13 December 2019

Published December 11, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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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 © Mikhael Sublett

Give us a little click. 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

KEEPSAKE

           Hadassah stood amid the ruins of her once elegantly furnished home.

           She ached for two-year-old Aaron who had been seized and taken to the gas chamber. Peter took a bullet trying to save their son.

Typhoid claimed thirteen-year-old Gittel hours before the liberation.

 

            Seven-year-old Gittel held out a piece of paper splotched with color.

            “What is it?”

            The child huffed. “Anyone can see it’s a butterfly.”  

            “Our daughter’s an artist.” Peter beamed. “I’ll frame it.”

 

            “How on earth…?” With a gasp, Hadassah dropped to her knees and pulled the unscathed picture from the rubble.  

            “I painted it for you, Mama.”

82 comments on “13 December 2019

  • I am utterly impressed, m’lady, that you managed to effortlessly include a flashback in a 100-word story.
    I am unsure if the picture will give Hadassah comfort or more heartache as a tangible reminder of her loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Excellent pacing in this, Rochelle. Very dense. I remember reading Spiegelman seeing a photo of his murdered brother Richlieu in his parents’ bedroom and realizing they didn’t have one of him because he was alive. I need to re-read Maus, I think. It’s been a few years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      Beside being inspired by the picture, this story is also inspired by the return of art stolen by the Nazis. I decided to go with priceless art of a different kind. Never read Maus. Shall I add it to my ever-growing bucket list? Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • There is both beauty and memories sometimes in rubble. As Leonard Cohen said “she looks among the garbage and the flowers”. Sometimes we need to step back and find those treasures in what we think is trash in our lives. Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hadassah. Esther. I’ve always loved that name 🙂

    I recently watched a video recorded in Sioux Falls, SD of Eva Schloss, who was friends with Anne Frank. Eva survived. Her mother married Anne’s father. She is an amazing speaker, and managed to convey the horrors and grief everyone endured. I truly respect and admire those who came through all of it with their sanity intact.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Jesus, Rochelle! You went for a gut-punch to the soul on this one, and it landed perfectly. You’ve masterfully crafted a tale that’s simultaneously heartbreaking, heartwarming, and heartbreaking. Did I mention heartbreaking?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Thank you, Rochelle, for this eloquent and heart-piercing piece. It was the reality of added sorrow for those who’d survived, that when they finally got ‘home’ they found it in ruins, ‘appropriated’ (i.e. outright stolen) by neighbors, even sometimes ignored, dismissed, chased away, and beaten up by those who’d thieved their home. And then refused entry into countries where they sought refuge, and told to “go back where you came from.”
    The horrors of the holocaust did not end when the camps were ‘liberated.’
    And the remainders and reminders were often just as devastating.

    I left my entry with the froggy. A breaking of another kind. Ongoing, for some.
    Hugs
    Na’ama

    Liked by 1 person

    • Na’ama Y’karah,

      I’ve heard so many of these stories. Most recently I interviewed Sonia Warshowski, a Polish survivor. She shared some horror stories of returning ‘home’ from the camps only to find the have the Poles attack in a pogrom to keep the Jews from returning. Not to mention what happened to the liberated Jews who fled to Russia. I think we could volley these events for weeks or years to come. Thank you for ‘going there’ with me.
      I don’t know if you’ve caught the story of the gentleman whose picture I’m standing beside in my icon. That’s Erwin Stern, my first crush when I was three or four. He lived down the street from us and was an Austrian refugee. Interesting for me to realize the year I was born was only 7 years after the liberation. (for what that’s worth ;))

      Shabbat Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow for the story of the man next to you … and yes to the wonder of realizing how not long at all any of this was. I grew up surrounded by people whose family members were holocaust survivors (and by extension, whose family members had had most of their family massacred and brutalized by the Nazis). Many did not speak at all about the war, let alone about the horrors that followed. But we knew, from words uttered here and there, from the refusal to speak of it, from the ‘don’t even go there’ looks in their eyes, that there was pain not only in what was lost before the war and through the war, but in the injustices and trauma faced AFTER the war. And that’s even before we speak of internment camps and refugee camps and being turned away and refused safety and put behind barbed wire, again, by so-called humane societies.
        So, yes, there is a lot to remember and a lot to never forget. Lest we repeat more than we are already repeating. …
        XOXO
        Na’ama

        Liked by 1 person

  • So tragic! I’m fighting back the tears. This just reminds me to treasure the things that young Hannah makes. She’s got great artistic potential, already well beyond stick figures at four years. This is a great piece, Rochelle, beautiful and painful all at once.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Eric,

      I hope you’re nurturing Hannah in her artistic abilities. 😉 I’m sure you are. I have managed to keep a few cherished pieces my children who are now grown men did all those years ago. Now I watch my granddaughter who is a talented little artist at eight.
      Thank you so much for the comment and the tears.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,
    Good storytelling doesn’t do this one justice. It expands the mind, evoking so many thoughts and impressions. As I read it, the contradiction of the loss and destruction of lives and a family with the mother finding that artwork by the daughter — which to me symbolizes a tiny glimmer of hope for a future — stirs confusion and anger at God in that so much evil was visited upon them and now they are supposed to somehow be grateful for finding her picture/artwork unscathed?
    Shalom,
    Lisa

    Liked by 1 person

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