“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ann Levy,The Final Story

Little hut black tar paper no lights. They moved in.
And the owner of the lumber yard suspected they were Jewish but looked the other way.
He definitely did. As they had false papers. Her parents never changed their name. The last name was Skoreki. Which was a very Polish name. Yet the name was known in lumber business. Her father's family was known for lumber, and somebody evidently questioned him. Why do you have this man Skoreki? He did. He looked the other way. Not till after the war did her father know that this man knew.
Unexplainable. Makes you think why us? Why not somebody else? You just can't explain some of these things.

Her parents saved her but in a sense she and Lila saved them, because they gave them a reason to continue struggling. But they had a reason through all this horrible things time they went. All the decisions. They were just one step ahead of them getting caught. It's true. They had an incentive. They had a reason to go on. Not give up.

So finally the war comes to an end. The Soviet Army arrives. The Germans flee to the west. And her mother goes to register after the war. Well, she went back to Lodz to see. First of all to register but when registered people would come in and see who survived, put your name on list and people everyday come by and check the list. When she went to register, she said, I had a husband and two children. They looked at her like she was mad. The Germans killed million half children. There were no children.

Her sister and her were an oddity. She actually had to bring them to office and prove that we were her children. Can imagine what that felt like? They survived. They could be free and admit. And people didn't believe. After the war she lived a number of years in a German village, ironically, and then in 1949 she came to New Orleans. In Poland she had been persecuted because of religion, and in New Orleans she could ride in the front of the bus because of her white skin.

She never thought of herself as a superior class and yet here she was, they called themselves New Americans. She worked at this time and was riding buses back and forth and the little plaque that said colored only, people would get on the bus much older and she was brought up to give elders your seat. You're the young one. Someone older comes in, and you're supposed to be polite. She couldn't do it. It was impossibly hard. She could sit anywhere. But as long as that sign was there, no matter how many empty seats were behind her, the blacks could not sit there.

Question, You had developed a sensitivity to people that those born here perhaps did not have. I wonder, coming from a world that was destroyed, what message you have for people here in this world which often seems to be on the verge racial destruction?
AL It really hurts, and my only contribution is, knowing what it feels like to be persecuted for being Jewish, the same thing goes for black, to teach the younger people, to teach in schools, what tolerance is all about. You have to embrace, and be willing to listen to the other side. I mean, we're all the same. And it's a matter of teaching the younger people to be tolerant. Just because you believe in a different God, just because your skin is black or white, if we could ever, ever come to the point that we would judge a person who they are, rather than look, or what God they believe in.
- END -

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is an amazing story!


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