She was referrring to January 1945 and her deportation to the Soviet Union for forced labour. There were 16 year olds on the Russians’ lists. Many people hid. My mother spent four days in a hole in the ground in a neighbour’s garden, behind the barn. Then the snow came. They couldn’t bring her food in secret any more, every step between house, barn and hole in the ground became visible. Throughout the village, the way to every hiding place could be seen in all that snow. Footsteps could be read in the garden. People were denounced by the snow. Not just my mother, many people had to abandon their hiding places voluntarily, forced out voluntarily by the snow. And that meant 5 years in the work camp. My mother never forgave the snow.

from Always the Same Snow and Always the Same Uncle by Herta Muller

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