6 February 2015

Published February 4, 2015 by rochellewisoff

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The following photo is the PROMPT. Can you get lost in it? What kind of story does it tell you? Share it in a hundred words or less. 

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

garden maze

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Melanie Greenwood

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Perhaps it seems I’m late to the party as last week, 27 January, commemorated the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In my opinion, every day is a good time to remember. 




Genre: Speculative Fiction

Word Count: 100


            There is a museum in Jerusalem called Yad Vashem. Although I live five miles from it, I’ve never wanted to visit.

            “Come with me, Hannah,” says Zvi. “The candles are pretty.”

            My brother is relentless.

            “No, Zvi. Let me forget.”


            The maze of mirrors is filled with reflections of six candle flames.  

            “Shoshana Stein, six years old. Romania.”

            Disembodied voices intone names in an endless requiem for the dead.  

            “Moishe Lapinsky, sixteen years old. Poland.”

            One point five million children murdered.

            “Zvi Goldberg. Four years old. Ukraine.”

            At my brother’s name, I sink to my knees.

            I will never forget.     

Little Zvi with border

Original Artwork – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Yad Vahem Candle room

The names I used in my story are fictitious. The names in the following snippet are real. Haunting in its simplicity, the candle room is an experience I’ll never forget. 

126 comments on “6 February 2015

    • Dear Patricia,

      As I said, every day is a good day to remember. Indeed, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Alas, there’s repetition going on all over the world.

      Thank you for such kind comments.




    • Dear Joe,

      The Nazis were so proud of their accomplishments, they kept impeccable records and photographed their atrocities. We must make sure all their documentation survives so that no one can ever say it never happened. It is chilling. And genocide continues.

      Thank you for your kind words.




      • Rochelle i cannot even begin to imagine what kind of hatred drove Hitler and by subjugation the Nazis. Even now there is a subsect that seems to try to revive the old ideas and perpetuate their arc of terror.


    • Dear Björn,

      Unfortunately, the number of survivors are dwindling and their stories with them. It’s up to us and the next generation (I can only hope) to keep their memories alive.

      Thank you for such a nice comment.




    • Dear Joseph,

      So far as I’ve read, and that’s not a lot at this point, there seems to be quite a few different takes on this prompt. I love to see where people’s heads will go with a prompt.

      For me the maze put me immediately in that hall of mirrors at Yad V’shem, an experience I’ll never forget.

      Thank you for coming by.



      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Alicia,

      That’s the exhibit I remember most at Yad V’Shem. There was something about those voices reciting the names and ages of the children nonstop. The memory reduces me to tears. Why indeed?

      Thank you.




  • Dear Rochelle

    You at your best. Hauntingly moving, I am close to tears. The world must never forget those lost through man’s inhumanity, may we always remember them.



  • Dear Rochelle,
    Great take on the prompt. The labyrinth in this garden is sure to bring some excellent stories to us this week, and you’ve started us off with a fine example. Not sure I would ever be able to spend much time in that particular museum. I managed to stay in the Houston Holocaust Museum for about 20 minutes before I was overwhelmed and had to leave.

    I like the way you put a personal touch to this story with the name of a family member. Well done.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


    • Dear Marie Gail,

      Yad V’Shem was a tough place to walk through. For me one of the hardest things was looking at pictures of people who looked like they could’ve been related to me. There three of us who were born Jewish and of Eastern European descent and we all had the same feelings.

      But the hall of mirrors was the toughest. I’ll never forget it.

      I appreciate your comments, support and friendship.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Rochelle,

    First, I want to say it is never too late or the wrong time to bring up a subject as important as this. Commemorations and anniversaries are important because they bring things into the public eye, but so are the quiet memories and reminders of stories well-told.

    And yours is just such a story. The balance is perfect; you lead us into one place with the first half, and although it’s somewhere that is hard to be, when you throw us somewhere much less comfortable in the second, it is a reminder that those of us who ‘remember’, have so much less pain than those who remember.

