Over the top of this gate I had noticed one of those mottoes to which the German is so partial. I do not recall the actual words, but I was told that it was something to do with crime and punishment. It would have been far more appropriate had it been inscribed “Main entrance to Hell. No pass-out checks!” According to many accounts which reached my ears during the succeeding few days, many entered those gates, but few passed out alive. I can substantiate this from my own observations, which are duly narrated, while my experience was sufficient to vouch for its similarity to Hades.
This gate gave approach to a long corridor, flanked on either side by cells. This corridor is facetiously nick-named by the prisoners as “Avenue of the Damned,” because it is in these cells that the tenants await their doom. I was separated from my two companions, who were already being treated more leniently than myself, the case against them being obviously very thin, and was brought to a stop before cell “No. 11.”
The massive door swung open, and accompanied by four soldiers I entered. The door closed, there was a grating in the lock, and we were alone. Even now I could not keep back a smile. Although I had been thrust into the cell, together with four armed soldiers, and the door had been bolted and barred, I turned at the sound of a slight click. The head gaoler, who had ushered us in and had locked the door upon us, according to the regulations of the prison, had opened the peep-hole to satisfy himself that I was safely inside!
HOW GERMANY DRIVES HER PRISONERS MAD
The soldiers had accompanied me into the cell to complete the preliminaries which comprised the final search. This involved my transition to a state of nature. My frock coat was removed and all pockets further examined. The seams and lining were closely investigated while even the buttons were probed to make certain they concealed nothing of a dangerous nature. In a few minutes they discovered my silent companion, the tiny camera, which I had deftly removed from its secret hiding-place to a tail pocket in my coat, as I did not wish to have it found in its hiding-place, which would have been far more incriminating. I had done this while coming down the steps to the cells. Also I had extracted the exposed film and had placed this in a spot where it was absolutely safe from discovery.
When the soldiers alighted upon the instrument they were sorely puzzled. All my pockets had been turned inside out in the room upstairs and now this camera had been brought to light. They shook their heads completely baffled, and looked at me meaningly. But my face was inscrutable.