Emilia feels increasingly panicked. She hates being inside the ship. She is caught up in a memory for a moment, remembering Mrs. Kleist who, like Hitler, believed in a master race, and who, like Hitler, believed the Polish were inferior. She hears the echoes of words spoken many months ago: “Not that one. This one is prettier.”
Emilia believes that, to some extent, a person’s race determines their future. Because Emilia was Polish, Mrs. Kleist was unable to see her as a member of her family, and as result, allowed something terrible to happen to Emilia.
Even as the Wilhelm Gustloff is filled with bodies, and even as the Nazi officials promise it will lead to freedom, Emilia remembers that the ship is named for a man who was murdered. She thinks, “The ship was born of death.”
Emilia finally has a reason for her ominous feelings. It seems unlucky to be aboard a boat named for someone with such bad luck himself.