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相隔72年,一对奥斯维辛恋人最后的重逢

Lovers in Auschwitz, Reunited 72 Years Later. He Had One Question.
相隔72年,一对奥斯维辛恋人最后的重逢

The first time he spoke to her, in 1943, by the Auschwitz crematory, David Wisnia realized that Helen Spitzer was no regular inmate. Zippi, as she was known, was clean, always neat. She wore a jacket and smelled good. They were introduced by a fellow inmate, at her request.

他第一次和她说话是1943年,在奥斯维辛的焚化炉边,戴维·维斯尼亚(David Wisnia)意识到海伦·施皮策(Helen Spitzer)不是普通囚犯。大家管她叫齐皮,她总是那么干净体面,身上穿着一件夹克,闻起来很香。应她的要求,一个狱友介绍他们认识了。

Her presence was unusual in itself: a woman outside the women’s quarters, speaking with a male prisoner. Before Wisnia knew it, they were alone, all the prisoners around them gone. This wasn’t a coincidence, he later realized. They made a plan to meet again in a week.

她的出现本身就很不寻常:一个女人在女监外面和一个男囚犯说话。维斯尼亚还没反应过来,身边就只剩下她一个人,周围的犯人都走了。他后来意识到,这不是巧合。他们说好一周后再见面。
 

戴维·维斯尼亚在宾夕法尼亚州的家中。

On their set date, Wisnia went as planned to meet at the barracks between crematories 4 and 5. He climbed on top of a makeshift ladder made up of packages of prisoners’ clothing. Spitzer had arranged it, a space amid hundreds of piles, just large enough to fit the two of them. Wisnia was 17 years old; she was 25.

在约定的日期,维斯尼亚按照计划,在4号和5号焚化炉之间的营房和她会面。他爬上用一包包囚服做成的临时梯子。施皮策事先已经安排好了,在几百堆东西中间有一个空隙,刚好能容下他们两个。那一年维斯尼亚17岁;她25岁。

They were both Jewish inmates in Auschwitz, both privileged prisoners. Wisnia, initially forced to collect the bodies of prisoners who committed suicide, had been chosen to entertain his Nazi captors when they discovered he was a talented singer.

他们都是奥斯维辛的犹太囚犯,都是享有特权的囚犯。维斯尼亚最初被迫收殓自杀囚犯的尸体,后来纳粹关押者发现他是个出色的歌手,就让他唱歌取悦他们。

Spitzer held the more high-powered position: She was the camp’s graphic designer. They became lovers, meeting in their nook at a prescribed time about once a month. After the initial fears of knowing they were putting their lives in danger, they began to look forward to their dates. Wisnia felt special. “She chose me,” he recalled.

斯皮策的职权更高:她是集中营的平面设计师。他们成了恋人,每月都会约好时间,在他们的角落里相会。一开始,他们担心会有生命危险,但后来他们开始期待这样的约会。维斯尼亚感到特别。“她选择了我,”他回忆。

For a few months, they managed to be each other’s escape, but they knew these visits wouldn’t last. Around them, death was everywhere. Still, the lovers planned a life together, a future outside of Auschwitz. They knew they would be separated, but they had a plan, after the fighting was done, to reunite.

接下来的几个月里,他们设法成为对方逃避现实的出口,但他们知道这样的相聚不会持续太久。身边的死亡无处不在。尽管如此,这对恋人仍然计划着一起生活,离开奥斯维辛后共度未来。他们知道他们会被分开,但他们计划着在战争结束后重聚。

It took them 72 years.

这花了他们72年的时间。

On a recent afternoon this fall, Wisnia sat in his house of 67 years in his adopted hometown in Levittown, Pennsylvania, looking through old photographs. Still a passionate singer, Wisnia spent decades as a cantor at the local congregation. Now, about once a month, he gives speeches where he tells war stories, usually to students and sometimes at libraries or congregations.

今年秋天的一个下午,在他的第二故乡——宾夕法尼亚州的莱维敦,维斯尼亚在生活了67年的家中翻阅着旧照片。如今他依然是一个充满激情的歌手,在当地教会的唱诗班做了几十年的领唱。现在,他大约每月做一次演讲,讲述战争中的故事,通常是面向学生,有时还会去图书馆或教会。

“There are few people left who know the details,” he said.

“知道细节的人已经所剩无几了,”他说。

Spitzer was among the first Jewish women to arrive in Auschwitz in March of 1942. Through her ability to speak German, graphic design skills and sheer luck, Spitzer secured an office job.

施皮策是1942年3月首批抵达奥斯维辛的犹太女性之一,凭借德语能力、平面设计技能和纯粹的运气获得了一份办公室工作。

As Spitzer’s responsibilities grew, she was free to move around within parts of the camp and sometimes was allowed excursions. Yet Spitzer was never a Nazi collaborator or a kapo, a Jew assigned to oversee other prisoners. Instead, she used her position to help inmates and allies.

