The prisoners’ reorganization of the crowded facility displays the civility, decency, and discipline of this disparate multinational group whom the Nazis had decreed unfit to exist. In confronting one especially cruel ex-guard, Zip could not bring herself to gratify a repeated vow to kill or even physically punish her. The threat of deportation to a camp in Russia led the group to try to find their own way home. Honor-bound, they delayed their start to ensure medical assistance for their friends who were too disabled and sick to travel. Finally, with their pitiful possessions and provender in tow, the four set off without papers, funds, maps, or guidance over the dirt and gravel roads of the provinces. Getting past Russian checkpoints, German civilians, and the ubiquitous (often amorous or predatory) Russian soldiers in the countryside, scavenging food, finding shelter for the night, and coaxing their depleted bodies and blistered feet over the hilly miles were daily routines. They slept in barns, under improvised tents, on straw or hay, all a telling improvement from the bare prison cells. Scant meals were used as a celebration of their freedom with manners and rituals that mocked the crudity of their circumstances. Hovering constantly over them was the specter "that we were outlaws, without any means of proving our identity, far away from homes which might not even exist now, living by our wits in a country shaken by the chaos of defeat, but we were free and we were happy." River travel in a found boat gave relative safety from shore-bound dangers and warm, generous receptions from Dutch river-barge crews (some of the most moving vignettes in the book) but meant new hazards as well: gunfire from Russian sentries, treacherous passage through a collapsed bridge, and finally confiscation by Russians of their precious little craft.