All posts tagged Holocaust


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. 😉


             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?”


            “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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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 © J Hardy Carroll


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


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


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


“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


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/





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


                                                                        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.

18 May 2018

Published May 16, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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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 submitted by Courtney Wright. © Photographer prefers to remain anonymous.

get the InLinkz code

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


The uniformed matron smiled. “Take off your shoes and tie the laces together so you can find them more quickly after your shower.”

The doors clanked shut behind the child. No cleansing water sprayed from the nozzles. 

Cold tile chilled his bare feet. Naked, he shivered and gasped his final breaths.  

“Mama! Mama!”

His desperate, silenced voice rattles my soul.    

Could he have been another Einstein?

Perhaps he’d have been a storyteller whose words delighted thousands.  

The shoe is crumpled and the eyelets are rusted. It fits the palms of my hands—the only evidence of a candle snuffed aborning.





Published January 22, 2017 by rochellewisoff

This week Pegman has gone to Moscow. Many thanks to K Lawson for graciously hosting. To choose your own photo click here. Write your own flash fiction of 150 words or less. Click the blue frog to add your own link.

Here’s the photo I chose:


Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150


           “I adored the stage,” said Bubbe Gittel of her time in the Moscow State Jewish Theater. “I had a crush on the director, Shlomo Mikhoels. What a performer he was!”  

            I switched off the TV. My grandmother’s stories beat summer reruns. Even in her 80’s she could still recite Shakespeare—in Yiddish.

            “During the war Mr. Stalin kept us safe from Hitler and made Shlomo the head of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. The show would always go on. So I thought.”

            Bubbe’s smile faded. “The war ended and with it, Stalin’s favor.”

            “What happened, Bubbe?”

            “They called it an accident, but I saw it with my own eyes. A KGB monster shoved Shlomo in the path of a speeding truck. Other members of the committee were arrested for treason—poets and writers they were. Four years later, they were executed. Their real crime? We know what that was, don’t we?”



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