenspan to calm down. He cursed and left the room. Pvt. Anderson who spoke Russian and Ukrainian fluently, started to softly question Orest. Orest acknowledged that he was a soldier in the 14th Grenadier Waffen SS Division(1st Ukrainian Division of the SS). Pvt. Anderson further questioned Orest regarding the actions of this division, he started that he participated in fighting Red Army soldiers and never did he participated in any adversive actions. Lt. Greenspan overheard this, bolted into Orest's room and stated that he was a liar.

Lt. Greenspan pulled Pvt. Anderson aside, informing him do not believe this fabrication. Lt. Greenspan heard that the 14th Grenadier Waffen SS Division was one of the most notorious SS divisions. They participated in the mass murder of Jews in Eastern Poland and massacres of Polish nationals in Huta Pieniacka. Lt. Greenspan had Pvt. Anderson leave the room and he applied rougher interrogative methods to Orest. When the corpulent nurse saw this, she loudly chastised Lt. Greenspan to respect the rights of the patient. Lt. Greenspan replied to the nurse in expletives and she abruptly left the hospital room in tears.

The corpulent nurse reported the aforementioned incident to her superior, a captain n the nursing corp. The captain abruptly charged into the hospital room and testily informed Lt. Greenspan that while patients are recuperating in the hospital, regardless of their war status, are to be treated humanely. Lt. Greenspan looked at the captain, calling her an extremely pejorative name. The captain heard it and repeated the order.

Lt. Greenspan looked at Orest coldly and left the room. Orest breathed a sense of relief. Within a week, he was discharged from the hospital. He was on his way to a displaced person's camp. He became tired and started to sit on a discarded tabletop. He saw a group of teenaged boys eating soup and a sandwich. He proceed to go towards them and asked for some food. The teenaged boys were Polish Jews, some who were concentration camp survivors from Auschwitz and various slave labor camps. Two of the teenaged boys were also survivors of the Lvov pogrom.

Upon hearing and recognizing Orest's Galician Ukrainian accent, one of the boys angrily told him to go to the inferno and that he was a Ukrainian bastard. Orest pleaded to one of the boys to give him food but the boys angrily told him to depart. He became dejected and proceeded to the nearest relief center.......

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d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Very engrossing and powerful writing.

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