אנו זוכר’ם WE REMEMBER

Published April 21, 2020 by rochellewisoff

Because today is Yom HaShoah…Holocaust Remembrance Day, I’m taking the liberty of sharing a few flash fictions I’ve written. These are only four out of many I’ve written concerning the subject. It’s not much, but it is my way of keeping the voices of the past alive. Like many Jewish people, I had relatives who perished under the Nazis. However I never knew their names or their faces. My mother told me my grandfather, who came here to escape the pogroms in Eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century, had been trying to help some of his relatives escape Hitler. Sadly, communications ceased. For those I never knew, I write these stories as tribute. May we never forget.

אנו זוכר’ם

THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED

Katya played Chopin’s “Berceuse” on the imaginary piano in her coat pocket with trembling fingers. She tried to keep pace on the frozen path.

Without success, she tried to block out the image of her father, the cantor, lying in the street, his magnificent voice forever stilled. Latvia’s November wind whipped through her.  

She remembered when Professor Philipp at the conservatory in Paris proclaimed, “Katya Abramis, you have an exquisite talent.”

“Schnell!”

A drunken soldier ripped an infant from a young mother’s arms and shot him. She dropped to her knees only to suffer the same fate as her son. The snow turned red beneath them.

“Shoes in this pile, clothes in that.”

Katya obeyed. What choice did she have?

Standing naked at the edge of a deep pit, Katya pictured her beloved synagogue and heard Papa sing “Lord of the World, Who was, Who is, Who is to come.”   

There is little on the internet about Cantor Abram Abramis or his daughter Katya, renowned pianist of her time. Both perished in the 1941 Massacre in Riga. CLICK HERE for my source. 

אנו זוכר’ם

COMMISSION NUMBER 3

           Trina wasn’t forced to wear a yellow star like her friend Hanna, but she was ostracized by the other children who called her schwarz schimpanse.

            One day a uniformed woman entered the classroom. “Trina Azikiwe, I’m here to take you to the doctor.

            “I’m not sick.”

            The officer dealt Trina’s cheek a stinging blow. “Silence, Rheinlandbastard!”

            Trina would never forget the cruel procedure that rendered her forever childless or the doctor’s admonition. “Never have sexual relations with good Germans.”

            Good Germans? There were none better than her golden-haired mother and handsome bronze father who perished for their ‘sin’ in Dachau.

אנו זוכר’ם

SHOAH

            “Where’s Nadine?” I stamped my foot with childish impatience.

            “The Juif doesn’t live here anymore.” The man hissed through pinched lips.  

            “Because of the Bosche?”

            “No more questions.” The door slammed and he shouted from the other side. “Go away!”

________

            Seventy years later sunlight flickers on ocean waves at Saint-Marc. I walk along the deserted beach where Nadine and I gathered seashells and dreams.

            “Martine, swim with me.” 

            Shielding my eyes, I search the rippling waters. Nadine beckons. I’m warmed by her smile…and the twelve-year-old girl who choked her last in Auschwitz’s Zyklon-B showers lives forever in my heart.

To learn more about Nadine click here.

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

אנו זוכר’ם

SWINGJUGEND

            In 1969 my mother packed me off to my aunt and uncle’s dairy farm in Wisconsin.

            “But Mom, Uncle Otto’s weird. That eyepatch and those scars—ick.”

***

            One night he took my Jefferson Airplane record from the stereo and replaced it with his own 45.

            “You tink das ist protest music?”

            “‘It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing,’” He sang. “The SS ransacked our nightclub, but I danced all the way to Buchenwald.”

            Uncle Otto taught me more than the jitterbug that summer.

***

            At his funeral last year I saluted my favorite uncle with, “Swing Heil!”

To those all who perished in the Holocaust, the heroes and the victims, I salute you! May your memories be a blessing. 

31 comments on “אנו זוכר’ם WE REMEMBER

  • Oh, Rochelle. The heart cries! After all these years that have passed, I still have tears at the stories of the horrors perpetrated on the Jews of Europe during Hitler’s reign. These are poignant, from the heart. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Linda,

      I’m right there with you. I can’t help but tear up at the heartbreak…the inhumanity. And the disease still proliferates, doesn’t it? Thank you for taking the time to read and leave such a comment.

      Shalom and good health,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • These may be reruns but they are just as touching and emotional as the 1st time I read them. Such is good writing. Though some say “never dwell on the past”, If we do not at least remember and educate ourselves on history, we are doomed to repeat it. Very touching M’Luv.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hi, Rochelle , beautiful snippets.

    If I may correct- ‘we remember’ is written: אנו זוכרים . with י , not ‘.

    You might like this next video:

    Ashes and dust a special video prepared for Holocaust remembrance day ceremony in zichron yaakov.
    Shira : Shir Sʼqwmsqy
    Illustration: Shelly Ben non
    Words Yaakov Gilad
    Melody: Yehuda Poliker
    Shir Sacomsky Sheli Ben Nun
    Yehuda Poliker יהודה פוליקר

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2682841758669197&id=1597669887186395?sfnsn=wa&d=w&vh=e

    Liked by 1 person

  • I keep thinking of the horror most people must have felt when the films of the soldiers liberating the camps came on the large screens of the movie theaters. You’ve done your part in keeping those memories alive for future generations, Rochelle. I knew of one woman who became a denier. She was of German descent and couldn’t handle the truth. I’m guessing it was too horrible for her to absorb. My dad knew her and couldn’t understand the way her mind worked. He, like me, was a realist. You couldn’t reason with her. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • How sad for her. She had to have known the truth in her heart. I have a German friend,
      a young woman whose grandfather was a Nazi. I feel for her because she can’t seem to get past the guilt.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Thank you. Just yesterday night my mother told me the story of how her young aunt, Yehudit, who had barely survived the war and made her way ‘home,’ was placed by the ‘locals’ – along with other young women survivors – in a rickety boat, and the boat shot to drown them. All died. Yehuit’s father said not a word of it till his one surviving son wanted to board a ship to Israel … and the father balked, terrified, at the risk.
    We’d do well to remember that the horrors were not limited to the Germans, but they were spurred and prodded and egged and normalized by them.
    Hate kills.
    We should never forget it.
    Never again.
    Na’ama

    Liked by 1 person

    • And thank you for. Na’ama for reminding me of the day. It had slipped under my radar. No, the horrors weren’t limited to the Germans…not to mention those who turned on their own, or the Poles who staged a pogrom against the camp survivors when they tried to return to their homes. Or the black children who were sterilized without anesthetic, or the gays, etc etc. the horrifying list goes on ad nauseum, doesn’t it?

      Thank you,

      Shalom, good health and love that sees beyond difference,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Hi Rochelle,
    I just recently read “From Silt And Ashes” and “As One Must,One Can” I read “Please Say Kaddish For Me” a long time ago & read the 2nd book to refresh my memory. I love these books so much!!

    (Barb’s sister)

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    A perfect collection to honour the day. I love how you used all very different situations to show just how far and wide this horrific part of history was.

    Shalom and lots of healing love,

    Dale

    Like

  • These are heartbreakingly beautiful, Rochelle. I’ve read them several times and your last one reminded me of the movie Swing Kids which I’ve always enjoyed. I remember the first time, of many, that I read, El, Wiesel’s NIGHT. “Never shall I forget that first night in camp which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed.” Few words have affected me like that book did so many years ago. God Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear George,

      I saw the movie and it left quite an impression on me. Hitler’s tentacles reached beyond the Jews, didn’t they? I also read NIGHT in one night. Powerful book. Thank you for reading and leaving such a wonderful comment. May we never forget.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

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