28 November 2014

Published November 26, 2014 by rochellewisoff

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The picture below is the PHOTO PROMPT. There’s much to look at. What do you see? Tell us in one hundred words or less. 

My story follows the prompt and the inLinkz blue frog. I appreciate honest comments and crit.  

PHOTO PROMPT - Copyright - Randy Mazie

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Randy Mazie

*Note:  I apologize for any confusion over the inLinkz tool and encourage you to contact inLinkz.com DIRECTLY for help. Also, I’ve been told that the blue frog does a disappearing act from this page for some. I don’t know why this happens nor is there anything I can do about it. If you want to vent about it feel free to email me at Runtshell@gmail.com. I’ll do what I can. 


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Genre: Realistic/Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


            “What’s this, Opa?” asked Gretchen. “Is it a storybook? I like the pretty gold bird on it.”

            Herrick gently took the blue, leather-bound volume from his granddaughter.

            “This was given to me a very long time ago.”

            “Once upon a time?”

            Gathering Gretchen onto his lap, Herrick closed his eyes and remembered the day the youth leader issued him a fresh uniform and the virulent tome. So proud he’d been to serve his country. So fervent.  

            “Will you read it to me, Opa?”

            Herrick fished a box of matches from his pocket.

            “Nein, Liebling. I ‘ve a better plan for it.”



Hitler's Youth

ORIGINAL ARTWORK – Copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Use by permission only.



105 comments on “28 November 2014

    • Dear Björn,

      I’m generally not in favor of burning books. And think of how many Hitler had burned. For his book I’d certainly make an exception. And if my story made you think…mission accomplished. 😉

      Thank you.




  • Oh, wow! So powerful, Rochelle. And so necessary in our world today. Hitler is dead, but the spirit that possessed him is alive and well, and this world needs to be on guard as never before. You’ve done a masterful job of presenting so much truth in so few words.


    • Dear Sandra,

      I fear we’re in 1939 all over again. When I hear about classics being banned because they’re not politically correct I cringe. The spirit of Amalek is alive and well from Hitler to Stalin to ISIS and so on.

      Thank you for your kind words. “Wow” makes my day.




  • Rochelle, As writers we learn that words have the ability to both create and destroy. Great speakers also know this. That book had and has the power to destroy, and a young person should not have contact with it. They are in their formative years and guardians must be careful harmful ideas don’t corrupt them. An historic proof of that was the Hitler youth. There’s more danger of that these days than ever before. Good story of an example. The grandfather is justified in fearing for his grandchild. Well written as always with historic background. — Susan


    • Dear Susan,

      Whoever coined the verse, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” was wrong beyond belief. It’s those invisible scars that cause the most damage.

      Thank you for your kind and affirming words.




  • Dear Rochelle,

    One of the strengths of the human race, as Carl Sagan once said, is the persistence of memory. We Begin with the Young teaches a valuable lesson. The young are malleable and naive and once molded are hard pressed to change themselves. Often the only way to change them is to start anew with their children. And so it goes…

    A well thought out and executed story this week. Great sketch, too. You’re a two sport letter woman.




  • Terrific story, and a wonderful sketch to go with it. I’m reminded of the saying “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. I once repeated that to my stepdaughter and I’ve been warmed to see the huge part her children have played in the Remembrance activities; not just this year but in recent years since. Your stories each week play their part in the process of remembering.


  • We must tell the stories, for us to remember and for youth to learn. Sometimes it seems there are not enough stories in the world to fight all the ignorance and hate, but even one little spark can start a beautiful firework. Just keep doing what you do, Rochelle, because you do it so beautifully.
    That sketch is amazing, a great illustration for your story.


    • Dear Loré,

      The trouble with these stories is that as survivors die off the memories die with them. All is relegated to the history books that are seldom cracked open. Thus history is repeated.

      Thank you for your encouraging words.




    • Dear Randy,

      Love the picture. So many things to capitalize on.

      I thought of the Book Thief immediately. I read the book and then waited impatiently for the movie to be released. I wasn’t disappointed.

      My rabbi was invited to speak to a church congregation in Germany a couple of years ago. While he was there his host found a copy of Mein Kampf in his attic. They made of video as they burned it on the grill and sang “David Melech Yisrael.” I tear up thinking about it.

