Holocaust

All posts tagged Holocaust

2 October 2020

Published September 30, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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A reminder that the Holocaust did happen. Dare we forget? This is a shortened version of a story I posted almost 4 years ago for What Pegman Saw. (Thank you, Josh and Karen). I feel it’s one that bears repeating.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

PERCHANCE TO DREAM

Bedtime was Eva’s chance to escape. Tonight, she flew close to the dazzling sun. Below water cavorted over glittering shells. A mermaid with gleaming fins sat on a crystal throne in the midst of the waves. Her eyes glowed like candles, beckoning Eva. Sea spray veiled her shining violet hair that cascaded over her shoulders like a silken cape.

She sang an enticing melody. “Eva, sweet Eva, come swim with me.”

***

“Eva, wake up!”

Shira grasped her sister’s narrow shoulders. Grey light through the barrack’s filthy window illuminated Eva’s skeletal face and serene smile.

Weeping, Shira whispered, “Arbeit macht frei.”

 

25 September 2020

Published September 23, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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As fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors remain in our midst, it seems easier to forget. It’s not taught in schools and increasing numbers of misinformed believe the Holocaust never happened. 

INTERVIEW WITH PRISONER A5714

Remember Robert Clary as LeBeau of Stalag 13? Hogan’s shortest hero? The connoisseur of French cuisine.  

               He reminisces about the rabbi who helped him study for his Bar Mitzvah. “He smelled of schmaltz, herring, onion and garlic.”

             “Ah food.”

             He shrugs. “In Buchenwald we had little to eat. I sang for the prisoners and sometimes the chef in the kitchen gave me an extra piece of bread.”

             “What’s your greatest achievement? Performing?”

              “No.  I’m most proud to have spent twenty years keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. Warning against man’s inhumanity. While I am living, I have to tell.”   

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Dream Awakened Eyes

Published July 22, 2020 by rochellewisoff

I feel that more of Charlotte’s story needs to be told. So bear with me as I double dip this week.

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

WITH DREAM AWAKENED EYES

Following her grandparents’ deaths, a doctor suggested Charlotte take up painting to ease her depression. She lost herself in gouache. Every day her paintbrushes illustrated her life story.  Humming, she rendered herself as a child waiting for her angel mother to return from heaven. Sketching by the sea. The Wehrmacht marching through the streets.  

            “I become them all,” she said. “I travel their paths. No power on earth can stop me.”

            One night, she handed Dr. Moridis her hundreds of masterpieces. “Keep these safe, they are my whole life.”

            Months later Charlotte Salomon and her unborn child perished in Auschwitz.

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24 July 2020

Published July 22, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

INHERITANCE

“Your mother committed suicide, and her sister before her.” Grandfather sneered. “Now your grandmother. You’re all cursed.”

            The night before, he’d forced Charlotte to share his bed “to ease his sorrow.”

             She whipped and poured eggs into a skillet. “Influenza killed Mama.”

            “Your papa lied.  Mark my words, you’re next.”

            She plopped an omelet onto his plate. “Bon apetit.”

            “Aren’t you going to eat.”

            “I’m not hungry.” She propped her drawing board on her lap.

            “What are you drawing now?”

            “You, Grandfather. I want to remember this moment.”

            “What did you put in this?”

            “Not much. Salt, pepper and Veronal.”

 

*Did she murder her grandfather? Historians are divided.  

Charlotte Salomon with her grandparents

31 January 2020

Published January 29, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

In the Talmud it is written, “To save the life of one man is to save the world.” 

TO SAVE ONE LIFE

Pain seared through the fifteen-year-old’s leg. “I’m so clumsy.”

“The snow is slippery. Needless to say, you won’t be dancing for a while, ma chérie.” The doctor’s kind eyes brimmed. “It’s a severe break. You need to be in hospital.”

“No, the SS—”

“Without medical care, one leg will end up shorter than the other.”

“Better to limp than be dead.” Huguette moaned.

“Then you’ll stay here—in my chalet.”

Today, Huguette is petitioning Yad V’Shem to recognize Dr. Frédéric Pétri of Val d’Isère as one of the Righteous among the Nations. Ken Y’hi Ratzon. May it be so.   

 

To read more CLICK HERE. Thank you, Dale for sharing this with me.

No reason to include this video with this story. No reason.

1942

Published January 3, 2020 by rochellewisoff

The following story is written for the following photo prompt provided by Writers Unite!  for their Write the Story  short story challenge. All photos used by WU are public domain and require to attribution. However the story is © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 😉

1942

             When Sylvia uttered, “Hail Mary full of Grace…,” she saw Sister Honorina. With her white veil, blue eyes and round face, she resembled the paintings of the Blessed Virgin with Baby Jesus hanging on the wall of the dormitory Sylvia shared with seven other girls.   

            After praying the Rosary with Sylvia in her gentle Viennese-accented voice, Sister Honorina added the shema. “I promised to your father never to let you forget the words of your ancestors. We say them together now.”

             Sylvia recited the prayer in unison with Sister Honorina both in Hebrew and English exactly the way Papa did. “‘Shema yis’ra’el, Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai echad. Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.’”

            “Sehr gut. Your Papa, he would be so proud.”

            “When are he and Momma coming back for me?”

            Tears welled up in the nun’s eyes. She dabbed them with her sleeve. “We must leave it in God’s hands.” Tucking Sylvia’s Teddy bear in beside her, Sister Honorina kissed the child’s forehead. “Sleep now, kleine schvester.

