A SCENE OF DIALOGUE FROM WAR-TORN WARSAW
18th April 1943; The Jewish Ghetto, Warsaw, Poland
Jakub, Benjamin and Stefan sit around a table, cramped in the small room, with no lighting.
‘What do we do, let them take us? Then we are as good as dead already.’
‘If we resist they will kill us where we stand. At least we live to fight another day if we go.’
‘Live to fight? We have heard the story of the camps. There is no fighting there. They are exterminating us.’
‘Then what can we do, either way we are dead.’
‘But if we resist, if we fight back, rise up, defy them, then perhaps the world will take notice. They will come to our aid.’
‘The world has been fighting for as long as they have occupied our country. No one is coming to save us.’
‘All the more reason why we should try to do something ourselves.’
‘When they come tomorrow to take us, we refuse to surrender.’
‘They will burn the ghetto to the ground.’
‘Let them. Better to die here defending our home than in some godforsaken camp, starved and weak.’
‘It is settled then.’
The three men nod. Each looks fully aware of what they are embarking on.
‘Will everyone do the same?’
‘So I have heard it said. Some may try to flee, but go where? The ghetto will rise up.’
‘Will the Home Army help us? The resistance?’
‘They will do what they can, no doubt.’
A pause. Jakub shakes his head.
‘So many gone already. If we all die, who will be left to tell our story?’
‘One day the world will know what happened to us. That is why we must fight. We must show that we did not meekly surrender to the hatred they hold for us.’
‘Dear God, why us? Why this?’
‘It is our lot in the world. The challenge we have been sent to endure through the ages.’
‘Perhaps after this war is over, if there are any of us left, it may not happen again.’
A resigned shrug from Benjamin: ‘Where there is religion there will always be those to exploit it for their own ends.’
A defiant fist from Stefan: ‘We will survive. Perhaps not you and I, but we must have faith. No single dictator can destroy a people.’
A noise outside, the sharp crack of gunfire.
The three men stand and shake hands, placing hats on heads and putting on jackets.
Wordlessly they depart for their homes, to spend their final nights with their families.
Written as part of The A to Z Challenge 2018. Click HERE for more details of the challenge.
Each day in April we will visit a different town or city in the European Union, whose name will begin with the letter of the day – today it’s Warsaw in Poland – for a story based on a theme also corresponding to the same letter.
Over the course of the month and 26 stories, we will visit all 28 member countries to complete a farewell tour before Britain leaves the political union next year, touching on the history, politics, culture and people at the heart of Europe.
For a full list of stories and places visited, visit here: THE A TO Z CHALLENGE 2018.
More on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: Wikipedia.