No Sir! A beer is a beer.
For me, they're all the same.
My father was fussier. Only Okocim-beer or Żywieckie-beer.
But those were the good old days.
Nowadays, no one can taste the difference.
I drink whatever comes along.
Yes, sir, I am always a bit dry in my throat in the mornings.

That thing on my hand? That's an old story. From jail.
I was young and stupid. And so, I served time. But it was under the commies.
My father said it's in me after grandpa. That feature skipped him.
My father was a good man. Way too decent. Unlike myself.

I remember him well because he liked to tell me stories from the time before and during the war.
He was still a kid when he joined a gang.
He was so agile that there was no one better to crawl over cornices and open windows.
As a test to gain admission to the gang, he climbed a gutter pipe to the third floor and made an apartment accessible!

Those were honorable fellows, and they had a code.
They never troubled poor people, only the rich.
It made no difference whether it was a Polish or Jewish apartment.

No, only these wealthy Jews who lived among the Poles.
Places with too many Jews were difficult to rob because even a little Polish rascal looked different from a Jew.
However, if in the Polish quarter, such a heist was a piece of cake.

They also mugged rich ones on the streets in the evening, particularly those who appeared stuffed with hard cash.
They had some kiddos placed in front of the restaurants.
Whenever some drunken gentleman dragged himself into the night, the gang was informed at the latest within fifteen minutes. He was then relieved of his worldly goods.

But no wet jobs because human life was sacred.

It changed during the German occupation because the working conditions were changed.
The Jewish flats they had an eye on were already looted before the gang got there, and when the Poles took over those apartments, there was nothing to steal anymore.

So, they got into a partnership with a cop.
And traced the Kikes who were coming out of the ghetto.
Not too close to the ghetto, but in the places where they did their business.

That cop was smart. And a good comrade too.
It started when he caught one of the gang members.
Lefty, the head of the gang, was nearby at that moment.
Lefty had a look and could talk, so he came to an understanding with the cop.

If the Jews were trying to enterprise outside the ghetto, the gang had to have a share in it.
So, when they spotted a Jew, they followed him until he got the goods and robbed him.
If he looked strong or very wealthy, they set our cop on him.
Then the Jew had to buy himself out.
If he didn't have enough cash, he had to write a note to his family in the ghetto.
The kiddos then sneaked into the ghetto to deliver the ransom note.
A time and place for the money delivery and release of the Kike were arranged.

It always ended well because the guys were moderate and trustworthy.
If they promised to let the Jew go, they always did so.
And the Kikes could still do business at the cost of an extra fee.
Some even praised the arrangement because they could hire the kiddos to protect them against other mischiefs.

No, the gang did not collaborate with the Germans or other cops.
Our policeman explained to Lefty that it would not be good for business.
If you deliver a Jew to Germans, it means the end of the business.
You let him go - you can milk him a few more times.

And no wet job.
Because if the news spread about wet jobs, the Jews would take their business elsewhere.

It worked well enough, although there were several Jews who tried to resist.
This is when our cop would intervene to calm them down.
Several times he had to smack up a resister.

Everything went well until there was one dumb bastard who did not understand anything.
My grandfather was with Lefty when it happened.
The kiddos had spotted a well-dressed Jew.
He was dumbfounded when Lefty stopped him.
Lefty kindly asked him what he was carrying, and the Jew grunted that it was none of his business.
So, he got a couple of knocks.
But he was stubborn and said he would report them to the police!
You want the police, you bastard?! Fine!
So, they called in their policeman.
When he came, he checked the Jew's papers and ordered him to drop his pants.
Circumcised! There we've got you!
But still all polite. The Jew could go free if he paid up.
But the Jew said he had nothing!
So maybe a home address to send the kiddo to contact the family?
No! No address!
Then suddenly, he smacked Lefty, who fell like a cut tree.
The policeman reached for a gun, but the Jew knocked him on the head and took off!

Fortunately, my grandpa was there.
He pulled the policeman's gun and fired at the bastard.
It was the first shot of his life, but he hit the guy, even though it was more than five meters distance!

Lefty and the policeman got up and approached the downed man.
He was still alive, but his guts were visible

So, what were they to do?
They couldn't deliver him to the Germans because he would start singing about what had happened.
Let him go? He might survive and get someone to take revenge.
Really no choice but to finish him off.
And so they did.

And you know what?
When they searched the body, they found ten gold coins!
Grandpa always got angry when he talked about it:
"Imagine that jackass!
He risked his life for those stupid gold pieces!
And he made murderers of us.
What a scoundrel!"

What? Are you leaving now?
Then goodbye! I will stay a while longer.

And thanks for the beer!

Alex Wieseltier - Uredte tanker
Alle rettigheder forbeholdes 2019
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