And so in the fullness of time it came to pass that Elsa got her transport, thanks to the chatty young officer in charge of the deportations, and she got her pass to the Jewish quarter, and help with hauling the photographic equipment. It was the fruit of weeks upon weeks of maneuvering, and she even managed an orderly whom the officer gave her and told to take orders from her as from his military superior, and all was well.
She briefed the young man, on the way there, in the fine art of being an anthropological assistant, which is to say, invisibility. She’d told his officer to send him in civilian clothes, because while the imprimatur of the occupying authority was of great importance politically, it didn’t do to stir things up further with the subjects. There were large families, in their warrens, mothers and fathers and ten to twelve children—quite marvelous, and a soon to be passing thing, for this prolific stock was to be pruned back, and this phenomenon would be documented for the histories of the Government General as well as for its own intrinsic interest.
The young man was most helpful, and silent, as he carried the photographic equipment into an outbuilding and helped her to set up a primitive photographic studio, complete with a grey army blanket by way of backdrop, to which she affixed the dressmaker’s tape she carried by way of a reference rule, for use in later measurements on the photograph.