Sunday, November 29, 2009


a man writes of his mother born
in Poland a few weeks before the
Germans came. That it was because
his grandparents fled 200 miles on
foot he can tell this. They left
after trains were shut to Jews and
after all the bank accounts and
businesses were stolen but before
Lodz ghetto was shut. Along the
way they were often refused aid.
People knew who you were if you
were running. Germans controlled
the whole country by then and few
people would take risks. So, hungry,
with a baby months old, they
trudged on and by luck found a
farmer who agreed to give them a
ride in his cart. Buried under scratchy
hay, they traveled safely. On the
third day a German soldier saw the
cart and ordered it to stop. He
searched thru the hay, poking with
his rifle and discovered my grand
mother and grandfather. The solitary
soldier ordered them out, threatened
them. He cocked his rifle and
pointed it at them. They did nothing.
The baby cried. The Nazi continued
yelling, trying to get a response
but they didn’t answer him or move.
Time passed. Maybe minutes. Then
he turned to the right and left and
seemed to realize he was alone. No
one would know what he did. Then
he put his gun down and told them
to go. They’d only gone a few yards
before the soldier ordered the cart
to stop again. The Nazi said he had to
do what was right. He was going to
take them to the trains. My grand
parents knew what the trains meant
or would come to mean as they were
led away to the stations. When
he saw them, the Germans cursed,
threw stones at my family. The
soldier began waving his hands
and shouting “no, you don’t under
stand—they aren’t Jews, they are
Russians, they are trying to run
away from Stalin. Germany and
Russia were still allies. Because of
this lie, my family was forced up
on a train and made to go to Russia.
Now, I’m thinking, he said, even
when the world seems monstrous,
when you least expect it, a
monster can turn out to be
an angel

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:

No comments:

Post a Comment