A Lesson For the Children – Summary of Part 1: Herman, a small child, managed to survive the Nazi labor camps. He was able to survive the worst part of the ordeal with the help of a young girl who threw him food over the fence. But now the most frightening moment of all had come. Everybody in the camp was ordered to appear the next day at ten o’ clock at a specific place in the camp. It was clear that they were to be sent to the gas chambers!
But then a miracle occurred, one that changed the plans completely. The Nazi commander of the camp, Carl Rahm, knew that the war was about to end, and in an effort to save himself he told the Red Cross about the murder that was soon to be committed in our camp, Theresienstadt. At the time, thousands of Russian soldiers were on their way to Prague, but they took a detour and went through our camp. At eight o’clock, only two hours before we were all to have been killed, there was a great commotion in the camp. The gates were opened wide. My brothers and I were free!
After the war, I tried to put my life back together. I went first to England and then to the United States. Three times I was engaged to be married but I cancelled each time. Evidently I had not yet found my true love. In the end I moved to New York where I opened an electrical repair shop.
One day in 1957 I received a phone call from my friend Sid, who had come from Hungary. He was dating a young Hungarian girl. She had a friend who was originally Polish, and since Sid knew that I was from Poland he suggested that we meet. At first I refused, since I was very busy at work and I was not interested in a blind date. But Sid insisted that I at least meet her.
I met the girl. Her name was Roma, and she worked in a hospital in the Bronx as a nurse. I took her out to dinner, and we had a very pleasant time. She was very pretty, kind, and smart. We started to talk about our experiences during the war. I told her that I was in a concentration camp. “And where were you?” I asked. “I hid with my parents in Germany,” she said. “There was a camp next to the farm. I saw a boy there and I would throw him apples.”
“Did he tell you one day not to come back because he was leaving for another camp?”
There was silence for a moment. “Roma, I was that child!” I proposed to her on the spot. “You’re crazy,” she said. “No, now that I have found you I’m not letting you go,” I told her.
There could be no doubt that Divine fate had put us back together. We could not give up this chance. A few days later, she invited me to her home for Shabbat dinner, and we were married a few months later.
My mother had a great influence on my life one more time, in 1999. In all the years after the war I never spoke about what had happened to me. All I wanted was to forget it all. But then I had a heart bypass operation, and my mother once again came to me in a dream. “You have a story to tell, your grandchildren should know about their grandfather.” As a result, I wrote a book called “The Fence,” which will be made into a movie. It will be filmed in Hungary, where the events took place.
Last year, Roma and I celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary. I shared my life with the girl who threw apples to me over the fence. Roma really is an angel, and I do not intend to lose her.
Source: Herman Rosenblat. Adapted from aish.co.il. Email email@example.com with reactions and suggestions for stories. Reprinted with permission from Zomet Institute (www.zomet.org.il). Translated from the Hebrew by Moshe Goldberg. To subscribe to receive the complete version of Shabbat B’Shabbato please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.
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