Tale of a Childhood Witness to the Holocaust

Nov. 24 2014

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.

“Why not?”

“My father won’t let me. I’m only allowed to leave the house when it’s dark.”

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at Tablet

More about: Holocaust, Holocaust fiction, Literature, Poland, Shtetl

 

Understanding the Background of the White House Ruling on Anti-Semitism and the Civil Rights Act

Dec. 13 2019

On Wednesday, the president signed an executive order allowing federal officials to extend the protections of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to Jews. (The order, promptly condemned for classifying Jews as a separate nationality, did nothing of the sort.) In 2010, Kenneth Marcus called for precisely such a ruling in the pages of Commentary, citing in particular the Department of Education’s lax response to a series of incidents at the University of California at Irvine, where, among much elase, Jewish property was vandalized and Jewish students were pelted with rocks, called “dirty Jew” and other epithets, and were told, “Jewish students are the plague of mankind.”

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month

Register

Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, U.S. Politics