The inmates in the Holzen subcamp followed the Allied advance with a mixture of hope and anxiety. On 12 January 1945, the Soviets launched the winter offensive that brought the Red Army ever closer to the Oder and the Neisse. Allied troops were also forcing the Germans back in the west.

After the war, the French inmate André Rougeyron recalled: “On January 14 we heard about the Russian attack, and this good news gave us some courage. We also followed anxiously the progress of the Allies to our west.

During his confinement in Holzen, Camille Delétang responded artistically to the Red Army advance. He drew the sunrise over Poland on 19 January, two days after the liberation of Warsaw. Still surrounded by the cruel reality of the Holzen camp, a Polish inmate functionary is filled with hope as he gazes at the rising sun.

(Anett Dremel)

Source: André Rougeyron, Agents for Escape: Inside the French Resistance 1939–1945, Baton Rouge and London, 1996.

Reference: Jens-Christian Wagner (ed.), Wiederentdeckt: Zeugnisse aus dem Konzentrationslager Holzen, Göttingen 2013.