The line of people along the station platform resembled a lineup of zombies.
But these people were not zombies but rather liberated persons from the worst of the camps. Each man and woman carried a water bottle. Some sipped as they waited, most held onto their bottle and looked ahead.
It was easy to understand their apprehension at finding themselves on a train station and hearing the approaching engine. All of them had been delivered here in cattle wagons, cramped in, given no food or water and as a result, many of their fellow passengers died on route.
But now things were different, and as the train pulled into the station, they could see that this time they were to be transported in passenger carriages.
When the train came to a stop, they stood and waited. Not one ventured to board the carriage in front of them. They had to be urged to do so, and once they saw the carriages had food for them their reluctance dwindled.
With them all, on board, the train moved off and the passengers still in a state of shock and fear accepted the food parcels they were given. Tentative at first, fearing the worst, as they had all experienced unspeakable horrors in the camps, they began eating and feeling for the first time some respect and dignity.
They didn’t have homes to go to as most of their towns had been destroyed in the war, there were very few relatives left, they were displaced persons, and as they rode the train, they wondered where they might be going.
Freedom had come, and their release was like a massive weight removed from their shoulders. For the first time in years, they moved as men and women who could once again see a future for themselves.
The train hurried along its rails, past green fields and through towns that showed the scars of war.
After eating the men in one carriage started to sing. Soon the song infected all the carriages and men and women sang as one, celebrating a new life.
Eventually, the train stopped, and they looked out on a place they had never seen before. The colours were vibrant, the expanse of green reached the horizon, there were shops and on the platform were stalls set up with clean clothes.
Discarding their camp rags, they dressed and shed their past, at least in a physical sense. Showers and new clothes did a lot, but inside each person was a story that needed to be told.