23 November 2018

Published November 21, 2018 by rochellewisoff


Fun times with Russell Gayer at Ozarks Writers League Conference. November 17, 2018 (Not the prompt 😉 )

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As always, please be considerate of your fellow Fictioneers and keep your stories to 100 words. (Title is not included in the word count.)  Many thanks. 

The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 


PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson (Many thanks for the gracious loan of your photo. 😉

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Genre: Historical Fiction based on an actual survivor’s account.

Word Count: 100


Holding her granddaughter’s hand, Marta shut her eyes. “Doesn’t the water make a beautiful sound?”

            Barely six, Segol fidgeted beside her. “It’s just water, Savta.”

            “No. It sings the song of eternity.” Opening her eyes, Marta pointed to Segol’s new dress. “Your ema tells me you couldn’t decide between this blue one or the green one. She said you cried and cried.”

            Segol hung her head and muttered. “Yes.”

            “Such a choice. When I was six, I had to make a choice, too. Should I go with my mother to Auschwitz or flee to the convent? I cried and cried.”


Happy Thanksgiving this week to my American friends. I thought of reposting this story I shared 3 years ago. It’s a different perspective re Thanksgiving. The story is called “Keshagesh” which is a Cree word for “Greedy Guts.” Since many of you read and commented on it then, I’m just posting the link for the curious. https://rochellewisoff.com/2015/11/25/27-november-2015/




105 comments on “23 November 2018

  • Pp. Pius XII, and the Church in general, did a lot of good for the Jews during WWII. I don’t respect any claims that contradict that. The six year old girl who was forced to make that decision must have been drastically marked for the rest of her life by having to lose so completely, no matter what she chose. No one can escape that kind of unhappiness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Larry,

      The woman whose testimony on which I based my story went on to tell about living in the convent. After the war when she left it, she cried because she left friends and nuns she loved. I was touched when the Mother Superior hugged and kissed her and took her Crucifix off her neck and gave it to the child. I also think of Sister Agnes who was another unsung hero. Thank you for reading and commenting. And thank you from my folks to your folks. 😀



      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Suzanne,

      I did catch some flack from a couple of white-bread critics when I posted that story 3 years ago. It’s as true as it ever was. My only consolation in the American genocide is that my folks were in Eastern Europe suffering persecution. At any rate, thank you for taking the time to read both stories. 😉 Happy Thanksgiving to you, my friend.



      Liked by 1 person

    • My dear Etana,

      Since this is based on a woman’s actual account I know she made the right choice. The nuns gave her love and safety until the day a group of Jewish soldiers came to take her to her permanent home in Eretz Israel. Thank you, my friend for reading and leaving a comment. That means a lot.




  • Nicely done, as always Rochelle. I enjoyed this story two different ways–both the facetiousness and folly of laying a heavy trip like this on a child, and also the larger theme–the metaphor of perspective…a thing that is easy to lose!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Good story. Art Speigelman wrote in Maus about how his father would always bring up the camps whenever he complained about anything. He also said that his parents kept a framed picture of his brother who had died at the hands of the Nazis, but none of him. “Why did they need a picture of me? I was alive.” He always felt inadequate because he hadn’t experienced the horrors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      I’d say that Speigelman’s father did go over the top. How sad for him. I know a man whose father was a survivor. Talk about bitterness being passed to the next generation, the man in question makes everything about the Holocaust. If you say, it’s raining today, he would counter with something like, “When my father was in the camps and it rained…” Very difficult person to be around.
      Thank you re my story. 😀




  • There are so many stories of Holocaust we don’t know. Thanks for reminding. Beautifully written as usual. We are so much absorbed in our sorrows that we don’t see around us how others are doing. We need these jerks to feel for others difficulties.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sandra,

      What strikes me as funny is that there seemed to be two schools of thought after the holocaust. Some denied their Jewishness altogether, while others like my mother made sure we knew. “Never forget what ‘they’ did to ‘us’.” She would tell me. I saw those horrible films at a very young age. I don’t feel that I was scarred by it. In fact, I’m grateful to her that I grew up with a sense of who I am and where I came from. Wow…long answer. Shortened form: Thank you. 😉




  • Dear Rochelle,

    This is a harsh lesson indeed. And perspective is everything. Today we would say how can you try to teach something so serious to a six-year-old, as we wrap them in cotton batten? And yet, Marta had to live it herself at that same age.

    Lotsa love,


    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Dale,

      I agree with you about harsh lessons. Perhaps my mother was over the top in sitting me down to watch the Holocaust films. But I never have felt abused or damaged by learning that harsh reality at such a tender age. It gave me a strong sense of who I am and where I came from. And, yes, Marta faced a harsh reality that no child should face at an early age.
      Thank you for reading and leaving such affirming comments, my friend.



      Liked by 1 person

      • I think we live in extremes. Now, heaven forbid little Bobby get sand thrown in his face by little Susie without Bobby’s mommy coming to his rescue…
        And then you have the 6-year old latch-key kids left to fend for themselves…


  • There is a lot of intensity (and a lot of story) in this wee snippet. I love that about storytelling, how a scene this short… told in the right way… can tell us so much about where the reading is about to take us. A conversation that starts with attire choices, just to take us back to a time where a child (then) had to choose between being with her parents and not… is one few can resist. I mean, who wouldn’t want to know more?

