A story dealing with a ten year old Brooklyn boy's first direct contact with the Holocaust

            January 2014    
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The Countess

By Michael Boloker

I did not answer, but pulled from her grasp and dashed the rest of the way down the stairs and ran outside. I felt guilty. I stayed away the rest of the afternoon. I knew I had to return home but was ashamed at my having yelled at the old woman in our bedroom. Why did I feel this way? Just before sundown, I saw my grandfather and he waved for me to join him as he walked along the avenue. He put his strong hand on my shoulder and squeezed. "You are all right, Meyer?"

I nodded.

"You saw the lady?"

I nodded again. We walked toward home. I felt safe, my grandpa there now, protective. "She called me Duvid. Why, Grandpa?"

He stopped and knelt down so that our eyes were level. "The lady lost everyone, Meyer. Everyone dead. I think she had a grandson your age named David. I think she thinks of him always. She is hurting, the old lady. You should understand this, Meyer. It's like you miss your father, but he will come home soon, God willing. Her grandson will not. Do you understand, my boy?"

I tried but still felt that this old lady's presence had brought something into our home, something heavy and dark.

My grandfather hugged me in his strong arms. He pulled me back, stared at me and sighed, tired, it seemed. There was a sadness in his eyes, a shadow over his countenance.

She stayed only another week and I didn't see her again. I heard whispers that she was going to Canada to stay with a cousin, one of the few survivors of the Von Krebs family. When I came home from school the next Wednesday, she was gone and the life we had before returned to what we called normal. For my mother, my grandparents and me, life was going to be hard for a while more. Things would never be the same.


from the January 2014 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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