The Greatest of Evils

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Screen shot 2015-01-20 at 9.29.23 AMChris Hedges wrote, at Truth Dig, the tale of Lola Mozes.  It is heart-wrenching.  It is the tale of the ultimate of evils, and how men and women can be sucked into something horrific, and lose their very souls.  We are in grave danger of forgetting just who the enemy was, during those dark years of World War II.  We are increasingly more interested in rubbing elbows with their European ‘heirs’ because of political expediency, especially in the Ukraine, than we are doing what is right, and standing up to them.  The we must never forget is quickly becoming, a so-what, just for politics.

“…Lola Mozes’ childhood came to an end in the fall of 1939 at a small bridge in Poland. She was 9—seated in a horse-drawn wagon, her back propped against her family’s silver Sabbath candelabra, which was wrapped in a blanket—when she saw the aftermath of a German bomb attack. The sight of human bodies, along with eviscerated horses gasping in pain and struggling to rise despite their gaping wounds, reduced her to tears and panic. Her mother, Helena Rewitz, born Schwimer, who would hover over her daughter like a guardian angel later in a Jewish ghetto and the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, took the terrified child into her arms.

I sat with Lola Mozes at her dining room table in Brooklyn on Friday. Short and petite, with curly black hair and white gold hoop earrings, she had a soft, infectious laugh, an impish sense of humor and fine facial lines that she inherited from her father and mother. Her charm and warmth were girlish and slightly coquettish.

“I am the great pretender,” she said, smiling. “It is always there, what I went through. I am tormented by it. It keeps repeating and repeating itself in my head.”

Lola grew up living next to her family’s small grocery in Katowice, a city in southwestern Poland. The language at home was German. She learned Polish in school. Her parents, especially when they wanted to talk privately, spoke Yiddish. Her parents and older brother celebrated the Sabbath and went to synagogue on religious holidays but lived as secular Jews. Her father, Emil, who sang arias as he bathed in the mornings, dressed in imported German suits and spats when he left the house. They lived in a working-class section of the city. Catholic children in the neighborhood taunted her as a “Christ killer” and once pushed her brother Oskar off a tram and beat him. But nothing prepared the family for what was to come. A dark future was only hinted at when the parents, their faces knotted in consternation, listened to Adolf Hitler on the radio….”

Of her family, Lola alone survived.

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