      Thank you.




  • A beautiful thoughtful story for this week Rochelle.

    “She tore a page from the book and ripped it in half.
    Then a chapter.
    Soon, there was nothing but scraps of words littered between her legs and all around her. The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn’t be any of this. Without words, the Führer was nothing. There would be no limping prisoners, no need for consolation or wordly tricks to make us feel better.
    What good were the words?
    She said it audibly now, to the orange-lit room. “What good are the words?”
    ― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief


  • Wonderful slice of life piece, Rochelle. While I’m adamantly against burning books (Bradbury taught me about that), I would make an exception for this one. People don’t let their children near arsenic, and likewise shouldn’t let their children near the writings of psychopaths. You told the story so smoothly yet the moral inside was clear as day. Wonderful job!


  • One of those qualities that we see disappearing in the world is the spirit of repentance. When evil is not repented of, it festers and grows, infecting our young people. Unfortunately, our media/government/educators are creating just that environment of intolerance, even on college campuses as I read earlier in the news today – Here’s the video link: http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/11/i-will-fking-slap-you-more-cornell-anti-israel-intimidation/


    • Dear JD,

      I have to agree with your comments. The world is going to hell in a hand-basket. I watched the video and it sent cold chills through me. As a Jew I find little comfort. I feel that we’re on the verge of 1940.

      Thank you for commenting and sharing.




  • What a powerful piece of writing, with so much story in what isn’t said but in what we know of that terrible time. The tenderness of the relationship makes it all the more poignant.
    I always enjoy your stories but this is one of my favourites


  • Masterful wordsmith. You wind fiction and truth and history in a wonderful weave that causes the reader to think….What, better check the links. I love it, and never get tired of reading your educating pieces.


  • This is so powerful, Rochelle — like others have said, the idea of burning a book instantly puts my hackles up — but this book — this book — go for it.

    And InLinkz has been disappearing every single place I’ve seen it used. So it’s not you. So no worries.

    Great artwork — I’m so envious of your talent 🙂


    • Dear J,

      Yeah…can’t do anything about the disappearing frog act.

      While my rabbi was visiting a group in Germany they burned a copy of that book on a barbecue grill while singing Hebrew songs. I tear up when I see it.

      Thank you for your sweet comments.



      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear KT,

      When I first considered this photo I figured there would be stories about book burning and had no intention of going that route. Then I remembered an incident my rabbi shared. He’d been invited to speak to a church group in Germany. Needless to say, he had apprehensions about going. His host had found a copy of that book in the attic and suggested they burn it. Which these dear German me did, on a barbecue grill while singing a Hebrew song.

      Thank you for such lovely comments.



      Liked by 1 person

      • No problems, I really enjoyed the story. On another reading, I think our takes are actually very different – my books are burning due to censorship, its a statement on an exercise in governmental control of thought.

        In your tale I read it as the grandfather making a very personal statement, almost ‘turning away’ from actions he might have taken in his youth – actions he is no longer proud of, particularly in the face of his granddaughters innocent questions. I saw this as a sort of cleansing, if such a thing is possible.

        I think the fact your story shares that kernel of fact with the story told by your Rabbi gives it a kind of weight or power, which comes through in the words.

        Anyway, yours are 100 words that are always an interesting read, and frequently an education.


        Liked by 1 person

  • Powerful and subtle at the same time. Rochelle I don’t even know how that’s possible, but you’ve done it here. Leaves me wondering about burning books, as others have said – never a good thing and not the lesson to teach a child, but perhaps there are exceptions to the rule and good reasons for them.
    Not writing this week, but I couldn’t bring myself to miss a reading a few.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jennifer,

      I have a couple of German friends who even in our generation bear the shame of what their parents and grandparents did. As a Jew, it’s easy for me to point a finger and say, “That’s what they did to us.” I don’t believe in burning books either, but for that one I’d definitely make an exception.

      Glad this story hit the target. Enjoy your respite and be careful on those stairs.




