You're welcome, sir. With such heat, one gets a bit thirsty.

That's right, the old farm.... you guessed it ......after the Jews

The entrance? Yes, it's in bad shape. No money for repairs.

My father took down the Jewish mezuzah.
Somehow Grandpa hadn't the heart to do it.

And right again...this poor old farm has seen better' worse too.

Sure, I don't remember anything, I wasn't born until after the war.
But Grandma told me lots.

There were some Jews in the village.
They were poor enough, but one of them was very rich.... Izak.

My father used to work for them on Saturdays when he was a boy, since they were not supposed to do anything on that day.

The rest of the Jews lived mostly as we did, as neighbors, but not too close.

Our hut was next to them and we were pretty poor also.
Magieres, who lived here, sometimes hired Grandpa to help him out and Grandma also had a few odd jobs now and then.

In the beginning, when the Germans came, not much had changed.

Then, they ordered the Jews to get registered.

Some used bribes in order to stay off the list.
But people knew, so it wasn't like in the old days.

Then the order came for all of them to pack and move to the ghetto in the town.

No. Nobody harmed any Jews before they had to move out.
It started though, shortly after they got the date to move.

Grandma said that some villagers were so greedy that they began to grab everything even before the Jews left.
There was violence and screaming and a few of the Jews were beaten up.

Not all them left. They stayed put on two farms.
The Germans didn't come to take them away.
Probably because they were too few to bother about.
However, our trusty policeman with a few helpers took care of that.

When the Jews were about to go to the ghetto, some made deals with their neighbors about taking care of the huts, inventory, animals, and land.
It was then that my Grandpa and Grandma moved in.
To keep an eye on Magieres' property for a time.

In the beginning, old Magieres visited now and then from the ghetto.
One could get a one-time pass, but it was difficult and expensive.

I was told that a few times Grandpa brought food to them in the ghetto.

Others treated the occupied properties as their own from the beginning.

Rich Izak ran away with all his family.... he couldn't take all his riches with him and so people looted.

There was even a fight about who deserved the most to do it!
Then the head our policeman said enough is enough and moved into Izak's house himself.

The last time Grandpa saw the Magieres' in the ghetto, they were about to be moved somewhere. Grandpa promised to take care of their property as if it were his own.

But they disappeared without a trace. So, what were we to do?

Even after the war, my grandpa waited for someone to come and claim the property.
He was always worried about how to account for it all.

Our old hut was burned to the ground when the gendarmes found two Jews hiding there.
Thank Heaven, no one told the Germans that it was ours because they would have burned us too.

When my father took over after Grandpa, he stopped fussing about accountability.
He took the mezuzah down from the entrance door. He painted everything, declared the property ours and not to bring up the subject ever again.
Nothing more to talk about.

He sold the Jewish candlesticks at the city market and used the old Magieres' books as kindling. Their furniture was so solid that we only recently threw out the last piece.
And the bed coverings we stopped using only ten years ago.
So, you will not find a trace of them here anymore.

Back to rich Izak, though.

He made a hideout and lived there with his family.
A local man brought them food regularly.

Everything would have been be fine if not for their retarded son.
He was born that way, not right in the head but he didn't bother anyone.
Only a few knew about him because they kept him hidden inside.
But when they were in the hideout, he couldn't stand it and used to sneak out at nighttime.

Someone spotted him and told the gendarmes.
They came and searched for almost a whole day.
When they found them, they beat them to a bloody pulp.
Then they ordered the bruised and battered people to get onto a cart.

Grandma was walking nearby and saw what was happening.
She knew Izak's wife because she used to take my father to Izak's house on the Saturdays I told you about.

Izak's wife had some good shoes on her.
Grandma fancied the shoes and asked Izak's wife for them.
To which Izak's wife, that she is still alive, and she did not take the shoes off!

Grandma was angry.
Everyone knew that the woman was going to certain death.
And she didn't want to give the shoes to a neighbor?
At least they would stay with someone she knew.

And so, some stranger must have gotten the shoes finally.
Such a useless bitch, right to the bitter end!

Some more water? You are welcome! No shortage of that here! 

Alex Wieseltier - Uredte tanker
Alle rettigheder forbeholdes 2019
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