随着施皮策的职责越来越大,她可以在营地部分区域内自由活动,有时还可以短期离开。然而,斯皮策从来就不是纳粹的合作者,也不是犹太卡波(kapo)——即受纳粹指派监管其他囚犯的犹太人。相反,她利用自己的职权来帮助其他囚犯和盟友。

Wisnia was assigned to the “corpse unit” when he arrived. But within months word got around that Wisnia was a gifted singer. He started singing regularly to Nazi guards and was assigned a new job at a building the SS called the Sauna. He disinfected the clothing of new arrivals with the same Zyklon B pellets used to murder prisoners in the gas chamber.

维斯尼亚刚进集中营时被分到“尸体组”。但几个月后,关于他是天才歌手的消息传开了。他开始定期为纳粹警卫唱歌,并且得到了一个新岗位,到一个被党卫队叫做“桑拿房”的建筑里工作,给新来者的衣服消毒,用的正是在毒气室里杀害囚犯的齐克隆B药剂。

Spitzer, who had noticed Wisnia at the Sauna, began making special visits. Their relationship lasted several months. One afternoon in 1944 they realized it would probably be their final climb up to their nook. The Nazis were transporting the last of the camp prisoners on death marches and destroying evidence of their crimes.

施皮策注意到了桑拿房中的维斯尼亚,两人开始了幽会。他们的关系持续了几个月。1944年的一个下午,他们意识到这可能是他们最后一次爬到这个角落来相聚。纳粹正在运送最后一批集中营囚犯做死亡行军,并毁灭罪证。

During their last rendezvous they made a plan. They would meet in Warsaw when the war was over, at a community center. It was a promise.

他们在最后一次约会时制定了一个计划。战争结束后,他们将在华沙的一个社区中心会面。这是一个承诺。

Wisnia left before Spitzer on one of the last transports out of Auschwitz. He was transferred to the Dachau concentration camp in December 1944. Soon after, during a death march from Dachau, he happened upon a hand shovel. He struck an SS guard and ran. The next day, while hiding in a barn, he heard what he thought were Soviet troops approaching. He ran to the tanks and hoped for the best. It turned out to be Americans.

维斯尼亚在施皮策前面离开了奥斯维辛。1944年12月,他被转移到达豪集中营。不久后,在一次从达豪出发的死亡行军中,他偶然发现了一把手铲。他袭击了一名党卫队警卫后逃跑了。第二天,他躲在谷仓里,听到军队逼近的声音,以为是苏联军队。他抱着碰运气的心情跑向坦克。结果是美国军队。

Even though, as a Pole, he never could become a full-fledged GI, Wisnia performed numerous jobs after the war with the American Army. He worked at the Army Post Exchange, which provided basic supplies to soldiers. Once he’d joined the Americans, his plan to meet Zippi in Warsaw was no longer even a consideration. America was his future.

尽管身为波兰人的他不可能成为正式的美国大兵,但在战争结束后,维斯尼亚为美国军队做了不少事。他在为士兵提供基本生活用品的陆军营区贩卖部工作。一旦加入美国人的行列,在华沙与齐皮会面的计划就被他抛在了脑后。美国才是他的未来。

Spitzer was among the last to leave the camp alive. She was sent to the women’s camp at Ravensbrück and a sub-camp in Malchow before being evacuated in a death march. She and a friend escaped the march by removing the red stripe she had painted on their uniforms, allowing them to blend with the local population that was fleeing.

施皮策是最后几个活着离开集中营的人之一。她先后被送往拉文斯布吕克的妇女集中营和马尔霍夫的一个分营地,最后被送去做死亡行军。她和一个朋友去掉了她在制服上画的红色条纹,混在当地的逃亡居民里,逃过了这场行军。

Amid the chaos, Spitzer made it to the first all-Jewish displaced persons camp in the American zone of occupied Germany, which in the spring of 1945 housed at least 4,000 survivors.

一片混乱之中,施皮策成功抵达德国境内美军占领区的第一个犹太流散者安置营。1945年春,该营地收留了至少4000名幸存者。

Soon after, Spitzer married Erwin Tichauer, that camp’s acting police chief. Once again, Spitzer, now known as Tichauer, was in a privileged position. Although they, too, were displaced persons, the Tichauers lived outside the camp.

不久后,施皮策与营地的代理警察长欧文·蒂肖尔(Erwin Tichauer)结了婚。斯皮策成了蒂肖尔夫人,再一次获得了特权。同为流散者,这对夫妇可以住在难民营外。

Eventually, the Tichauers moved to America, first to Austin, Texas, and in 1967 they settled in New York, where Tichauer became a bioengineering professor at New York University.

最终,蒂肖尔夫妇搬到了美国,先是来到德克萨斯州的奥斯汀,1967年他们在纽约定居,蒂肖尔后来成了纽约大学的生物工程教授。

Sometime after the war ended, Wisnia heard from a former Auschwitz inmate that Tichauer was alive. By then he was deeply enmeshed with the American Army, based in Versailles, where he waited until he could finally emigrate to the United States.

