November 29, 2007

A Typical Day for a Holocaust Jew in Hiding.

What does a Jew, alone, hiding from the Nazis and the antisemitic Poles, do to fill his day. I asked my father the question. He said that he would bury himself deep into the haystacks and try to sleep. He slept because when he was awake he would have terrible hunger pains. When he slept, he dreamed of all the foods that he turned away when he was a boy because he was finicky. He was afraid but not so much afraid of getting caught. In fact, he felt that his capture was inevitable. What he did not want to do was be the cause of being caught.
My father was filthy. He did not bathe. He could not bathe. The water in the streams was too cold. He could not wash his clothes. He had no way of changing his clothes because he did not have a change of clothes. So his clothing was filled with lice and fleas. He said that he never got use to it. That the itching tormented him all his waking moments. He had a wild beard. There was no razor or shaving equipment for such a luxury. His hair was long like a hobo. He had no access to a barber. He had no money and no place to go. He was on his own. Like an animal of the forest.
My father wandered, seemingly in circles, around the perimeter of Radziejow, in the forests and fields. He was alone and cold. The only thought that kept him going was to picture in his mind’s eye the Nazis being put through what the Jews experienced. That thought kept him alive.
My father,with God’s help, had the privilege of outliving his tormentors.

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