            Sylvia curled up on her side, hugging her bear. Frost formed intricate patterns on the window. The way the streetlight outside the convent illuminated them fascinated the eight-year-old. She remembered Papa’s stories about frost-faeries with icicle paint brushes. Closing her eyes, she heard Momma and Papa.

            Momma sounded angry. “You’re filling her head with stuff and nonsense. How’s this equipping her to face a world filled with discord and oppression, Aaron? How?”

            “Esther, she’s only six.”

            “You don’t hear the news? Six-year-olds are being slaughtered in their beds. Babies murdered in their mothers’ arms. No synagogue is safe. No Jewish market. Just like my grandparents in Poland. How long before they throw rocks through our windows?”

            “We’re an enlightened society, Esther. Consider our technological advances. Never again. The pogroms aren’t going to happen here.”

            “My Aaron, the scientist. My Prince Charming who still believes in fairytales. I love you, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong.”

            Sylvia shivered and pulled the covers over her head. It happened a year ago. A year after her parents’ argument. Momma’s frightening predictions came true. Sylvia saw their beloved cantor beaten to death—right in the shul, the words of the Kaddish Shalem on his lips. She could still smell the sulfur odor that hung in the air—hear the screams and moans of the dying.

            By some miracle, Sylvia and her parents escaped that Shabbos day, the day the Shoah began in earnest. Many of their neighbors had already gone into hiding. Momma and Papa decided it would be safer for Sylvia to place her with Christians. With her blonde hair and blue eyes, she might escape being pegged as a Jew.

            Papa carried her in his strong arms. He smelled of aftershave and chocolate. His heart thumped against her chest. “You will do what the sisters tell you, Silver Girl, do you understand? Even when you think it’s strange.”

            “We will take good care of her, Mr. and Mrs. Green.” Sister Honorina reached for Sylvia. “We’ll allow no harm to come to her.”

            “How can you say that?” Momma stroked Sylvia’s hair. “How can anyone in this godforsaken country make such a promise?”

            Tears streamed down Papa’s stubbled cheek. “Never forget who you are, my daughter.” He placed her in Sister Honorina’s arms. “We’ll be back soon, sweetheart.”

            Momma covered her mouth with her gloved hand. “Oh Aaron.”

            Sylvia reached for Papa. “Pinkie swear?”

            His lips trembled. He engulfed her pinkie finger in his. “As the frost-faeries are my witness.”

            March wind swooshed outside the convent. In the beds across the aisle Elizabeth Nusbaum and Naomi Resnick who were both twelve spoke in stage whispers.

            “Naomi, do you think they took our parents to the death camps?”

            “Probably.” 

            “Girls, shh.” Sister Honorina shone her flashlight on them. “This is not the time to speak of such things.”

            “Seriously? When do we talk about it? After another six million have perished?” Elizabeth bolted upright. “It’s 1942 all over again. I saw it on CNN. There are camps in Colorado and Arizona and more being constructed in New Mexico.”     

  

                

22 November 2019

Published November 20, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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Before beginning my rather somber story, I have some happy news. My WIP entitled “What the Heart Wants” is under contract with agent Diane Nine of Nine Speakers, Inc. To read more about it click here

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

PROJECT PINK

Dedrick intertwined his fingers with Levin’s long slender ones and stared at the ragged nails worn down by hauling stones from the quarry. Dedrick remembered winter nights when those elegant hands, never meant for such cruel labor, prepared succulent meals that would delight a king.

            Levin’s hoarse voice brought him back to Auschwitz. “Dedrick, I—”

            Dedrick pressed his finger against Levin’s chapped lips. “Save your strength.”

            Bruises marred Levin’s flawless complexion. One long-lashed eye had swollen shut. He reached out and touched the pink triangle on Dedrick’s striped uniform. “You must know…”

            Kissing Levin’s palm, Dedrick whispered, “I do.”

For more on this lesser known atrocity CLICK HERE

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.”

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

PERSPECTIVES

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/

 

 

 

IF THY RIGHT HAND OFFEND THEE

Published July 29, 2018 by rochellewisoff

This week Pegman takes us to Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Your mission is to write up to 150 words inspired by the location. Feel free to use the image provided in the prompt, or chose from photo spheres around Kinshasa. Once your piece is polished, share it with others using the linkup below.

Many thanks to Karen and Josh for facilitating this challenge for globetrotting writers. It’s the extra 50 words that keep me coming back. 😉

Remember – Reading and commenting on others’ work is part of the fun!

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150

IF THY RIGHT HAND OFFEND THEE

                                                                        August 12, 1896

Ma chérie,

I signed on for the Congo, eager to serve Leopold—to civilize the savage.  

I hold your face in my heart—the celestial blue of your eyes, the curve of your fair cheek and sweetness of your lips. But this vision is no longer enough to sustain me. Forgive, my love, another face has replaced yours. It is magnificent. Brown with midnight eyes. Every whit as handsome as our own Francois and no older.

I followed orders. I lopped off his right hand for not meeting our rubber quotas. What kind of savage does this to another human being?

________

Upon entering the tent, Andre dropped to his knees. “Dear God!”

Louis tutted and pulled a blanket over their fallen comrade.  “Why on earth did Thomas take his own life?”

Picking up a blood-spattered hatchet, Andre shuddered. “And how could he chop off his own hand?”

 

In 1896, a German journalist reported that 1,308 hands were collected in one day.

CLick HERE to watch the disturbing documentary.

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