W IS FOR WARSAW, POLAND

W

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.

69 responses to “W IS FOR WARSAW, POLAND”

  1. inspiring three men. love their faith, their determination to fight back, how beautifully you have end with a positive touch although they are not sure of their return. excellent post. W is We Shall Overcome. syncwithdeep.wordpress.com/2018/04/26/w-we-shall-overcome-blogchattera2z-atozchallenge-atoz/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and such a nice comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Iain, Have you read the book Mila 18 by Leon Uris? It is indeed a really heroic fight the hunted jews of Warsaw ghetto put up against the rampaging Nazis. If you haven’t read Mila 18 get a copy and read it. Though in later years the book was discredited a bit it really portrays a really moving picture of the struggle the jews of the ghetto put up against the Nazis.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the recommendation Jai, I will look out for it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You took me right into the scene with your brilliant storytelling. I admire their resolve to stand bold and fight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That must have been a very tough night for them and their dear ones, I can imagine the feeling knowing you are perhaps never going to see them again. Loved how you brought out the subject of war from a different perspective Ian

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was reminded of the pianist. Very hauntingly written, Iain

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I especially loved the line no single dictator can destroy a people. Very powerful. Kudos.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. A wonderful, powerful film.

      Like

  6. Wow! So good, felt like I was a fly on the wall listening to the men. Tore my heart but love the attitude of the men. They were determined to not let evil have the final say!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Joy, so pleased you liked it

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome, my pleasure to read your stories!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautifully written Ian. Really liked the ending.

    Waiting at Bikaner House, Delhi

    Liked by 1 person

  8. beautiful storytelling. War leaves wounds, which time heals but the scar remains to haunt us forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ‘Where there is religion there will always be those to exploit it for their own ends.’. How true is that? Brilliant dialogue Iain.

    A-Z of My Friend Rosey!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Brilliant ! Loved that line .. where there will be religion ..

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great story, reminded me of Mila18 by Leon Uris. Your A2Z journey is close to an end. Good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Absolutely heartbreaking. They couldn’t win, either way. And you know what’s worse? I just recently heard that American students don’t even know what “Holocaust” means. So there’s not even learning from history going on 😦

    Thanks for another great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope that’s not true and the are being taught about this history… Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  13. I have literally just walked out of Churchill’s War rooms to read this – sent a chill down my spine. We’re on the homeward straight will be interested to see your next 3 letters!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perfect timing for this story!

      Like

  14. “Where there is religion….” this line reminded me of a quote by Voltaire (I remember it because it was a topic of debate in college once):”If God did not exist, we would have to invent him.”
    This dialogue illustrates the capacity humans have to be cruel on account of greed so beautifully.
    Don’t you feel when you read (in your case write) pieces like above that we are letting all those who died in wars in all of history down?
    W is for Wells

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I think we are without a shadow of a doubt. To think what so many sacrificed, and we seem unable to learn from them.

      Like

  15. You’ve not dodged the hard story have you Iain? Like others, I recall reading Mila18 as a youngster – very powerful. Your story tells an important tale and is full of beautifully crafted lines.

    A-Zing this year at:
    FictionCanBeFun
    Normally found at:
    DebsDespatches

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Debs, I will have to look out for this Mila18, I wasn’t familiar with it until today.

      Like

  16. Well done – again, Iain. “Where there is religion there will always be those to exploit it for their own ends.”
    And so it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Afraid so, on and on. Thanks Martha.

      Like

  17. Not to go out without a fight can seem the last desperate stand when all else fails. The horror of the Nazi extermination of the Jews cannot be done away with and you have put that into this story so well Iain.

    W is for Wildings #atozchallenge

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the kind comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. A spine-chilling story and very well written. We need to be reminded of the horrors of the past so as not to forget the suffering of those who have gone before us.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Great dialogue. I always found it an encouraging statistic that more of those who took part in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising survived than those who didn’t. A solid argument for resistance to tyranny. Resist and live.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Luke, an important point you make.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. It seems so never ending at times doesn’t it? Very nicely done. I was “there” and got chills.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Poignant again Iain. Terrible tragedy and one that should never be forgotten… except over the ages how many times has that statement been made and left to decay in time?

    Always the words too…”Why us?” Echoed in Zulu… “Because we’re here boy. Ain’t no-one else but us.”

    Fabulous job again!

    Like

  22. Well done. The ending is stirring.

    Like

  23. Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) was just two weeks ago, and this would be a fine memorial for that occasion.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Really nice. I like your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, so glad you like them.

      Like

  25. Such powerful writing, Iain. Sadly, people really went through this, and in some places, still are …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Denise. A terrible time, and one that should have never been repeated.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Vivid story. It’s so important that we never forget this horrible time in history. Weekends In Maine

    Liked by 1 person

  27. It’s amazing really how most countries in Europe have been shaped by a war, that too in living memory. It’s a blessed continent, but cursed too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is something I have noticed about every place I have visited this month, everywhere was scarred by the wars.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Wow, heartbreaking. There were no good choices. Thanks for sharing!

    https://katseaholm.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/w-is-for-worldbuilding/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, no way out at all, such a terrible position to be in.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Now that the final survivors of the Holocaust are aging and dying, those who deny this every happened are more and more believed. We must never forget. We must never forget. What would we have done if we were in the shoes of those who lived through those times? Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Alana, it is so important that this history is preserved. It saddens me that there are those who wish to deny it and still harbour this hatred.

      Like

  30. Heartbreaking and horrific to think how many people were in their shoes. Thank you for putting into words conversations about decisions I cannot fathom.

    Emily In Ecuador

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Emily, very kind comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. So moving, their determination to make a stand. ‘Perhaps after this war is over, if there are any of us left, it may not happen again.’ has added poignancy knowing how Jews have continued to be persecuted since the end of WW2. Posting straight after your Vienna story provides a timely reminder of what might be. And there’s all that’s currently going on in the UK Labour party.
    A wonderful story of brave men that has so many links to our present.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It saddens me that there are still those who harbour this sort of hatred, and to what end? For what reason? It achieves nothing. Fortunately, I still have faith that there are enough people around who will stop anything on this scale of genocide happening ever again.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. A very sad time in our history. Nicely written.

    Liked by 1 person

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