At the end of the day as the Germans turned their tools in to the guards, one of them suddenly cried out in desperation. The prisoner searched his pockets, pulling them inside out, and spoke rapidly in German to the men gathered around him. Some of them tried to comfort him, but the man, in his early thirties openly sobbed. They motioned for Rudolf to interpret the problem to the guards who were impatiently telling the men to get into the truck.
Bob walked to where Rudolf stood. “What’s the matter? Why is he so upset?” he asked.
“Helmut lost a small Bible his mother gave him—a gift to keep him safe at sea,” Rudolf said. “He has had it with him since the war began in 1939. He wants to search the area where he worked, but the guards say we must leave.”
“Where was he working?” Bob asked.
“There, about three rows over from where we were,” Rudolf said, his voice tight. He pointed to where the prisoner had been working, a spot thick with maturing cotton.
The two guards became more aggressive, yelling at the men. Rudolf obeyed, climbing reluctantly into the bed of the Army truck, but he turned back toward Bob with a look of fury crossing his Aryan features, and suddenly, without warning, he spit violently onto the dusty ground, the force of his anger floating through the hot desert air.
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