战争结束后不久,维斯尼亚从一名前奥斯维辛囚犯那里得知,蒂肖尔还活着。那时他已经深深融入了驻扎在凡尔赛的美军,他在那里一直等到最终移民美国。

When his aunt and uncle picked him up at the port in Hoboken on February 1946, they couldn’t believe the 19-year-old in a GI uniform was the little David they last saw in Warsaw.

1946年2月,姨妈和姨父在霍博肯的港口迎接他,简直不敢相信眼前这个穿着美国大兵制服的19岁男孩就是当年华沙分别时的小戴维。

In a rush to make up for lost time, Wisnia plunged into New York City life, going to dances and parties. In 1947, at a wedding, he met his future wife, Hope.

为了弥补失去的时间,维斯尼亚一头扎进纽约的城市生活,参加各种舞会和聚会。1947年,在一次婚礼上,他遇见了自己未来的妻子霍普(Hope)。

Over the years, Wisnia kept tabs on Tichauer through a mutual friend. Meanwhile, his family grew — he had four children and six grandchildren. In 2016 Wisnia decided to try to reach out to Zippi. He’d shared the story with his family. His son, who was now a rabbi at Reform synagogue in Princeton, New Jersey, initiated contact for him. Finally, she agreed to a visit.

多年来,维斯尼亚通过一个共同的朋友了解蒂肖尔的情况。与此同时,他的家庭也在扩大——他有四个子女,六个孙辈。2016年,维斯尼亚决定尝试接触齐皮。他把这个故事告诉了家人。已经成为新泽西州普林斯顿改革派犹太会堂拉比的儿子担起了联系的工作。最后,她同意维斯尼亚去看望她。

It had been 72 years since he’d last seen his former girlfriend. He’d heard she was in poor health but knew very little about her life. He suspected she’d helped to keep him alive and wanted to know if this was true.

他已经72年没见过他的前女友了。他听说她身体不好,但对她的生活知之甚少。他怀疑是她帮助他活了下来,他想知道这是不是真的。

When Wisnia and his grandchildren arrived at her apartment in Manhattan, they saw Tichauer lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by shelves filled with books. She had been alone since her husband died in 1996, and they never had any children. Over the years, bed-bound, she’d gone increasingly blind and deaf.

维斯尼亚和孙辈们来到她在曼哈顿的公寓,看到蒂肖尔躺在病床上,周围的书架上摆满了书。自从1996年丈夫去世后,她就一直形单影只,他们从未有过孩子。这些年来,她困在床上,视力和听力都每况愈下。

At first, she didn’t recognize him. Then Wisnia leaned in close.

起初,她认不出他。然后维斯尼亚向她靠近。

“Her eyes went wide, almost like life came back to her,” said Wisnia’s grandson Avi Wisnia, 37. “It took us all aback.”

“这时她的眼睛睁得大大的,就好像生命回到了体内,”维斯尼亚37岁的孙子艾维·维斯尼亚(Avi Wisnia)说。“我们都大吃一惊。”

The reunion lasted about two hours. He finally had to ask: Did she have something to do with the fact that he’d managed to survive in Auschwitz all that time?

见面持续了大约两个小时。他最后还是不得不问:他能在奥斯维辛集中营里活那么久,究竟是不是和她有关?

She held up her hand to display five fingers. Her voice was loud, her Slovakian accent deep. “I saved you five times from bad shipment,” she said.

她举起手,伸出五根手指。她声音很响,带着很重的斯洛伐克口音。“我救了你五次,让你没被送去死,”她说。

“I knew she would do that,” Wisnia said to his grandchildren. “It’s absolutely amazing. Amazing.”

“我就知道她会这么做,”维斯尼亚对他的孙辈们说。“太惊人了。太惊人了。”

There was more. “I was waiting for you,” Tichauer said. Wisnia was taken aback. After she escaped the death march, she had waited for him in Warsaw. She’d followed the plan. But he never came.

还有别的。“我等过你,”蒂肖尔说。维斯尼亚大吃一惊。逃离死亡行军之后,她在华沙等过他。她遵守了计划。但是他没有来。

She had loved him, she told him quietly. He had loved her, too, he said.

她爱过他,她平静地告诉他。他说,他也爱过她。

Wisnia and Tichauer never saw each other again. She died last year at age 100. On their last afternoon together, before Wisnia left her apartment, she asked him to sing to her. He took her hand and sang her the Hungarian song she taught him in Auschwitz. He wanted to show her that he remembered the words.

维斯尼亚和蒂肖尔后来再也没有见过面。她于去年去世,享年100岁。他们在一起的最后那个下午,在维斯尼亚离开她的公寓之前,她请他给她唱歌。他拉着她的手,唱起她在奥斯维辛教他的那首匈牙利歌曲。他想让她知道,他记得那些歌词。
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