ISAAC

2019-09-24

ISAAC

Did they not let you in? And they did not want to talk with you?
I am not surprised. With that kind of story!
No! No way. There was no conviction because of the collaboration with the Germans!
How do I know? My father and mother told me.
My father just got it told because he was a newcomer.
He was a professional sergeant before the war. When, after the war, they began to go after the prewar officers, he, just to be on the safe side, joined that new regime's police force.
It lasted not that long. My father was sent to the police station nearby, and there he learned to know my mother.
Grandfather was not happy with it. But when they married, my father left the police service and began working on the farm.
That is why we were surprised when some people from the combatant association came and told my father that he is entitled to a veteran's pension. But when one gets it, one takes it. Isn't it so?
My mother was the only child. When my grandfather died, they took over the farm.
And I took it after them.
Mother knew about that story much more because it had happened almost in her eyes.
There were not many Jews in our village.
When the Germans came, they took them all away.
This Isaac came somehow back two years later. Alone.
He has never talked about his family, and nobody knows what happened to them.
They were probably killed by the Germans.
Isaac was a shoemaker and a prosperous one. His clientele was a large one.
He employed one farmhand, and sometimes there was work for two people.
Before the Germans had taken him away, he gave his farm with all inventories for safekeeping to the Krask family. It was quite an improvement for them because there were plenty of them, and their mark was not that big.
When Isaac returned, they had to give him everything back. But it was a problem with the inventory. His two horses were sold. That young bull and one ox reportedly have not survived the wintertime.
They gave back only two cows and said the rest they retain as payment for safekeeping!
If Isaac was not afraid? Good Lord!
We were all compatriots. He did not bother us.
Everyone knew about him. Even the local policeman, who got some pocket money, looked another way.
Luckily, the Germans did not come here because it was a wilderness.
There were some partisans in the forest. They often visited Isaac, and he repaired their shoes. He was doing some new shoes for the partisans' commander, who was a cavalry officer.
When the Krask family did not want to give the rest of the inventory back, has Isaac given up at first. But when the partisans made him a guerrilla shoemaker, he changed his mind.
And he said that he would claim to the partisans about it.
My mother told me that she heard that entire quarrel because it was terribly loud.
Then it was a thump and a scream, and everything became silent again.
Isaac was not seen after that.
At first, it looked like he ran away to the partisans because Krask's older son threatened to kill him. But when the partisans came to Isaac's hut with their shoes, everybody in the village knew what was happened.
The partisans got it also to know. When their commander found that his riding shoes lay unfinished in Isaac's hut, he became so angry that he gave the order, and Krask's older son was shot dead. As a lesson for the others.
They took all of Isaac's property back again, but there was mourning in their family.
That's right. When the communistic regime ended, some of Isaac's relatives came here. But the Krasks did not want to show him where Isaac was buried.
So fierce they still were. The younger brother always blamed the partisans.
That they killed a man because of a stupid Jew.
But they have not killed him because of a Jew, but because of the shoemaker!
Because who had to repair all these shoes after that?

Alex Wieseltier
May 2019

Alex Wieseltier - Uredte tanker
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