    • Dear Hilary,

      My inspiration for this story came from a trip my rabbi made to Germany. While he was there his host found a copy of Mein Kampf that probably had been issued to his father. My rabbi has a moving video of the man and his friends burning the book on a BBQ grill while singing the traditional Hebrew song, “David Melech Yisrael.”

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.




  • I love that you’ve given the point of view of this man,and shown his regret and shame. So powerful. He remembers his own impressionability as a young person, and how he was influenced. Very moving.


    • Dear Marg,

      The title is taken directly from the maniac Fuhrer himself. Young minds are pliable and putty in the hands of their teachers. Scary. Jews weren’t the only victims in Nazi Germany.

      Thank you for your kind comments.




  • I see this as burning a message more than a book. I hope Opa follows through. When his granddaughter is older, will he ever share those memories with her?
    There’s so much tenderness in this scene.
    Happy Anniversary and Happy Thanksgiving!


  • Dear Charity Hope,
    Jan is indeed a kind and patient man. Congrats on the anniversary. We’ve got number Four-Oh coming up in January. Seems like only yesterday I stole her as a child bride. She could have done a whole lot better.
    Your story this week was brilliant and so is your art.
    – Abram


    • Dear Abram,

      Remember that the big four-Oh is ruby. Be sure to shower your child bride with them. I wonder if she’d say she could’ve done better. I’m not so sure.

      Thank you for saying such nice things about my story and sketch.


      Charity Hope


    • Dear Plaridel,

      As with things we collect through the years, there are things we forget we have. Perhaps Herrick’s mother packed things in a box after the war and he inherited crates he’s never looked through. Now his granddaughter is rummaging through his attic and has found this. She’s probably not old enough to read and, as another commentor put it, he doesn’t want her drinking poison.

      That’s my story and I’m sticking to it 😉 And yes, I’m sure his conscience is involved.

      Thank you for commenting.




  • This was a wonderfully well thought out story and your sketch is fantastic … although it’s true that history tends to repeat itself, basically because we refuse to look into our past (and all too often we don’t even look at what’s going on in our present), it’s also true that if we make exceptions to an idea we open that idea up it to interpretation, but rarely do we get to choose who’s interpreting, who’s doing the picking and the choosing. Have a great week Rochelle! Hugs, Georgia.


  • Oh this is powerful! reminds me when my son was 14 and I gave him extra $$ to see a movie with this friends, Shindler’s List. When I picked him up, he said,”Mom, do you know what they did in those days?” I nodded, “yes, and no one should ever forget.”


    • Dear Oliana,

      Shindler’s List was an amazing movie as Oskar Shindler was an amazing man. I’m glad your son learned from it. Thank you for sharing that and for commenting on my story. Glad you liked it.




      • I grew up in the 50’s and was always drawn to novels and history of people of Jewish faith. Maybe it was my strict Catholic (narrow minded at the time) upbringing that pushed me to learn more about the truth. One of my favourite authors is Chaim Potok…I’ve read many of his books several times; his style of storytelling attracted me to writing.


    • Dear Jan,

      Thank you on both counts. I can’t believe we’ve stayed together this long. Our parents gave us six months at the most. And my mother’s admonishment was, “You can always come back home, unless you get pregnant.”

      Glad you liked my story.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle, It does seem that History repeats itself because of stupid people not learning the lesson the first or tenth time. Your story is excellent and makes me sad. I would use the pages from Hitlers book for lining a bird cage or worse. I would never hesitate about burning his books – he was an evil man with evil thoughts and evil followers. Good job! Nan 🙂


  • Through the eyes of innocents – the pretty bird. I’m not for book burning as a rule, but my story has a similar theme. I can see why it would make sense for Herrick, as a break with the past and as protection for Gretchen. Beautifully done – evoking the love between grandparent and child, and in making the reader think.


  • Rochelle, I’m hopelessly late this week since I was away for Thanksgiving, but I squeaked in right at the end. 🙂 That would be quite hard to explain to the granddaughter, I think, why they should burn the book. What a great, thought-provoking story.


    • Dear David,

      I did feel the absence of your presence this week.

      I’m with the grandfather this week. I think it’s a book that needed to be burned.

      Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Isn’t this your first one stateside for a while?

      Thank you for commenting.




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