Horrors Of A Journey By Polish Night Train, Published 24 April 1958KRAKOW (Delayed The horrors of a night train journey in Poland ran hardly be exaggerated. Don't believe the colored posters; it's Buchenwa!d on wheels. The de-luxe first class trip is strictly from Belsen.
The concentration camp atmosphere hits you when you are debouched from a dingy cah to a dingier station. Here people stand around for hours because there are no places or not enough places to sit. Miserable parents, themselves dog-tired, try to pillow their children as best they can. I saw two sad but beautiful cherubs sleeping one on top of the other in a fantastic arrangement, while the mother tried to sleep standing up. Let us move on from these tortures devised by the Polish State Railways to what happened to me.
In our part of the world, if one has a first class sleeper one goes down to the train after 10.30 p.m. boards his sleeper, and goes to sleep. Would the Poles permit this? Not they. That would be too easy. They make you stand around on an open wind-swept platform until at the very last, the 00.52 train backs in. That's 12.52 a.m. Then the Poles, well-schooled in these mob scenes, rush for their cars. I was sure there would be some dignity and decency among the deluxe first class passengers. But to my surprise, here too was a wild scramble, and I came in last.
I was chagrined to find I had an upper. A stranger had the lower. Despite my protests the porter did not replace the burned out bulb in my upper berth. I have pretty well learned to undress myself in the dark by now. but I wanted to read myself to sleep. They also do not give you covers that are wide enough or long enough. In despair I put on my dressing gown, and while the breezes came in the sides of my Polish Procrustean pallet, I grabbed a big and smelly blanket, and finally dropped off to troubled sleep.
As a final insult you are expected to stand in the cold aisle in the morning, while your room-male dresses. I tell you I was glad to see Krakow.
I am happy to report that the porter expects and gets no tip.