“HEAR, O ISRAEL…..” Nick Kalvin, MD
It was a cold, drizzly morning. Dressed in woolen, we began to smell like sheep. Through the mist and drops, I finally saw it. In the lead, I stepped onto the broken, grey rock and grassy overgrowth which almost covered the tarred trestles. Here it was. No doubt, the brick-bordered train tunnel entrance, the Polish side. Together we stared into the “Time Tunnel,” as little Jacob had described it, when I first had told the grandkids about our family history. “People who go in, don’t ever come back,” he had said.
Over an hour earlier, Brenda and I started out with our brood, consisting of four sons, four daughters-in-law, and fifteen grandkids. We went east. After walking quickly at first, we had to slow down for the smaller children, beside the rusty tracks. We started from a village hundreds of years old. In that place, other families had stolen and now lived in, small stone homes which had been built by our ancestors.
When we drew abreast, and all stared into the black depths, I sang the Shema, the daily prayer, and also the death cry of martyrs. When I finished, I wiped my eyes, and nodded to my elder son. Max, drew his shofar out, from under his great coat. He blew a strong and lengthy breath into the horn. The plaintive note echoed off the mountain, then from deep in the tunnel. When the diminishing sounds ended, all were quiet.
It was the smallest, the namesake, who broke the silence. Named after the man, whose trail we followed. Jacob, was wise beyond his years, and outspoken. “So! This is where they last saw Poppa’s Great Grandfather, before that dark cave swallowed him up! “
Brenda knelt and hugged him. “Yes, Jacob. It is said, that he was the only man who fought with the SS as they shoved, beat, and packed the oldest Jews into the wooden box cars. We are at the spot where our European branch, some of whom, not yet taken, ran after the train, crying and praying. Probably right here, they watched it disappear. Shortly after that, a small remainder managed to escape from Occupied Europe. If they had not, then Poppa, his brothers and sisters would never have been born. And, neither would any others of you.”
Jacob glared at the hole in the mountain. “Why did no one stop it? Where does this train track end?”
I could see Brenda’s eyes glisten. I leaned over and took my little grandson by his square shoulders. He looked into my face, unblinking. “Little man, my great grandfather, Jacob would be proud to see and hear his descendent, only six years old, his namesake at that, unafraid to ask.”
I looked around at the collection of sad faces, then back to Jacob. “Almost, twenty four hours later, that train, crowded to standing room, travelling, non-stop in freezing cold, ended at the concentration camp. There all were killed. It was one more day in Nazi Socialism’s Final Solution, a scheme to kill all of Europe’s Jews, and other ‘undesirables.’ That devil, Hitler, almost succeeded. The Allies refused to believe horrible reports, leaking from occupied Europe. Nations around the globe refused to give refuge to the Jews who managed to get out by sea.”
Solomon’s eldest daughter, the beautiful, brilliant Rachael, added, “Even today, many believe the Holocaust to be a myth. At my university, it is considered gauche or politically incorrect to even mention, let alone discuss it. The politically correct administration and the cowardly professors say to do so would offend Islamic students, because they were taught in mosques and Islamic schools, that it never happened! Can you believe that? I mean that is an outright lie in several respects.
While working on a term paper titled, “World War II and Preceding Events,” I discovered that the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, an Islamic cleric, traveled to Europe. He had a well-publicized meeting with Adolph Hitler. It was to discuss ways of cleansing the Jews from Europe. His name was Amin al-Husseini. He was appointed by the British as a peacemaker, but, turned out to be a vicious and double crossing anti-Semite. So, the Brits kicked him out, as he made relations worse than before.
After meeting with Hitler, Husseini traveled about Europe, stirring hate, encouraging Muslims to join the SS later, and help to round up Jews for extermination. This terrorist escaped Nuremburg, and was shielded by sympathizers in France until he died. He is revered, almost a saint, in the Muslim world, today, for what he did.
And, I was naïve enough to think that students went to college to learn and think in a logical fashion. That facts and the truth were the goal. At my school, political science students have been disciplined for passing out copies of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights! Can you imagine that?” She sighed. “At any rate, we are back at the last attempt, I think. And, the freshest beginning, too. Isn’t that why you brought us here, Grandpa?”
I nodded, “Yes, Rachael, you are correct. To pay respect to those of us who suffered and died in the ‘Final Solution,’ and to educate those here today.”
The newest Jacob, tucked his chin and said, “Too bad, that the rest of the world isn’t here with us today. But, I tell you, Poppa! I swear, on this day, that, when the devils come for me, I will fight!”
Copyright2015 Nick Kalvin
FADED PHOTO Nick Kalvin MD
Each day, I blow a kiss, to your photo
Above my dresser, then go on my way.
That old picture, so long up on the wall
Last few years, that the colors fade away
Happy people, birds, waves, beach, golden sun,
All seem to dim as I reach eighty years.
You two, first son Tom, me in uniform.
If I look too long, my eyes blur with tears.
Wish we could go back, lovely Mom, dear Dad,
Instead, I move forward, use up each day...
So, please tell me, just how is it, where
Loved ones stay and never fade away?
Copyright 2015 Nick Kalvin
This is a collection of some of our members short stores and poetry. Stop back often as the entries will change from time to time.
Views are the explicit opinion of each author and not that of Marco Island Writers. Caution: Some content is graphic in nature.
With Pen In Hand
With pen in hand we scratch a page
with etchings from our hearts.
These markings form the letters
of the words to which they’re parts.
And the words, in turn, become the means
by which we bare our souls
and speak our minds in lines of rhyme …
we poets and our poems.
Of course, words alone cannot express
the wonders life presents
to each and every one of us
from birth until our death.
And, despite our “crafty penmanship”
and clever use of words,
the truths we write and read and speak
have yet to find a cure
for the illnesses and madnesses
which plague the human race.
And so, we poets must keep writing,
ever writing, just in case
some one of us, come someday,
pens the world’s most perfect poem
which maintains its rhyme and rhythm
in every language ever known.
It will likely be a simple piece
that’s easy to recite
which our kids will learn and
share for fun with giggles of delight.
And it will touch our “better spirits”
as if God had pushed the pen
to help this world of foes transition to
a globe of peaceful friends.
Copyright©2016 Richard Carr
Moonset On Sunset Beach
As the moon sets on Sunset at six-thirty a.m.
a new day is beginning to dawn.
The ocean is calm while mere traces of waves
wash ashore causing barely a sound.
The birds are hunting their prey in the usual way.
The only thing out of place here is me.
And, as I watch the moon sink upon the western horizon,
the first rays from the sun to the east kiss the beach.
Soon the masses will arrive with their
bundles of civilization to spread on the sand.
There’ll be young boys and girls and grown women and men.
here to play, or to just work on their tans.
Then, come the end of this day, they’ll pack up
their belongings and go home … but their footprints will remain.
But now … it's moonset on Sunset ... all is peaceful and calm.
Such sweet moments in life keep me sane.
Copyright ©2014 Richard Carr
Marco Island Writers