Merry Christmas and welcome back to day 9 of the 12DOC blog party! (Click here for more Christmas fun!)
Last time, Lars, a German soldier, asked for Rudi, their translator, to ask Adler, an American GI if he was Jewish. Let’s see what happens next!
Part Six: He's Jewish!
Silence hung in the air as Rudi licked his lips and glanced to the side. “He wants to know if you are Jewish, Pvt. Adler.”
Adler refused to answer, shoveling another bite of food into his mouth. When he swallowed, he said, “We’re having a fairly good evening. Let’s keep it that way, shall we?”
Rudi looked down. “Silence is as good as answering.”
Adler narrowed his eyes. “We made an agreement.”
Sarge watched as Lars continued to stare at Adler. “Even if he is Jewish, that doesn’t change the fact that he is a human being with a soul.”
“You don’t have to start that too,” Adler mumbled.
Lars glanced at Rudi. “If he is Jewish, then he might-”
“What does it matter?” Adler spat in German. Everyone stared at him in surprise. But they didn’t have long to recover. “Are you intimidated by Jewish people? Do we scare you? Are you afraid I’m gonna kill you all in your sleep for the awful things you’ve done to my family and my people? Maybe that’s why you’re killing us! Because you’re scared of us! Because we happen to be God’s chosen people and the perfect Aryans weren’t!”
Adler stood and left the table, facing the fireplace.
Lars’ mouth fell open as Adler ended his rant. “I…I didn’t…you…how…” he couldn’t get his words out.
“You are from Germany?” Rudi asked.
“As if that isn’t obvious now?” Lars said, finding his voice. “Adler, I wasn’t going to-”
The scraping of a chair interrupted him again. Hilde slowly walked around the table and stood next to Adler. She took his hand and looked up at him. “It’s okay that you’re Jewish. We love you anyway.”
Silence reigned. Adler looked down at Hilde. She smiled at him, then wrapped her arms around him in a hug. Adler reached down and lifted her into his arms. He hugged her, burying his face in her raven braids. Hilde grinned at her mother and patted Adler’s back, resting her head against his shoulder.
With a deep breath, Adler set Hilde down. She returned to her seat and bit into a piece of the mystery meat Sarge had brought. Rudi tried to catch Sarge up on what all had been said, trying to make sense of it all himself. He then stood and left the table to check on Joey.
Marta stood and said, “I don’t know the feelings of everyone in this room, but I for one am in agreement with Hilde. Any who feel differently may consider themselves no longer under our previous agreement.”
“I don’t get it. What’s wrong with him being Jewish?” Stefan asked Lars.
“Nothing,” Lars replied. He glanced over at Rudi. “We’ve protected him pretty well, I’d say.”
Harold looked down at his half eaten food. “I wish I was.”
Stefan frowned. “I’m the same age as Harold. I have a right to know what’s going on, even if I’m only a private.”
“Back to what I was going to say earlier,” Lars cut in. Stefan narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms. “Adler, I was just curious to know if you knew the Cohen family. They were neighbors of mine before the war broke out. They escaped the ghettos and we don’t know where they went. We were kinda hoping they made it out.”
“Sorry, can’t help you. Do you know how many Cohen families there are in New York? And how many migrated over to escape your maniac leader?”
“I won’t even try to guess.”
Marta cleared her throat. “Why don’t we finish our supper and choose a new topic to discuss?”
The others nodded and returned to the table. Again, all was silent except an occasional grunt from Joey.
Stefan and Harold placed their dishes in the sink and headed for the door.
“Where are they going?” Sarge asked.
Rudi smiled. “To star gaze. It’s sort of a routine for us now. It’s a way to stay sane in all the madness.”
That could have gotten very ugly! Tomorrow, we will take a short break from the story to enjoy the sounds of the season! Then the next day, we will return for the next to last part of Stille Nacht!
Merry Christmas (three days, y’all!)
Christian. American. Southern. Author.