Oh! The Krasks? Did they not let you in? And did not want to talk?
No wonder. With that kind of story!

No! Not true. It had nothing to do with collaboration with the Germans.

How do I know? My father and mother told me.
My father just as hearsay because he was not from here.
He was a professional sergeant before the war.
After the war, they began to go after the prewar officers, and he, just to be on the safe side, joined that new regime's police force. He wasn't there for long.
He was sent to the police station nearby, and he met my mother.
Grandpa wasn't much for it, but when they married, father became grandpa's farm hand.
That is why we were surprised when some people from the combatant association came and told my father that he is entitled to a Veterans Pension.
But when one gets it, one takes it. Right?

My mother was the only child.
When my grandfather died, they took over the farm.
Then I took it after them.

Mother knew about it more because it had happened almost in her presence.
There were not many Jews in our village.
When the Germans came, they took them all away.
That guy, Icek, came somehow back two years later. Alone.
He never talked about his family, and nobody knew what happened to them.
The Germans likely finished them off.

Icek was a shoemaker and did well before the war. He had a large clientele
He had one farmhand and sometimes, in summer, even two
Before the Germans had taken him away, he gave his farm and all its inventory for safekeeping to the Krask family. It was an improvement for them since they were a large family, and their own land lot was not too big.

When Icek returned, they had to give him the hut back, but well... they greatly reduced the returned inventory. They sold those two horses and said that that young bull and one ox did not survive the winter. They returned only two cows and claimed the rest they would keep as payment for safekeeping!

Wasn't Icek afraid?
Good Lord! We were all good neighbors here. He did not bother us.
Everyone knew about him, even the local policeman, who got some pocket money and looked the other way.
Luckily, the Germans did not come here because it was a wilderness.

There were some partisans in the forest nearby. They often came to Icek, and he fixed their shoes. Also, he was making new riding boots to the partisans' commander, who was a cavalry officer.

When the Krask family did not want to give the rest of the inventory back, Icek gave up at first. But when the partisans made him a guerrilla shoemaker, he got a bit cocky and told the Krasks that he would set the partisans on them.
My mother heard the entire quarrel and said they were swearing at each other terribly.
Then there was a thump and a scream. Dead silence after that. No moans or groans.

Icek was not seen after that.
The rumor was that he ran away to the partisans because Krask's older son threatened to chop him up. But then, when the partisans came to Icek's hut with shoes, everybody in the village guessed what had happened.
The partisans figured it out too. When their commander found that his riding boots lay unfinished in Icek's hut, he became so angry that he gave the order, and Krask's older son was shot dead. As a lesson to others.

So even though the Krasks took all of Icek's property back again, they were in mourning.
Yes, that's right. When the communist regime ended, one of Icek's relatives came here. No way would Krasks show him where Icek was buried.
So yes, they were pigheaded for sure.
The younger brother always blamed the partisans.
That they killed a man because of a stupid Jew.

But they have not done it because of a Jew, but because of the shoemaker!
Because who was to repair all these shoes after that?

Alex Wieseltier - Uredte tanker
Alle rettigheder forbeholdes 2019
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