TODAY I AM A MAN

Published September 25, 2019 by rochellewisoff

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

Frog delightfully rendered by Keith Hillman

I hope you’ll forgive me for double dipping today.  I couldn’t help myself. 😉  

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

TODAY I AM A MAN

“This is stupid.” Twelve-year-old Leon fumed. “Why do I have to do a dumb old Bar Mitzvah?”  

            “Stupid is it?” Zaydeh’s faded eyes brimmed. “It could save your life.”

            Leon braced himself.

            “I stuck by Papa in the men’s line until a guard forced me to go with the boys. But I would have none of it.”

            “What did you do?”

            “I went back to the men.”

            “You were only thirteen.”

            “I told the guard I am Bar Mitzvah. A man according to Halakha. Papa and I survived the camp in the men’s barracks. The boys? Straight to the ovens.”

46 comments on “TODAY I AM A MAN

  • A story that’s both inspirational and horrific, Rochelle. The sad thing is I saw a program on TV where some Jews decided to go back to Germany as they were told things had changed and they’d be welcomed. Now the old fears and hatred are recurring there and in other countries. That hatred is like a plague that resurrects itself every so many years during a century. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  • I have heard many such survivor recounts. Still sends shivers down my spine to think of it. A good story to remember in the day and age in which we live. How many times is this still happening? The question begs…. We heard Mauritania, Africa on our Ham radio this last week (a very rare hear), and so out of curiosity, I googled it. I read about the awful slavery there, still, today. This story reminds me of that… man’s insanity. Sigh… Good take on the picture. Now, How am I going to follow that….? 🙂 ❤ ~Shalom, Bear

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Bear,

      Just when I thought I’d heard them all someone tells me this story of how a Bar Mitzvah saved a friend’s life. Had to tell it. Yes, hatred is a cancer that’s rampant everywhere. Thank you. (I’m sure you’ll come up with a good story. You always do.)

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      BTW “What the Heart Wants” won first place in Ozarks Writers League writing contest in the Unpublished Manuscript category. Thank so much for your valued input.

      Liked by 1 person

  • great story. I watched the movie about the capture of Eichmann and thought of Hannah Arendt’s essay on his trial. The nature of true evil is the bureaucracy that matter-of-factly carries out the hideous plans. Another good glimpse into this quasi-legality is the 2001 movie Conspiracy. Stanley Tucci stars as Eichmann, and the true architect, Heydrich, is played by Kenneth Branaugh. It’s a good lesson to realize the Holocaust didn’t happen overnight. It was gradual, much of it carried forward by men who convinced themselves that the duty of a soldier is to follow orders. We see more of it now, so the lesson was lost on us.

    Liked by 2 people

  • I’m so glad you double-dipped … because, both your stories are important. And life is made by many different kinds of challenges, and stories and lessons to take on.
    I think many of us know stories of such survival – of the girls who insisted they were older, of the boys who insisted they were men. It is an awe.
    Na’ama

    Liked by 1 person

    • Na’ama Y’karah,

      I grew up under the (at that time quite recent) shadow of the Holocaust. I heard so many stories, yet, there are so many that still haven’t been told. I’m amazed at the strength of the human spirit. Thank you for your kind comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, humans are amazing and resourceful and as wonderful as they can be horrible to each other. I never understood how people can do cruelty upon other living beings and upon this earth we all share, but at least I also trust that many many MORE people are kind than cruel, and that in the long run resilience and hope are stronger than hate and brutality. Proof is in how so many who just barely survived, went on to thrive against all odds, scars and pain and unspoken words and all.
        We’d do well to remember, and you are so very good at helping keep memories of less-told-history alive. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  • Well, this second one certainly didn’t inspire any giggles or chaotic memories. Even in an age when we are seemingly increasingly desensitized to violence, descriptions of the Holocaust still sicken me. To think that human beings can somehow convince themselves that other human beings are somehow lesser, not only back then but still in places of the world that we don’t see, is beyond my comprehension. Our potential for cruelty is terrifying. Still, we manage to convince ourselves that we’re civilized, that ‘humane treatment’ is synonymous with kindness. As long as some of us are capable of such cruelty on a mass scale, and others allow it, it’s not just an anomaly. Humans are horrible creatures.

    Well done, Rochelle. You obviously stirred emotion in me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Trent,

      As a rule my stories are written and posted well in advance. (they’re written in short time…just posted in advance to keep me from being cray-cray on Wednesday 😉 ) However this week, I had to write about the fair. This story was inspired by one of my patrons at the fair. The boy was actually a friend of hers. I wept when she told me. Yesterday morning it was there in ten minutes. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale,

      My muse certainly was a noodge this week, wasn’t she? 😉 Just when I think I’ve heard them all I’m told another. Gotta share ’em. Thank you for your encouragement.

      Shalom and lotsa hugs,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Francine,

      Actually it was Leon’s grandfather – Zayde who had the courage in the face of atrocity. Sorry that point wasn’t clear. At any rate the rest of your comment is spot on. Too much hatred in this world. Why can’t we just appreciate our differences? Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Sad story (true?). It is so mind-blowing to me that ANY people could have done the horrible atrocities that the German people (I blame the whole bunch because they didn’t try to stop the holocaust. It was brave for him to go back to “the men” otherwise he would have been killed too!) This time during the war, was pure evil. It is so hard to realize that a country would or could be this horrendously EVIL! .Leon was fortunate to have such a smart father that, as it turned out, literally saved his life.

    Like

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