Their relationship echoed, in many ways, the bonds of trust and mutual protection that kept prisoners alive and sane in Nazi concentration camps. In those camps, researchers found, the “basic unit of survival” was the pair, not the individual.
“[I]t was in the pairs that the prisoners kept alive in the semblance of humanity,” concluded Elmer Luchterhand, a sociologist at Yale who interviewed fifty-two concentration camp survivors shortly after liberation.
Pairs stole food and clothing for each other, exchanged small gifts, and planned for the future. If one member of a pair fainted from hunger in front of an SS officer, the other would prop him up.
“Survival...could only be a social achievement, not an individual accident,” wrote Eugene Weinstock, a Belgian resistance fighter and Hungarian-born Jew who was sent to
The death of one member of a pair often doomed the other. Women who knew Anne Frank in the
On January 2, 2005, Shin and Park tried to escape together. Park was instantly electrocuted trying to climb between the two lowest wires of the barbed wire fence. His dead body served as a makeshift “ground” over which Shin walked, badly burning his legs in the process, to eventual freedom.
|MARGOT AND ANNE FRANK|