1 May 2015

Published April 29, 2015 by rochellewisoff

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PHOTO PROMPT - © Dee Lovering

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


            “These madmen take everything,” cried Leah. “They brand us like cattle because we are Jews and you do nothing?”

            “How does one fight a pack of rabid dogs?” Abraham rubbed a painful lump on the back of his head. “Finish packing. We set sail in the morning while we still can.”

            “They cannot have my grandmother’s bracelet.” 

            “Leave it! What’s a bauble when our people are being exterminated like cockroaches?”

            Letting the bracelet fall from her fingers, she collapsed into his arms. “España is our home.”

            “Querida, you are my home. 1493 in Portugal—it will be a better year.”





There's nothing new under the sun.

Jews were forced to wear golden-yellow badges for identification. There’s nothing new under the sun.

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My novel, Please Say Kaddish for Me, is still available for preorder at a reduced price here.The Kindle version is available for preorder at Amazon.com. 

PSK Cover
Published by W&B Publishers

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

92 comments on “1 May 2015

  • It’s astounding how history can go on being repeated. There were so many threads in the historical link, not the least of which refugees being dumped at sea, which reverberate to the current situation. I wasn’t aware of this aspect of Spanish history, so another gem of history here. Well done Rochelle.


  • Dear Sandra,

    The trouble with the present is that people have forgotten or, worse, prefer to emulate the past. I can only delight in the fact that Spain’s economy went down the tubes after the expulsion of the Jews.

    Thank you for your comments and compliments.




  • Someone in the Nazi organization must have read the history of the Jews being forced out of Spain and the badges they were made to wear, etc. Too bad they only took certain information and didn’t learn the lack of wisdom in that act. Of course prejudice is not known for its wisdom. It’s based on fear. There will always be evil people like the sea captains then and now who will take advantage of a bad situation and make it worse by adding greed. Great story as always, Rochelle. Thanks for the link to the historical information. Once again, I’ve learned something new. I’d read about the Jews being forced from Spain, but didn’t know the details. — Suzanne


    • Dear Suzanne

      As always, when I write historical fiction, I learn something in the research process. I, too, knew about the expulsion but the badges was what decided me to write this story.

      Hitler was well-read, so I’d be willing to bet that the badges were his inspiration.

      Thank you for the comments and kudos.




  • Some of our best friends we have made in this US have Jewish ancestry. I never knew who was a Jew/non-Jew to me all ‘looked the same’ (I say that in a positive way that humans are all the same) when I landed here in the US. The magnitude of horrors that this race has endured is unimaginable….that too in a time when science was getting stronger.

    Heart tugging story!


  • Rochelle – I learn new and terribly disturbing things about humanity so often when I visit your site, I sometimes have second thoughts about clicking on the history links!

    Well that’s not strictly true, but I *do* learn stuff 🙂

    As always, a strong story told from a very personal perspective.


  • Unfortunately, they didn’t have life to well in Portugal either. You usually teach a history lesson with your stories. I ask the question, do the oppressed hide, or do they prepare to make sure it doesn’t happen again? I know my answer. Thanks for another great story.


  • It is difficult to say wonderful story as the subject is so horrid. You have once again given us a lesson in both writing and history. Thank you.


  • A great reminder that, as you say, there is nothing new under the sun. I often wonder why religion, in particular, is so divisive when most religions teach that judgement should be left to God (or the relevant deity/ies). At the risk of sounding naive, why can’t we all just get along?

    Beautiful characterisation as always.



    • Dear Jen,

      Here’s a link to a song that was sung in 1965 when I was a mere puppy. I doesn’t answer why we can’t get along but it sheds a little tongue in cheek humor to a ghastly situation.

      Thank you, as always, for reading and sharing your thoughts. Your comments mean a lot to me.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the song link – I hadn’t heard it before, and it’s spot on for the sorts of things that are afflicting us even now. Funny how we both went with prejudice this week, although in different directions.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Björn,

      Turkey was one of the places of refuge. I’m afraid the Jews didn’t fare much better in Portugal.

      I’m pleased the dialogue worked well for you. Thank you, as always, for reading, commenting and participating.




    • Dear Alicia,

      I can hear Peter, Paul and Mary singing, “When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?” And the answer that’s blowing in the wind is, “Never.”

      Glad you liked my story and came by to say so. Thank you.




  • History does not repeat itself, for it is human beings which create it, thus, ignorance and an inability accept are some of the main causes why such terrible events repeat.
    A very poignant story and topic.


    • Dear Francesca,

      You’ve given us something to think about in your comment. The old saying, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it” applies I believe. Ignorance indeed.

      Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Antisemitism through the ages never ceases to shock me. Need a scapegoat? Where are the jews? Will this ever stop? Hoping… Great story, again.


    • Dear GAH,

      Your question puts me in mind of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof when he says to God, “I realize we’re the chosen people but, once in a while, couldn’t You choose someone else?”

