The Polish author Marek Hlasko grew up during World War II. In the late 1950s, after a precocious success as a writer of fiction, he fell out of favor with the Communist authorities and fled (temporarily) to Israel—where, although not Jewish, he found a community of like-minded, Polish-speaking intellectuals. A new translation has appeared of his wrenching tale, told from the perspective of Christian boy, of the murder of the Jews of a Polish shtetl:
The boy was nine years old, in love, and knew already that he was in love for the rest of his life. In any case, he told his father in confidence first, but later, at his father’s urging, he agreed to bring his mother in on the secret as well, though he doubted she could understand it. The girl he loved was named Eva, she was younger than he by a month and twelve days. She lived with her parents in the neighboring home, and she came over to see the boy during the evenings.
“Can’t you come earlier?” he asked one day.
“No,” she said.
“My father won’t let me. I’m only allowed to leave the house when it’s dark.”