Historical Fiction

All posts in the Historical Fiction category

22 May 2020

Published May 20, 2020 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 © CEAyr

Come on along and click the dancing frog to join the fun!

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

THE LEADER OF THE BAND

Cossacks torched the shtetl of Tolochin. Flames shot up from Cantor Beilin’s home. Five-year-old Israel choked on the billowing smoke, huddled in a ditch with his brother and sisters. He had never seen Papa weep so.

A ship carried the Beilins to America. In New York’s Lower Eastside, Izzy discovered his talent and at thirteen sang on the streets for thrown pennies.

Music and America. His love for both welled up inside of him and spilled over in the songs he wrote.

Composer Jerome Kern said of Izzy, “Irving Berlin has no place in American music—he is American Music.”

***

Born in 1888, Irving Berlin lived to be 101. Trying en-capsulize him in 100 words is no easy task. While you might not be familiar with name, I’ll bet you’re familiar with his music. “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (Scandalous in 1911), “Easter Parade,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “God Bless America,” and that seasonal favorite “White Christmas” to name a few. 

Irving Berlin 1906

August 18, 1790

Published May 17, 2020 by rochellewisoff

Today Pegman travels to America’s smallest state, Rhode Island. As always, feel free to stroll around until you feel inspired to write up to 150 words. When you’re finished, post a link to your story on the InLinkz page to share with the other contributors. Remember that reading and commenting on the other stories is a big part of the fun!

Thanks to Josh and Karen for hosting the challenge. 

Click the frog to join the fun. 

With all the beautiful pictures of Providence on the Google maps menu, my research road took me about 39 miles south of Providence to Newport.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150

AUGUST 18, 1790

Twelve-year-old Jacob squirmed on the wooden seat between Papa and Grandpapa Aaron. The warm August breeze through the synagogue’s open windows made him sleepy. “Why must we be here today? It’s not Shabbat.”

            His grandfather patted his knee. “I came to this country when I was your age, you know.”

           “Yes, Grandpapa.” Jacob rolled his eyes. How many times had he heard how his grandfather came to the colony of Newport, Rhode Island to escape oppression in Brazil? “I know.”

           “What you don’t know,” Grandfather pointed to a tall man sitting in the seat of honor, “is today is the day you’ll remember for the rest of your life.”

            Twenty years later, Jacob held his son on his lap. “I will never forget the day President Washington spoke at Jeshuat Israel and said these words, ‘The government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution, no assistance.’”

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Nu? How could I resist the first synagogue in America. Established in 1763? (Guess you could call that providence. 😉 )

Click to know more

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. 

LA CHAUMIÈRE DE DIVINE

Published April 18, 2020 by rochellewisoff

Today Pegman travels to Roscanvel, Brittany. Your mission is to wander around using Google Street View until you find something that inspires you to write up to 150 words. When you’re satisfied, post a link to the InLinz site and share it with your fellow writers. Remember that reading and commenting on other posts is part of the experience.

Thanks to Josh and Karen for hosting What Pegman Saw. 😀

Click to the dancing frog to participate

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150

LA CHAUMIÈRE DE DIVINE

The September breeze ruffled Paul’s hair as he paced the perimeter of the stone cottage, contemplating his losses.  

“It is poetry, this place. Nothing like cruel Paris,” he’d told his companion and their two sons. “The clairvoyant was right. We will flourish here. Here we laugh, we cry; here we live, we die like legends.”

An infant’s squall rousted him from his musings. He hurried toward the sound. Entering the bedroom, he found his children’s mother cradling a newborn. She flashed a weary, yet jubilant smile. “Paul, say hello to your daughter.”

La perfection!” Taking the little one in his arms, he marveled at her delicate features. “Created by the angels, sent by God. I shall call her Divine. What do you think?”

Almost as if she understood, Divine grasped his finger. He thrilled to her touch. “I am your father, Saint-Pol-Roux le magnifique. Ma princesse. Welcome to Divine’s Cottage.”

Poet Saint-Pol-Roux

Divine’s Cottage

17 April 2020

Published April 15, 2020 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 © Roger Bultot

Click the Frog to Play Along!

Word Count: 100

Genre: Historical Fiction

I told myself I was going to give Historical Fiction a rest, but this story found me and begged to be shared. For those across the sea, let me introduce you to an American icon. (she should be) 

AFTER A FASHION

The sun rose on New York’s horizon, Lena’s adopted city since immigrating from Lithuania in 1895, as a 16-year-old orphan. The baby on her soaking hip crammed his fist into his mouth and whimpered.

            “Oy. My little pisher needs his vikileh changed.”

            Once the deed was done she sat at her sewing machine, sleeping infant on her lap. She yawned. “No rest for weary Widow Bryant. Miss Feingold needs her wedding dress.”

            Four years later, Lena opened her own shop. Thanks to the bank’s misspell on her loan, we now remember the designer of fashionable plus-size dresses as Lane Bryant.

 

  • Pisher is a Yiddish word for someone who can’t keep his drawers dry. Vikeleh is diaper or nappie depending on which side of the pond you’re on. 😉 

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Weekend Writing Prompt – Nomad

Published April 12, 2020 by rochellewisoff

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in Sammi’s Comment Section.

With this being Passover week, my mind went to the Children of Israel wandering in the desert. Happy Easter or Passover to those who celebrate. 

WADE IN THE WATER

Moses came to Joshua and Zilpah under the cloak of darkness and raised a staff. “You’ll be slaves in Egypt no more.”

            Joshua hastily loaded a sack with tools they would need to set up a new home. Zilpah bundled their infant son.  

***

            “We was nomads wandering in the wilderness,” Joshua reveled in his children’s shining dark faces, “when Miss Harriet Tubman—Black Moses—led us to freedom.”

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HALLEL

Published April 11, 2020 by rochellewisoff

Today Pegman takes a trip back to the old country, Polanczyk Poland. As always, your mission is to roam around using Google Street View until you find something that inspires you to write up to 150 words, then share your finished work with the other prompt participants. Remember that reading and commenting is part of the experience!

Do your best, and have fun!

Click the frog to join the other prompt participants! 

Thanks to Josh and Karen for the challenge!

What can I say? It’s Poland and Passover. חג פסח שמח to those who celebrate.

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 150

HALLEL

Bubbeh Sylvia’s silver-white hair gleams in the candlelight. Her eyes are sparkling blue clouds and her withered cheeks glow. “Papa loved it here. At night he took us for moonlight boat rides on Lake Solina.”

            At her insistence, we’ve come to Poland so she can see her homeland one last time. After days touring the gorgeous countryside, we settle in to celebrate Passover with her brother Vladek, who bought the house from Jan Buszko and built a resort in Polanczk after the war.

            “Remember how excited you were when you caught your first fish, Sylvie?” He chuckles.

            I add a fifth question to the traditional four. “Uncle Vlad, why are we celebrating in this musty old cellar instead of your dining room.”

            Tears do not dim his smile. “Where else, bubbeleh? For in this very cellar Adonai used the Buszkos to deliver us from the most despicable pharaoh of all.”

***

              *Hallel, part of the Passover celebration, means Praise 

              *Bubbeleh is a Yiddish term of endearment. 

Click here for a 7 minute explanation of the meaning of the Passover Seder from Mayim Byalik 

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