      Thank you for your kind comments on my story.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Rochelle,
    I knew about this period of history for the Jews but not about the badges. History really does repeat itself and the trail of tears for the Jews is much longer than most people’s memories.
    Congratulations on the book coming out. Very happy for you. Sorry I didn’t comment on your story last week. I did read it but on my phone. Very meta, a sort of story that isn’t. 🙂


    • Dear David,

      I understand busy. I’m still a bit overwhelmed between graduation season in the bakery and all of the publishing things. Last week’s story was definitely an un-story, but still a story LOL.

      As for the Jewish history, it’s amazing how many dress rehearsals there were for the Holocaust. And still there are those who want to see it happen all over again. Is that what’s meant by the Chosen People? I’m kidding…well sort of. The badges were an eye opener for me. So there’s nothing new under the sun.

      Thank you for reading and commenting on both stories.




  • I didn’t realise Jews had been persecuted all the way back through the ages. A wonderful piece of writing and thanks for the link to the history behind it – it’s always good to learn something new.


    • Dear Irene,

      Thank you for such a nice comment about my writing. It’s always nice to hear. 😉

      I didn’t realize until I did the research that Jews were forced to wear the badges even then.

      Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Danielle Steele Brown,
    After reading the history, it seems these poor folks jumped from the frying pan to the fire. The history of Jewish persecution is such a sad thing and appears to have no end. The devil has been out to get them ever since Eve blamed the snake. I hope they don’t disembowel her looking for more jewelry. I could feel their despair.
    – Ramzi bin al-Pigeon

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ramzi,

      I hoped I wasn’t going to sound like a one-note with this story. I was impressed with the similarities to the Holocaust. Appalled would be a better word. Nothing new under the sun, is there? Such ignorance and bigotry.

      Thank you for your kind comments.




    • Dear Marie Gail,

      Oh dear, am I that predictable or is that you know me all that well? 😉 I was advised by one well-meaning friend that I should write something else. Glad I didn’t listen. How could I not think expulsion when I see Spain?

      Thank you for your affirming, astute and cogent comments.



      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dawn.

      I could probably tell these types of stories every week since there are so many of them. I didn’t realize until I did the research that the Jews were labeled like that before WWII.

      Thank you for your lovely words that mean so much.



      Liked by 1 person

  • I didn’t know that about Spanish Expulsion. Thanks for enlightening me, Rochelle with your very vivid capturing of history. It is truly sad how history repeated itself. Sad story, but well told. Great piece, Rochelle.


  • It’s sad how history will keep on repeating itself. People will always look for a minority group to blame and victimize, and the Jews have been that group far too many times. Good story, well told.


  • Wonderful as always 🙂 It is sad that the Jews have been hunted in so many different eras and areas, but I like how you used that to surprise us: I am sure most readers, like me, were expecting it to be a WWII story


  • What a tragic history – yet it shows tenacity and resilience; the Jewish people still have such a strong and vibrant culture. This is a miracle in itself. Well told.


  • Up until you reveal country and year at the end, it seems to be the familiar WWII tale. Not that it doesn’t need to be kept alive, but the twist makes the story all the more powerful. It’s been going on for centuries – will we ever learn? Or will history keep repeating itself, over and over?


  • Dear Rochelle

    I did know about this. When we were studying ‘The Merchant of Venice’ in school, our teacher decided that we may better understand the story if she told us something of the history the Jewish people. At this time I attended an all-girls school and when she had finished, the whole class was in tears. We talked about the things she had told us for weeks, trying to understand just what the people had done to warrant their horrific treatment.

    Thank you for you story, it is an appalling fact, but history has a way of repeating itself

    Take care



  • Hi Rochelle,

    I enjoyed reading history, particularly your story about the events in 1493. You did a great job introducing the history event with your story.



  • Fascinating bit of history. I am proud that India never had any history of anti-Semititism nor were Jews looked upon as in any significant way different from the many Indian minority religions. Migration to Israel has left a smaller community now (probably only 6000) but one that makes significant contributions. The Cochin Jews maybe considered one of the oldest, continuously living Jewish community in the world. They began arriving in waves from Judea, 2500 years ago, on the Malabar Coast of India and settled as traders near the town of Cochin in what is now the southernmost India’s state of Kerala. http://www.jewishmag.com/162mag/jews_of_india/jews_of_india.htm
    I leave you with a link to one of may favourite Indian poets Nissim Ezekiel http://www.poemhunter.com/nissim-ezekiel/


    • Dear Subroto,

      Your comments make me smile. When I have some time I’ll read the article. Fascinating. Now you’re sharing a bit of history with me I’ve been totally unaware of. Thank you for that. And thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my story.




  • I had not stopped in a while and I missed your lovely stories that enrich our minds. Just last week my son who is a teacher, was telling me some new facts in history about some island in the Caribbean. We both agreed if only we all learned history as it actually happened our world just might be different.


    • Dear Oliana,

      Perhaps we’d learn something from experiencing history as it happens, but I’m a skeptic. And now the Holocaust survivors are growing old and dying off. It’s important to keep their stories alive into the next generations.

      Thank you for stopping by. I hope all is well with you.



      Liked by 1 person

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