FLIGHT THROUGH HELL

Published September 30, 2018 by rochellewisoff

Pegman did not get enough of this lovely region of Europe, so this week Pegman heads a little further west to the Douro Valley of Portugal.

This week’s suggestion comes from the talented Lish over at Up From the Ashes. Be sure head over to her blog and enjoy not just this week’s story, but her excellent poetry and other entertaining stories.

Your mission on Pegman, as always, is to write up to 150 words inspired by the prompt. Feel free to use the image supplied above, or visit the Douro Valley yourself via Google maps and find your own street view or photo sphere for inspiration. Or better yet, visit it in person, and take the rest of us Peg-people with you!

Once your story/essay/poem is finished, share it with others using the link up below. Reading and commenting on others’ work is part of the fun!

It has been a busy week and I really didn’t think I’d post a story this time. Once more, the Google trail and my muse conspired against my plans. And just when I think I’ve sussed out all “those stories,” another comes to light. 

Many thanks to Karen and Josh for keeping this challenge afloat.

Synagogue in Douro…yep, I found one.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150

 

FLIGHT THROUGH HELL

Mue amigo, my position in the Portuguese consulate gives me the power to grant you and your wife and children visas,” said Aristides de Sousa Mendes, “and safety from the German Madman.”

            Rabbi Chaim Kruger twined the end of his beard around his index finger. “Can you do the same for my brothers and sisters stranded here on the streets of Bordeaux?”

            Tortured by his inability to grant his friend’s request and other personal issues, Sousa Mendes suffered a breakdown. Following a rapid recovery, he threw off the bedclothes and proclaimed, “From now on I’m giving everyone visas.”

            When faced with charges of “disobeying during higher service” by the Portuguese government in 1940 he responded. “I could not differentiate between nationalities as I was obeying the dictates of humanity.”

            In 1966, Sousa Mendes became the first diplomat to be recognized by Israel as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.

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40 comments on “FLIGHT THROUGH HELL

  • Dear Rochelle,

    As I would expect no less from you.. well done, my friend.
    You are the queen of the genre! There were/are angels in every nation and you manage to suss them out every time.

    Lotsa love,
    Dale

    Liked by 2 people

  • Never doubt the power of what you write! I think we’ve all begun to seek your small history lessons through both FF and Pegman! I love this. Thanks for doing the initial leg-work for us so we can do more searching on our own. Happy Sunday, friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Lish,

      Your words go straight to my heart. I’ve been accused by a fellow (thinks he’s a) writer of repeating the theme too often. Your reassurance means more than I can say.

      Thank you and Happy Sunday to you, my friend.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      That makes two of us. Just met Mr. Sousa Mendes about three hours ago as I write. My muse always points me in that direction…at least when there’s something there. It makes me wonder how many righteous were never recognized.
      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • What a wonderful quote about not being able to differentiate nationalities when following the dictates of humanity! And what a wonderful man you’ve plucked from history to showcase in your story. Thank you, I could use an optimistic story today!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Great true story, so well told.
    So often people remember only the cruel sadistic Nazi faces, the black uniforms of the Gestapo, the ugliness of Mengele and the inhumanity of yellow stars and millions massacred … And do not also know the stories of heroism, of humanity in the face of great risk, of the people who hid fellow humans from inhumane two-legged ugliness, of those who refuse to follow rules that broke the most basic of ethics. Those who not only saved lives, but held together the fraying cloth of humanity through incomprehensible times.
    We are facing whiffs of similar cruelty nowadays. In refusal to shelter war-tortured refugees, in tearing already-traumatized children from their parents’ arms and pretending to follow laws that were never really there in that way. In disrobing people of their civil rights and citizenships for no fault of their own. In claiming righteousness and supporting (or turning a blind eye with a wink to) ‘nationalistic’ racist groups.
    We can all learn from the heroes who sheltered the helpless.
    And not follow the footsteps of those who refused to do good.

    Chag Same’ach,
    Na’ama

    Liked by 4 people

      • I think there were more of them than we may ever know. Almost everyone who survived, did so because someone along the way helped, materially or with a nod of support or even if only by pretending not to see that a person wasn’t where they were ‘supposed to be’ (and by that taking a risk already, because not reporting was in of itself a potential death sentence). Humans are mostly good. Fear can do awful things to people, so they retreat from reacting the way they might’ve otherwise. However, there are many who are brave in small and not so small ways in the face of injustice. It helps me to remember that, when times are filled with the noise of abuse-of-power and the rhetoric of hate. Most of us are better than this, and always had been.
        Hugs, Na’ama

        Liked by 2 people

  • Beautiful story of a hero in an ugly time. So often rules are put in place in peacetime and then continue to be applied, or even tightened, when, because of extreme change ,they cease to be humane. It takes great character to recognize when that is happening, and great courage to then do the right thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Once more, you’ve handed me a huge and complex slice of history in short form. What an amazing man Sousa Mendes was – complex by what I’ve just read of him on Wiki, but brave enough to risk his career and he must have saved very many lives. Thank you again for bringing so many wonderful individuals out into the open

    Liked by 1 person

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