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Articles tagged "Holocaust"

White Sand, Black Stone

The young officer was reading the pages of my passport diligently, scrupulously, as though they were the pages of a gossip magazine or a cheap novel. He held them up. He looked at them against the light. He scratched them hard with the nail of his index finger. It occurred to me that at any moment he might fold over the corner of one of the pages, marking it, as though planning to return to his reading later. You travel a lot, he said suddenly as he went over all the stamps. I didn’t...

An Odd Story

I glanced at the wreath against the tombstone and was amazed to read my own name on it: TO MY SECOND MOTHER—FROM KAREL HRABĚ. In our family there had never been anybody by that name. My father, Abraham Grafi, was the owner of a fairly respectable fabric store located on the oblong main square of a district town near Moravská Ostrava. There my mother, Sarah, spent her days in the cashier's booth. Every crown of the daily gross sales passed through her short...

An Address

The telegram came at eight in the morning. He was still lying in bed; he didn't really feel like getting up. He couldn't stand Sundays anymore; they were empty days difficult to fill. So he stayed in bed as long as he could, waiting for the morning commotion to die down in the apartment, and the scrambles for the bathroom and kitchen to cease. That usually took quite some time, since the apartment housed three families, one in each of the three large rooms. He himself occupied...

Our Holocaust

The Holocaust extended its reach beyond the neighborhood. Traces of Shoah lurked in the most surprising places, like the little shops where Dad went to order wallpaper or buy light bulbs. He often took me with him to Attorney Perl's hardware store on Yonah HaNavi Street. Apart from buying plaster or little boxes of screws, it was a place where you could talk, ask questions and watch Attorney Perl at work. People used to stand with their elbows on the counter and gaze at the wall...

Variations on the La-Z-Boy Recliner, and Dinner with the Editor

He knows that every published book is an imperfect representation of the book one imagined writing, its final shape determined by painful exclusions, second thoughts, and corrections that mercilessly cut out its best, most difficult parts; sometimes he thinks back on what his book could have been, or it would be more accurate to say the thousands and thousands of books he could have written which have remained hidden in a folder in his computer called "rejects," where these different...

To Live in Sin

Editor's Note: The novel To Live in Sin (1996) is dedicated to the pogrom of the Romanian Jewish population in Jassy, June 29, 1941. This mass murder (over 10,000 victims), and the deportation of the Jewish population of the Bukovina region to Transnistria, in Ukraine, are the "contribution" of Romania under the pro-Nazi dictatorship of Marshal Antonescu to the Final Solution. These crimes were committed with terrible cruelty and they happened before the famous Wansee Conference....

Crematorium

I enter the room beside you. Take off my overcoat. Drop my handbag on the bed With bewildered gestures I take off my glasses Indecisive I stand fidgeting. I love you and feel frightened. I watch you waiting for you to decide what you'll do with this object (warm slender vertical) that I am We're talking together. I watch you. I do not touch you It's warm and we go on talking together. You do...

It’s Not Time For . . .

It's not time for a change. As long as I can remember it's never been time for a change. Like cars that screech to a halt houses stand poised in their old breeding ground of rotten acacia leaves.From ribs that bulge like knots on a bundle of wet ropes a faint voice arises, crying, "choose!" Choose between memory and that peculiar stench. . . . Choose between clouds and earth. I tremble like a tree in a winter storm. I wait. I don't understand but I...

from Étoile Errante

Set first in the village of Saint-Martin in southeast France, then in the refugee camp of Nour Chams, Étoile Errante (Wandering Star) tells the story of two teenage girls on the threshold and in the aftermath of World War II: Esther, a French Jew who flees for Jerusalem with her mother, Elizabeth, just before the German occupation; and Nejma, a young Arab orphaned and unable to return to the ancient city of her birth, Akka, after the Israeli declaration of statehood. The following...

Games on the Banks of the Danube

Everybody knows you can't choose your place of birth, any more than you can select your parents. My birthplace is located on a body of water; human hands have altered and straightened the banks so many times that these waters are no longer referred to as a river, but rather a canal. This canal empties into the Tisza, and the Tisza flows into the Danube. My memories of the Danube begin in the summer of 1941. My parents, who had been so inept as to be Jews, were already under arrest...
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