Again, a wartime recollection of hiding from an implacable enemy.  People were warned by magpies, who could tell that the Germans were different to the locals.  

You should know that the birds helped us, too … When a magpie hears a stranger coming, it will always squawk.  Give out a warning signal.  They’d gotten used to us; the Germans smelled different … 

See another example of recognising the difference, and the danger, this time relating to animals rather than birds.  Or Faludy’s account of labour camp dogs knowing when guards were approaching. 

Source: Svetlana Alexievich, Secondhand Time: The last of the Soviets, trans. by Bela Shayevich (New York: Random House, 2017), p. 201

Photo credit:  Netti_Nu_Nu at pixabay


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