A name to a number

non-fiction, Buenos Aires 2008

In the middle of 2004 my aunt Karin Alexander received a remarkable piece of news: in a village called Wierzch, in the south of Poland, the grave of her cousin Erich Hirschberger had been found.

Erich was shot by an SS officer in January 1945 on a death march from Blechhammer, a sub camp of Auschwitz. But the details of this fate had never reached the family.

My aunt’s first reaction: “There is a grave, and I can visit it.”

I joined my aunt and uncle on their trip to Wierzch in Poland to learn and write about Erich’s years in the camp and about his death in the fields.