web analytics
August 22, 2014 / 26 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



These I Shall Remember


Reich-040612

By Rayzel Reich, as told by her grandfather, Mr. Efraim Reich

It was Moishele, and Itche, and me. We did everything together. We even made our own language, which only we understood. In shul they jokingly called us “the troika,” after the three bishops whose authority extended across Poland.

Then the War came. Things became… different.

The Judenrat picked Itche to work as a houseboy for Herr Garbler, the Gestapo chief who had moved into town.

Dr. Mikolaikow, my kind Polish doctor, offered to hire me so that I wouldn’t have to work for the Germans. He lived next door to the Gestapo, so at least Itche and I sometimes saw each other while we worked.

Rebbe’s door was always open. We came, we went, we learned… but yeshiva wasn’t the same. We weren’t carefree yeshiva bachurim now. We were workers, slaves, perhaps, stealing moments of peace when we could. We came to talk, to sing, to learn, to eat…A moment with our Rebbe was a stolen moment.

Rebbe – R’ Sruel Leib- was different. He seemed to grow, even as he shrunk, his cheeks thinner, gaunt. There were moments when his eyes were haunted… but mostly they were fiery black, seeing through you, loving you to your core.

You were created in the image of God, Rebbe told us. You are Godly beings. Whatever happens, remember that. Be a man. Hold your head high. Know who you are, on the inside, no matter what.

Nobody, nobody, can ever take that away from you.

R’ Sruel Leib’s thin frame seemed to take up the whole small room. His eyes burned.

What God decrees…is not always possible for men to change. We must face a decree, and learn to accept it from our Father in heaven. As men, who hold their head high.

But those who torment us… Who seek to beat us into the very earth… Do not allow them to crush you! My students… Know who you are, beloved children of God… You can resist, you can, in your heart. As long as you are master of yourself… you will never be a slave.

I have “poisoned you,” he said, that sin may never taste good on your lips. You are noble people.

And we were… all Rebbe’s talmidim were noble people.

Itche was, like the rest. Itche was refined, Itche was sensitive, Itche was proud.

We tried to make time to get together, all three of us, when we could. After all, we were the troika.

Itche, Moishele, and me.

Then came the first Aktzion. Herr Garbler removed his mask, and the blood of Jews flowed free.

Moishele’s family was murdered. He was sent as a slave to an airplane factory in distant Reishau, but he was safe. We knew that from his letters.

I ran Dr. Mikolaikow, who offered to hide my family. He hid me in an underground bunker beneath his garage.

And Itche… Itche was safe, houseboy for Herr Garbler, shining shoes in the Gestapo’s house a stone’s throw from where I was hidden.

Garbler liked Itche. He liked him so much, in fact, that he let his sisters live. Illegally. Incredibly, Garbler ordered the Judenrat to give Itche three extra food cards. For his two sisters and their friend, hiding in Itche’s house…

It went against everything he stood for. But he did it…for Itche.

Itche also had an older brother, Yankel. Yankel was still legal. He worked with a group of fifty other Jews for a German firm near the railroad.

And so Itche and his siblings lived, and survived every day, and held their breath, and hoped to live the next one.

There are always rumors.

Itche hears a rumor. He hears that Garbler is walking with Yankel’s workgroup, that he is heading towards a field at the edge of the ghetto.

An open field…a group of Jewish boys, with Garbler…that is danger.

Itche runs.

Garbler and his assistant make their way toward the railroad. Ahead is an overpass that Yankel’s work group must cross on their way home to the ghetto.

Garbler motions for his assistant to stop.

They stand under the overpass, hidden from the sight of those that will come.

They wait.

The group of Jewish workers makes its way down the road. The men and boys are tired, and hungry, and cold, but they talk, and make jokes, as they walk… After all this is life, and life must be lived.

Their feet clatter on the wood of the overpass. Soon they will be home, having a good supper… meager, but something… something hot…

There is home; a ghetto, but home, still dear…

The Gestapo Chief and his assistant are stepping out onto the overpass; they are blocking their way.

What is this?

Itche is running.

If it is true- if they are taken-

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “These I Shall Remember”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A member of Students for Justice in Palestine punched a pro-Israel student in the face at Temple University, Aug. 20, 2014. SJP claims the pro-Israel student provoked the incident.
Pro-’Palestine’ Students at Temple U Blame Victim for Altercation
Latest Sections Stories
(L-R) Rabbis Tzvi Mandel, Akiva Stolper, Meir Borovetz, Yochanan Ivri and Shlomo Rizel. (Not shown: Rabbi Shmaya Modes.)

A CPE class at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn was tailor made for Orthodox participants.

Lewis-081514-Anna-Ticho

“I didn’t choose the landscape; it chose me.”

Astaire-081514

Woe to us that we have to be put to death like common heathen and murderers!

The world sees the hand of God through us, and does not like it.

The Rebbetzin began campaigning to increase public awareness of the importance of saying Amen.

Some educators today believe that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder falls into an executive function category.

It’s ironic that the reality of death is often the greatest force steering the affirmation of life.

The theme of the event was “Together Let us Rebuild our Holy Beis HaMikdash on Tisha B’Av.”

Chaya Aydel Seminary has already established a close connection with France’s Jewish community.

All attendees left with fervent wishes for a swift and lasting peace in Israel.

How can awareness evolve from exploding stars?

More Articles from Rayzel Reich
Reich-082313-Puddle

We had just moved to Boro Park, fresh from the DP camps. The community was new and small, but we were settling in nicely. I knew how fortunate I was to have almost my whole family survive; most had so much less. Our family was a draw for many who needed that familiar feeling of home. One Shabbos afternoon I answered the door to find one such friend and a couple I did not recognize.

Twenties-041913

I didn’t need that much garlic. After all… how much garlic, exactly, could I put into the chicken without overdoing it?

But something made me leave the white, rounded head on the counter after cracking off a few bulbs, rather than putting it back in the fridge. Maybe I’d need more.

I stare, and I stare, trying to connect to those deep, seeing, eyes, to the wisdom and depth within that face. And all I can think, murmurs sliding in a circle through my mind – is, hadras panim… hadras panim… hadras panim…

“…will the kid say, ‘Oh, I’m walking into the strange house, just like Goldilocks?! Maybe the kid will think..”

Apparently I had walked into a family discussion of the pros and cons of reading fairy tales to children.

It was Moishele, and Itche, and me. We did everything together. We even made our own language, which only we understood. In shul they jokingly called us “the troika,” after the three bishops whose authority extended across Poland.

Miss Ida is our beloved teacher. Her brown hair is piled softly on her head. Her dress is of course old and worn, and she must not be very young, but to us, she is beautiful. She is not religious, but she is always kind, and she is always fair. We sit in class, all […]

I was a bit surprised to see my sister Rini sitting in the rocking chair at the end of the kitchen, rocking peacefully back and forth. Rini, age eleven, generally prefers more intense activities, such as bike riding, ripsticking, and yelling.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/these-i-shall-remember/2012/04/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: