While surfing the Net, gathering blog fodder, I came across this firsthand account of one young mother caught in the Jewish Federation of Seattle when Naveed Haq went on his spree trying to kill Jews.
"Here I am. I'm a Jew. I'm hunted.": The doorknob to her office started to jiggle. "I thought if it was police, they would be banging and yelling, 'Police!'; and if it was one of my colleagues, they'd be banging and screaming," she said. "That was the concern. It was just silence. It was just too calm.
Someday, this will make a good book, maybe a movie, too. In the meantime, I recommend these three books.
Most of us have read The Diary of Ann Frank, and here's a similar book (fiction). When Nurse G was in grade school, I bought her a book called When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, about a 9-tear-old girl who was Jewish living in 1933 Germany. Before I gave it to her, I read the first page and didn't give it to her until I had finished. Even though it was written for a young girl, the story will hold an adult's attention.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit: Anna looked at the staring eyes, the grim expression. She said, “It’s not a bit like Charlie Chaplin except for the mustache.”
They spelled out the name under the photograph.
“He wants everybody to vote for him in the elections and then he’s going to stop the Jews,” said Elsbeth. “Do you think he’s going to stop Rachel Lowenstein?”
“Nobody can stop Rachel Lowenstein,” said Anna. “She’s form captain. Perhaps he’ll stop me. I’m Jewish.”
I consider myself the world's slowest reader, so when I can slog through a 616-page book, not once but TWICE, it must be a good read. Anya, by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer is the story of a young Jewish woman, who trained to be a doctor, who lived through Hitler's wrath. I was, and still am, fascinated by how people survive perilous times, especially people with children. That picture is my paperback copy, which I bought and read in 1976 or 1977. The story was so compelling, so vividly written, that I was certain it was true. I did learn that it's not the author's bio. Then I found this info, which has been eliminated from the sites but can be found in the cached pages: This is an autobiography not a novel. I'm still not certain if it's true or not, but it is worth reading.
Anya: "They are two lights, my mother and father. Very often I dream about them."
They were well-to-do Russian Jews living in Poland, a world more like Tolstoy's than our own, a world of piano lessons, elaborate meals, and story-teling, a world swept away in the fire storm of the Holocaust.”
From the sudden shock of the first bombing of Warsaw, the violence unleashed by the Nazis swelled to a flood of destruction and despair. Bewildered and numbed, the Jewish community struggled with the growing nightmare--invasion, occupation, and chaos; ghettos, cattle cars, and finally Kaiserwald, where "the living come to envy the dead." With cold, raw audacity, Anya runs, hides and fights to save herself and her child. "Lucky in everything but her mind," Anya survives, only to find that, as time passes, the wounds grow deeper. And now it takes an act of courage to remember just how it was.
I found the book Haven in a drug store -- back when pharmacies were known as that -- while I was stuck in a hotel room in Buffalo, in January, while DogMan was attending business meetings. The picture is of my paperback. The story is true. You might have seen the 2001 TV adaptation -- I did not -- but don't overlook this excellent firsthand account of Ruth Gruber's fight to help save 1,000 refugees in 1944.
Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America: The words leaped at me from The Washington Post.
“I have decided,” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced, “that approximately 1,000 refugees should be immediately brought from Italy to this country.”
One thousand refugees.
Europe was burning. It was June, 1944, the middle of the war.
For years, refugees knocking on doors of American consulates abroad had been told, “You cannot enter America. The quotas are filled.” And while the quotas remained untouchable, like tablets of stone, millions died.