Based on "The Silver Sword", explain why Edek had been sent to the Warsaw camp.

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mandersn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Poles are put to work for the Germans, some peasants have access to food. The peasants succeed in smuggling food into the town and selling it to Poles on the black market. Older polish children are used as smugglers and Edek becomes a chief smuggler. As payment, Edek is given all the food he needed for his family (sisters). He hides food into the lining of his coat and sews the area up. The Germans find out about the smuggling and become vigilant. They set up patrols along the road in an attempt to catch the smugglers. Once, Edek is almost caught after he has hidden butter and eggs into a cartload of logs. The logs had been split, and the food hidden in the center then the logs glued together to concele them. A German police patrol stops the cart and Edek quickly makes off before they find anything. But he is chased and thankfully, a kind person (very likely a Polish man) lifts Edek and pitches him into a garbage cart. We learn, however, that Edek's luck soon runs out because he fails to come home one morning. After much querry, Ruth later learns that the secret police had caught up with Edek at a house where he was collecting items to smuggle. The secret police found cheese sewn in the lining of Edek's coat. They set fire to the house then take Edek, along with the house owner, away. This is the series of events that led to Edek being sent to the camp.

dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I could not find an instance where Edek was sent to a "Warsaw" camp - I'm wondering if you might mean the "Warthe" camp, a camp in the nearby city of Posen for victims of tuberculosis, where Edek was sent at the war's end.

Peasants had been forbidden to sell food to anyone but the Nazis in Warsaw during the war, but "with the help of the older children they smuggled it to the towns and sold it to the Poles on the black market" anyway (Chapter 7).  Edek became a skillful and daring member of one of these smuggling rings when the children were separated from their parents, but was eventually caught and sent to a forced labor camp in Germany, where he worked for two years.  He managed to escape and return to Warsaw by hiding under a truck, but this escapade, coupled with the deprivation and abuse he suffered in the work camp, took a physical toll on Edek, and he contracted tuberculosis. In the immediate aftermath of the war, Edek ended up at a transit camp in Posen, from which he was sent to Warthe because of his illness.  Always wary of being confined, Edek refused the help offered him at Warthe, and despite his poor health again struck out on his own.  He managed to get to the village of Kolina, and there, just by chance, was reunited with his siblings.

orbourne53 | Student

he got sent there to look for his father

jackchanel | Student

Edek was one of the chief smugglers. In return of his services, he was given all the food he needed for the family. One of his dodges was to go off to town with pats of butter sewn into the lining of his coat. But he could only do this on cool days or at night. On hot days the butter melted. So he preferred to work at night if he could. In time the Germans became wary and posted patrols on all the main roads into the city. After that he well aware of the penalties if he was caught. A youngsters might get away with a beating.

Another of Edek's dodges was the cartload of logs which he drove into the suburbs. Some of the logs were split, their cantres scraped out and packed with butter and eggs, then sticked together again. Once he drove his cartload into a police patrol, which was searching everything on the road. Edek did not stay to see if the glue would stand up to the treatment. He dived into the crowd and made off. Police started the chase, when some kind friend lifted him up and pitched him head first into a garbage cart.

One morning, when he failed to return. Ruth asked other families in the forest, but no one had seen him. Eventually, the police discovered that Edek was hidden in a smugggler's house. The police took him away in a van, with the house owner as well.

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The Silver Sword

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