A Scorching Summer in the Western Desert

Moshe Mossinson describes the scorching summer days in the Western Desert:

July 1st 1942


"Yesterday a dust storm broke out, the likes of which I have not seen in all my days. Within a few moments most of the tents collapsed to the ground and the entire camp was lost and disappeared into the darkness that enveloped it. Our tent stood its ground a little longer. I went outside and attacked by dust began to stretch the ropes and while I was working sparks flew from my fingers. Afterwards it became apparent that it was because the air was saturated with such static that one’s fingers attracted it on rubbing and creating friction with the ropes.


At times the storm calmed and quiet, gentle dust rain fell, as fine as cement dust. And when it cleared slightly we could also hear the passing storm in the distance and could see enormous dust pillars like fifty story houses, drifting away far into the desert. We all had faces like demons, we awoke in the morning with swollen eyes. We spat dust all day long.


They say that the temperature reached 65 degrees yesterday! The water that was outside almost reached boiling point and the water in the cloth wrapped canteen that was protected by the shade of the tent was so hot that one could not touch it with one’s lips".

July 15th 1942


"And once again I lament: Heat and more heat until one despairs! It is night time and I sit next to the lantern, half naked, just in my underwear, a wet towel on my back and drenched in sweat. All day long we melt from the heat. The only respite in this heat is found in work. But during the free time of the night hours there is no rest. And another three to four months of this heat still awaits us. We want to move on already, even to another hellish situation, just to get rid of this heat ".
 
From: M. Mossinson, Letters from the Desert, Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing, pp. 114-15

Moshe Mossinson (1910-1979) was an Israeli writer and editor. In his position at the “Hanoar Haoved” newspaper “B’Maale” he nurtured many writers, including his eldest daughter, the author Devora Omer, who published her first article in the paper.

 

חיילים ארצישראלים בצבא הבריטי. המדבר המערבי, קיץ 1943?. אוסף יעקב דן, מכון בן-צבי.

 המדבר המערבי, קיץ 1942?. אוסף דניס ארפי, מכון בן-צבי

חיילים ארצישראלים בצבא הבריטי. המדבר המערבי, קיץ 1943?. אוסף יעקב דן, מכון בן-צבי

 

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