June 08, 2004

Rather Important

I disagree with Damian. Get your father out of the gears of the combine, throw a tourniquit around the stump to slow the bleeding, and only then should you go read this.

My family had it easier than Tonecluster's. Both sides left Eastern Europe for the U.S. before WWI started, and whatever pogroms they faced before that, the details were not passed down to us. The town my mother's family came from, a Jewish community in Belarus, no longer exists. The Nazis, real Nazis, plowed everything under so there is no sign that it ever existed, and the occupents, some of whom may well have been my relatives, were put to death.

Posted by triticale at June 8, 2004 10:08 PM

So this is where you hang out when you're not over at Dean's World. What's the 'wheat/rye guy' refer to?

My own family on my grandfather's side beat it to hell out of Bielo-Rus when he was a young kid. He was born in a little shtetl (Jewish village) in 1867, and settled later in Davenport IA, where all his kids were born starting about 1890, including my late father Max Harris, who was born in 1892. (Max, who served the USA in France with the American Expeditionary Force in 1918, was already a middle-aged guy when I was born in Chicago in 1934.)

My grandpa came into New York in the pre-Ellis Island days (I think they had another place called 'Castle Garden' or something on that order.) He was "David Harris" when he got here. He sure as hell didn't have a moniker like that in Russia, but that's about all I know, because he died in early 1942 before I turned 8 years old. Grandpa David was an authentic horsecart vendor of bottled soda pop in the Chicago streets after he moved over there from Davenport early in the 20th century.

(Sort of a drag-ass way to make a living, but when I was a kid, I delivered newspapers onto people back porches, set pins in bowling allies, bagged groceries, delivered Chinese food orders and did other work that wasn't much classier than what my grandpa did.)

I don't know much about the holocaust stuff, because I had no traceable connection to it. But I got the idea early on that if you arm yourself and learn how to use deadly force against actual or would-be nazis, you might actually be able to escape them. And if not, you can at least kill some of the bastards just before they kill you. Is that satisfaction enough? For me, it would do just fine if that's all I could get.

When my wife and I studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1973-1974 (city and regional planning for me, archaeology for her), we met some real tough guys old-timers who got out of eastern Europe the hard way during the war. Typically they hiked eastward as quickly and rapidly as they could, joined up with the Red Army (which wasn't particularly choosy about where their cannon-fodder came from) and fought through the war as Soviet grunts. One of them told me he got far enough to fight through the streets of Berlin with his buddies in April 1945. There they where there, guns in hand, fighting their way to Hitler's fuehrerbunker when the bastard shot himself on April 30.

(These, by the way, were and are the kinds of Jews for whom my respect is boundless. I hope their modern counterparts kill any Arabs who threaten their country.)

By the way, about another one of your posts on your blogsite here. "Merde" in French is "scheisse" in German. "Shiessen" means to shoot.

Arnold Harris
Mount Horeb WI

Posted by: Arnold Harris at June 12, 2004 04:07 PM
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