    Sincerely, this is one of your best, and I don’t say that lightly. I wasn’t aware of this exhibit; it sounds and looks incredibly powerful. Proof that simplicity is often the strongest thing.



    • Dear Jen,

      I certainly don’t take your compliment lightly. In fact I treasure it.

      It’s true, I can write memorial fiction and feel it deeply as a Jew but I’ll never fully understand what it’s like to be one of those few left among us with a number on her arm. Still, this is a “pet theme” of mine, so no matter what time of year, a Holocaust story is bound to pop up here and there as my muse leads.

      Thank you so very much.




  • With writing like this, the world will remember longer and better, Rochelle. Thank you for being one of the pre-eminent voices that continue to speak and continue to give the world at least a chance to keep it from happening again.


  • Oh man, that is just crushing. It’s a terrible thing, but I will never forget. Humanity cannot afford to forget, ever. We cannot let anyone else experience such a heinous crime. We must be on guard against it, forever. Your story touches down deep, Rochelle.


    • Dear Eric,

      It was an unreal piece of history. Systematic and cruel. There’s a lot of genocide alive and well today, but there’s something chilling about the way Hitler did it right under the world’s nose.

      Thank you for your kind words. As always I appreciated your feedback.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Ripping my heart once reading your story wasn’t enough – 1.5 million more times can never be forgotten.

    and what incredible lines. one complex, and one so simple – but both so powerful:

    “Disembodied voices intone names in an endless requiem for the dead.”
    “At my brother’s name, I sink to my knees.”

    Bless you, Rochelle.


  • Dear Rochelle, What a moving, emotional story! How can people be so wicked and brutal to one another? The museum is a wonderful memorial to the holocaust. Right now, the world is going through another hideously evil group out to kill all those that don’t agree. I don’t know how their so-called religion could be a good one. I’m ashamed of the human race that can do things like this. God help us all and May we never forget! Nan 🙂


    • Dear Nan,

      There’s evil all around us. I don’t understand these animals either.

      The Holocaust shocks us on a different level because of the systematic and cold way it was carried out right under the world’s nose.

      Thank you for your comments and for being such an active part of Friday Fictioneers.




    • Dear Margaret,

      You may have already noticed that I write these little stories from time to time. Since I was a small child the Holocaust has been a constant reality. I remember relatives and friends of the family with the numbers tattooed on their arms. My mother would never let me forget and I strive not to let others forget either.

      Thank you for your kind comments.




  • Elegant and emotional. The simplicity of the writing is key to how effective this story is. The to-and-fro in the dialogue of the brother taking the reluctant sister is an excellent lure before the cold, brutal statistic (1.5m children) and then… the gut-punch reveal of Zvi’s name being intoned.

    This is probably one of your best.


    • Dear KT,

      You get the comment prize this week. I think you’re the first one to see the reveal. In the first section, Zvi is a relentless ghost who noodges his sister out of her denial. Not that it’s the most important part, but it’s there. 😉

      Elegant is a lovely word. Thank you for ascribing it to my story.

      Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Noodges… I’m sure I read that in another post – it means pester, correct? I wasn’t sure if Zvi were really a ghost or merely the embodiment of a nagging memory of his sister, but the whole story turns on that twist that he was dead at the time of the… noodging(?). It’s pivotal (as any twist should be) 🙂



  • A beautiful sketch and maybe one of the best 100-word stories of yours that I’ve read. Soon all the survivors will be gone 😦 and it’ll be up to us to continue to remember to never forget. I hope, even though I have doubts, that we’re up to the task. I don’t know if you saw this video or not – It was a New York city council meeting last month where the council was voting on whether or not to officially honor the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. A group of pro-Palestinian activists in the balcony began to disrupt the meeting and after they were removed Councilman David Greenfield had this to say:


    • Rochelle, I am in awe at your writings and posts. So thankful for our present freedom to express. For me, no words can paint the pain, but you so beautifully and in 100 words did it. Thank you for the video of Yad Vashem, and thanks to Michael Fishman for his post of Councilman Greenfield’s speak-out at the NY City Council recently. Totally worth sharing-I did on my FB page. Again, may we never forget.


