THE LOVE CHILD

2019-05-16

THE LOVE CHILD

What do you say? Joshua Liebeskind?
No way! He is not any Joshua at all! He has gone cuckoo for sure.
His name is just Janek. Not any Liebeskind, but Klis. That's how he was born.
All his Jewishness is just a hole in the head!
He was not here for a long time. He lived almost all his life in the city.
Aniela took him there when she left the village. She brought him up there alone like a mother.
Probably he wondered why in the papers stayed not Aniela but Genowefa, which was his grandmother's name.
Wonder if he did not even find this out when he had to sign the papers after the old Klis passed away. Probably Aniela told him a lie again.
He came here after her death. To look after that Liebeskind.
Because Aniela confessed before she died, that the papers were wrong.
That his father was one Liebeskind. They kept him hidden on their farm during the German occupation, and when that Liebeskind was killed, to avoid any gossip, they put into the book that it was Aniela's mother who gave birth to Janek.
When Janek came here, everyone looked at him as if he was crazy.
The grandparents were dead, and nobody wanted to tell him anything.
When he said that he had converted to Judaism, many people did not even want to talk with him.
Nobody would tell him anything because he would probably go crazy from that entire story.
Well, maybe not, because he in advance was not quite normal.
You know. We knew that Liebeskind before the war.
He was a teacher at the elementary school here.
He came here just a year before the war.
Supposedly, right after passing the exam and this was his first job.
So young and handsome. There were plenty of women, who had a good eye for him.
He was also in the ghetto when the Germans ordered all Jews to live there, but he managed to escape when they began to empty the ghetto of people.
He came to us into the village. The Klis family knew him because the Klis woman sometimes cleaned up at his station. So he stayed with them.
Everybody in the village knew it, but all held their mouths shut.
Who denounced him? Nobody did! The old Klis chopped him down!
How did it happen?
As this Liebeskind was hiding with them, Aniela insisted that he would teach her better reading and writing. The old Klis immediately reared up. She finished her four classes' education, so what does she need more?
But Aniela pleaded with her mother, and together they turned him over.
Everything was fine for a while. Aniela was so happy that one could hear her joyful songs all over the village.
Until the old Klis saw what had begun to grow from all that teaching! What a shame!
That Liebeskind fled crying from Klis. He tried to explain that they loved each other and that he wanted to marry Aniela, but old Klis did not listen to him and stabbed him almost in front of the villager's eyes.
No. The case never came to court. Everyone in the village knew why it had happened. And no one mentioned it. Only Aniela was very unhappy and cried a lot.
Because she had an eye on him since he was a teacher here.
She said he did not want it at first because he was afraid of what could happen, but their love weakened all his resistance.
She even wanted to kill herself, so they had to keep her locked in an outhouse for a month. Then they arranged that the child would pretend to be her mother's child, so it would look better for the others.
Aniela newer wanted another man, and she left for the city immediately after the war. Together with Janek. As if it will be easier for the old Klis' to live without the burden of a little child. And it stayed in that manner for good.
She and Janek did not visit the village very often. Janek was newer close to the grandparents, and he always came askew with the old Klis.
Like he felt something was not right.
So why tell him all this? Just to make him even more confused?
So better let it be as it is...

Alex Wieseltier
May 2019

Alex Wieseltier - Uredte tanker
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