This was another beautiful Holocaust story. I like the relationships between each of the characters: the stepmother giving the children German names to ensure their survival, Magda taking them in, Nelka’s care and Telek’s protection, the father’s love for his children, the stepmother’s ultimate sacrifice to protect her stepdaughter, Hansel’s need to act like a big brother to his older sister. All these things gave meaning to the story. I really liked the ending. Having found bread crumbs on the ground, Hansel thought back to when Magda had told him he was a fool for throwing away his bread,as he had just thrown his luck away. Although at that time, he had left breadcrumbs on the forest floor to make sure they could go back home again; but when he realized what he had done, he was mortified. Bread was not something you threw away! So at the end of the book, when Hansel found bread crumbs all over the soup kitchen, he followed it picking up each and every bit as he was determined that he would gather all the luck he had thrown away. The crumbs led him to his father who was helping out in the kitchen. So ultimately, Hansel had followed the breadcrumbs back home. 🙂
“There is much to love, and that love is what we are left with. When the bombs stop dropping, and the camps fall back to the earth and decay, and we are done killing each other, that is what we must hold. We can never let the world take our memories of love away, and if there are no memories, we must invent love all over again.”
― Louise Murphy,
Bullets flew past me as I crawled through the paddy field. I saw many fall down in front of me but I could do nothing to help but go on. I reached the bank but wasn’t sure if I should cross it. Hearing men coming my way, I slunk back into the field and waited. I stopped breathing for a minute and nine seconds in fear that they might hear me, capture me, and kill me. Nothing was left and there was no where to go. The only thing you could do was go forward and pray that you stayed alive for one more day. A group of soldiers were on the road laughing and talking in their language. Their boisterous voices were full of filth and hate. Anger boiled inside of me. I wanted to take them down right then and there, but they were too many. They heard a noise from a little ways away and followed it while I took the chance to get out of there as fast as I could.
The only way to move about was at night. It seemed as if I had been walking for miles. I was tired and my feet were cracked and dirty. My stomach growled. The road was pitch black and the moonlight wasn’t helping me any. Eventually, I lost track of the road and landed back in the paddy field when I felt a great excruciating pain on my right toe. I screamed silently for fear of the Paki cops finding me as I blindly tried to remove the thorn. Unable to, I kept on walking as my foot bled. I had no choice but to go on. I don’t know how much longer I walked but after a while, even the pain seemed to go away. After what seemed like hours, I saw something off in the distance, like a light flickering, and then it was gone. A few minutes later, I saw it again and this time I figured it wasn’t just in my head. I headed towards it and found a small house. I limped my way to a tree and wondered if I should get closer. What if the soldiers were using it as a base? But what if they weren’t? What if it was just a normal house with normal people inside? I could get help. They could tell me if they saw my family.
Taking a chance, I limped across the yard to the front door. My heart, beating more times than I could count, stopped right there as I pushed the door open and ten thousand voices shrilled, resonating through my body and into the night.
^^This is a recount of my father during the Liberation War. It was about the time he became separated from his family when Pakistani soldiers stormed his village and they were forced to leave everything and flee for their lives.