    • Dear Michael,

      I had not seen this video. Thank you for sharing it here. I’m weeping as I type. I weep first because I’m Jewish, I never knew the family members I lost in the Holocaust or the pogroms before it, but I know of them…I am a part of them. I weep also because this cancer continues.

      I can’t stop writing such stories. I won’t stop writing such stories.

      Thank you for commenting and sharing.




    • Dear Stephonie,

      I are indeed privileged. I think the most frightening things about the Holocaust is the way it was carried out. Cold, calculating and with such precision. We are horrified because the Nazis recorded everything down to the names of their victims and left photos. I know it haunts me.

      Thank you for coming by to read, remember and comment.




  • Very interesting and emotional piece. I had a vision in my head of these children then to cross over to the end of the story that speaks of tragedy turns that vision into emotion: sorrow.

    Well done. Thanks for sharing.


  • My heart aches for all the children lost. I like the idea of the candle room to remember them. Listening to them reading the names and ages of the children was haunting. It made it real. Very powerful post!


  • Dear Periwinkle Plum,
    You really are a purple-winged fairy, taking us on journeys and opening our eyes and hearts to things we might not stop to ponder. This is a very touching story and written in such a personal manner than we all feel the pain. A writer can’t do any better than that–as all the comments above testify.
    Now, have Jan give you a good tickling for me.
    – Tickle Monster


    • Dear Tay,

      All my links to prompts tend to be flimsy. That goes back to the Thoreau quote, “It’s not what you look at that matters it’s what you see.” However, this one “maze of mirrors” was my link. Have you ever been there?

      Thank you for your comment.




  • Dear Rochelle, that must have been terribly eerie and haunting to experience this memorial in person, so sad because they are children, just innocent children. Thank you for writing this story in light of the 70th anniversary. We can never forget. Shalom, Amy


  • Beautifully written, Rochelle and that video was heartbreaking but I am grateful to have seen it. I have heard from friends who have visited and students I have taught sharing their sadness but never regretting the experience. We must never forget and I am hopeful we shall not…many youths continue to share the stories of their grandparents. Shalom,Oliana


    • Dear Oliana,

      It pleases me to hear about the grandchildren sharing their grandparents’ stories. Their memories must be kept alive.

      I stood in that hall of mirrors myself and will never forget it. It still brings tears to my eyes to think about it.

      Thank you for your lovely comments.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Beautiful and powerful words to remember. I have visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, three times. Each time the horror of what happened hits just as hard and I moved to tears as I hear the survivors stories. What the Jewish people endured should have never happened. And the fact that they now, once again being threatened, is unconscionable.

    Let everyone remember the words of Martin Niemöller:

    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”


  • Dear Sheila,

    I’ve never been to the museum in Washington DC but I’ve been to the one in Jerusalem. It was a profound experience. I saw in the photos faces that could very well have been related to me. And the hall of mirrors, the children’s museum, left a wound that I’ll never all to heal.

    I’ve read this poem before. It is appalling that it’s happening again…and terrifying. I’ve heard some say they believe it’s 1939 all over again. They may be right.

    Thank you for your wonderful comments.




  • This is an extremely moving post, Rochelle, and so beautifully written. The truth of such events will surely never be forgotten. As Hannah says, ‘I (she) will never forget’. The video of the Candle Room is particularly haunting.


  • A powerful visual reminder of the horror of what happened then and is still happening the world over, to children, murder in one form or another. As you said in response to a comment: ” … those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” I hadn’t heard of The Maze of Mirrors. And good story to the prompt.


    • Dear Ann,

      That exhibit at Yad Vashem was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever experienced. The voices intoning those names of murdered children reduced me to a puddle of tears. It still does when I think about it. Sadly, it is still happening. 😦

      Thank you for reading and commenting.



      Liked by 1 person

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