Page 40 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 22

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34
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
Everybody looked at Goliath. No, two or three customers
pretended not to have heard anything, one came up to me
and gave me his order. I could not listen to him right
away. I had to look across to Frau Zalewsky; she had put
her shopping bag down, her whole body was trembling. She
was a musician’s wife and was in an advanced state of
pregnancy. I knew a few things about her. She had had the
courage, when she was four months gone, to ask for supple­
mentary maternity rations—for a quarter litre of milk and a
few ounces of sugar and flour. The food-office had replied to
her application. “A Jew brat has to be aborted. Contact the
health office, department D.” She had kept that letter in her
bag and had shown it to me, once. I spoke to Frau Zalewski.
The woman, who was as pale as death, replied: “Don’t
worry, I ’ll be all right soon.” I turned back to the customer
who repeated his order and the Goliath started afresh.
“Swish, like birds through the air.” He seemed to want to
perform a dance. At this point his puny companion took
a step towards him, stood to attention and said in a half­
whisper “Untersturmfiihrer, you are on duty.”
The Goliath opened his eyes and raised his arm. I t seemed
incredible that anybody should dare tell him anything. He
shouted: “Rubbish. Bloody stupid rubbish. I think i t ’s posi­
tively bighearted of me to let these people know when
they’ll be going up the chimney. You don’t believe me,
Beck? Sarah here with the fat tummy—isn’t that so, Sarah?
—is altogether grateful to me for telling her she doesn’t have
to worry about baby-nappies anymore, those sweet little
shitty nappies. . . .”
The unborn Jewish child inside the womb of the mother
about to die—this most harrowing symbol of man’s inhumanity
to man—also occurs in Rolf Hochhuth’s
Der Stellvertreter
(The
Representative). The published version contains the interior
monologues of three Auschwitz-bound detainees, of whom one
has been rounded up, heavy with child, almost within sight of
the Pope’s Vatican apartment.
t h e
w o m a n
.
How happy we were with our daily life and
being no one’s enemy; we loved the narrow kitchen balcony,
and sought the sun in the piazza besides the grapesellers,
and the cool in the park. And on Sunday, relaxing at the
cinema.
And now . . . never a family, never the three of us. Never
to eat, to talk at our own table, no room to protect u s . . .
nor paths that are safe and dreams and daily milk and light