    Thanks for the glimpse into the story, Rochelle, and for hosting the prompt.


    • Dear Björn,

      In the actual incident that I base my story on, I don’t know if the grandmother set her granddaughter straight. But she said it was at that moment she realized the stories she had kept to herself needed to be shared. We must never forget.




  • Another well told tale, Rochelle, always interesting to see where the prompt takes you.

    I just posted my story and there were 29 people ahead of me… what’s wrong with those people, this is Wednesday not Friday! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Stu,

      I suspect Marta would explain it to her granddaughter if she didn’t understand. But when I was six, I lived across the street from a Catholic family. I knew what a convent was and, believe me, as a baby boomer I knew all too well what happened at the concentration camps. My guess is that Segol has some inklings of what happened.
      Thank you re my story.




  • I found the contrast between my father’s early life and my own quite shocking, and now my own childhood sounds almost victorian when compared to my children’s, but I am grateful that saddest thing that ever happened to my kids seems to be the day the internet was broken! Thank you for another classy tale! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear JWD,

      Although the Holocaust was recent past when I was a child, my toughest choices as a kid were such things as ‘chocolate or vanilla ice cream?’ And the biggest hardship was that we had black and white TV and dial telephones. My grandfather’s story was very different, having escaped the pogroms in Eastern Europe. Thank you for your kind comments.




  • These kinds of ‘perspectives’ were ones too many children I know had grown up with, and some do today, raised by more recent survivors and refugees of the impossible. It is a painful – and one might say, needless – lesson, and it can end up minimizing the no-less-real if thankfully more normal choices that children who aren’t facing life-or-death are faced with. And yet, this very pain often holds a reality that needs telling and an identity that would be unnamed but no less real even if the words weren’t said. It may also be why cultural trauma often passes onto the second and third generation (and beyond) — because it is more than just the awfulness lived, but also the awfulness revisited and learned about, and the shame transmitted. Well done as always, Rochelle.

    I’ve added my contribution to the link-a-think-thing, but here it is copied, as is my ‘thing’ to o:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Na’ama y’karah,

      100 words limits the whole story. I don’t believe the woman in question shamed her daughter (in real life) but it was then she realized the stories she had kept to herself begged to be shared. I did not intend to infer that Marta shamed Seqol. More like my mother’s mission to make sure I knew who I was and where I came from. “Never forget” followed me from the cradle to now. Thank you for your comments.




  • Very different perspectives in very different times. I can’t help but feel reassured the only thing Segol has to get upset about is which dress to wear. Thank goodness the choices her grandmother had to make are not ones Segol has to make too.

    Liked by 1 person

  • That was the darkest phase in the history of humanity.

    One of my schoolmates , a few month ago, visited Auschwitz as a tourist. She described the horrors of the concentration camp and this gave me goosebumps.

    making a choice for a six year old is difficult. Take it or leave it…. The Hobson’s choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kalpana,

      A dark time indeed. I’ve not visited Auschwitz but would like to just once. Although I’m not sure I could handle it. Marta’s choice is based on an all too true story. Thank you for reading and leaving such a nice comment.




    • Dear Brenda,

      I’m glad you put my story in perspective. It was never my intent for Marta to shame her granddaughter. It’s that infernal word limit. 😉 Being with Russell is always fun. He’s as much of a nut in person as he is on the page. Thank you. 😀




      • The word limit is truly difficult some weeks. I remember my mother telling me stories about her life situations when she was growing up, her family actually lived in a tent in an abandoned field for a good part of her life. I’m sure there were times as a typical kid (growing up not poor) that I didn’t take her words to heart, until I was older.

        I love your stories, Rochelle, they are always thought provoking and of course well told. I purchased “This, That, and Sometimes the Other” this evening and look forward to getting into it. Take care!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m sure your mother had some great stories. There are so many things I wish I had asked my grandfather when he was alive. Although one of my cousins and I agree that he might not have answered them. Ah well, hindsight. One of the stories in “This, That, and Sometimes the Other” is about the conversation I wish I’d had with him, but never did. It was a cathartic story to write. Who knows how close I came to facts? Anyway, that one’s called Smiling Sam. Enjoy!

          Thank you and shalom,


          Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    What a beautifully written story about such a horrific part of history. And you’re right, we should never forget. What a painful decision of a child to make but I’m thankful that she ended up in the loving care of nuns instead of what was considered to worst concentration camp. There are many unsung heroes who saved many lives at risk of their own if discovered.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ronda,

      It’s a good thing I check my spam folder every day. I found your comment there. SMH. I’m thinking perhaps I should start doing this on a regular basis. Our CE Ayr, always reads his stories. Thank you for taking the time to read. Glad to have you aboard. Scratch the Wonder Dog behind the ears for me.




  • “Based on an actual survivor’s account”.
    Now that really puts it in a different light. It’s important to have these stories from these terrible events around the world, so we have a record for the next generations.

    The partition of India is estimated to have up to 14 million people displaced and an estimated 2 million deaths on both sides. It is only in recent times that a project was started to collect the oral histories of the survivors of the largest involuntary migration in recent history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Subroto,

      With so many stories out there, there’s no need to make things up, is there? The plight of humanity needs to have a face to make us care. Oral histories are so important. Thank you.




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