Vol. 10


Faith in the Darkness

c. 1943; central Poland

“Get to work!” shrieked one of the horrible Nazis. Hurrying and hurrying, a few people were running.

“What’s all this hurry?” thought Yossel, my great-grandfather.

He was in a concentration camp. If you did something wrong, they could shoot you on the spot. He was hired to be a translator for the Germans. This was not a safe job.

One day a Jew came over to him and said, “Passover* is coming, and we have to bake matzahs.”**

So Yossel went up to the head of the Nazis and said, “My people and I want to make a special food for Passover.”

“Okay,” responded the horrible Nazi. “Take all the ingredients you want, but you may only use one of the ovens.”

Yossel agreed in a happy and excited voice. He took flour and water, and made matzahs. The ovens were so hot that the matzahs baked in just a few short minutes. The Jews didn’t have any wine, but when Pesach*** night came, they had matzahs.

The men ate the few matzahs with gusto. While they were eating, the Nazi stormed into the room looking angry, and screamed, “What are you Jews doing?!”

Yossel, the translator in the group, explained, “We are eating our special food. I told you it is Passover, and we cannot eat leavened bread. We are eating matzahs. You told us we could eat.”

The Nazi said, “You said you wanted bread. This isn’t bread. You will starve!! Eat the bread!”

Nobody moved to go near the bread.

The Nazi started getting angrier. He turned to an older Jew in the group, Herr Goldshtoff. “Goldshtoff!” he yelled. “You’re smarter and older than them! Tell them to eat the bread! Who knows when the next time will be that you will have food!”

The Nazi saw that no one was going to eat the bread. He began turning red in the face and sputtering, “You . . . you . . . you . . . look at you!! Your G-d**** left you! And you are going to be destroyed!! Goldshtoff!! Answer me! Hasn’t your G-d forsaken you?? Hasn’t He left you?? Hasn’t He?!??”

The room was quiet. No one said a word. All of a sudden, Mr. Goldshtoff looked the Nazi in the eye and answered, “No. He has not forsaken us. Nisht totalla un nisht uf aiybick.***** Not totally and not forever.”

The Nazi looked around the room in disbelief. Too taken aback to answer, he turned on his heel and walked out of the barracks.

This is the legacy that my great-grandfather left me: G-d will never forsake us.

Not totally, and not forever.

Chava Deutscher; New York, USA


* Passover is a Jewish festival celebrating the Jews’ rescue from slavery in ancient Egypt.

** Matzah (MAHT zuh) is a thin, crisp, unleavened bread, traditionally eaten during Passover instead of leavened bread.

*** Pesach (PAY sahkh) is the Jewish word for Passover.

**** This incomplete spelling is a show of respect.

***** This phrase is in Yiddish, provided here in Roman alphabet letters.


This copyrighted story may be copied for limited classroom use or reprinted in an article about The Grannie Annie.


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