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Welcome to our newsletter for readers of The Fires of Lilliput, Shosha Mordechai's epic story of courage, suffering, and love during the Nazi siege of Poland and the Soviet invasion that followed.
From our Facebook page of over 7,500 fans, we have excerpts from the book; news about an unusual Holocaust prosecution; and a preview of a Polish film that captures the Warsaw Uprising like few others.
Through short excerpts in this edition, we meet three people central to life in the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto up to and during the 1943 revolt: Uprising leader Icchak Cukierman (aka 'Antek'); Nazi commander Jürgen Stroop and his predecessor, Ferdinand von Sammern-Frankenegg; and the fictional counterpart of orphanage founder Dr. Janusz Korczak.
The paperback is available at Heart Beat Books here. We also offer Indiebound independent book stores wholesale terms on paperback orders (we do not sell print books through Amazon).
The Fires of Lilliput Kindle version pulled off an interesting trifecta on Amazon recently, charting at #21 in Jewish Literature; Christian Historical Fiction; and Historical Biographical Fiction simultaneously. Many thanks to our wonderful
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She and Jakub had walked from the cemetery, hiding in the usual places, and now they crouched in a doorway on an alley. Shosha heard her name, but didn’t recognize the urgent, hushed voice.
“Shosha.” She stood and bent around the edge of the doorway. “Up here!”
She looked up. From a building across the street, a man waved in a window without glass.
“Antek?” she said.
“Yes. Who’s with you?”
“Who is he?” Jakub asked.
“Icchak,” Shosha said. “But he’s called Antek. He’s our best shooter, but he hates to kill. The women are all in love with him.”
Photo: Icchak Cukierman (aka 'Antek'), a Warsaw Jewish Ghetto Uprising leader, ca 1943
Monday of Holy Week, First day of Pesach
19 April 1943, Warsaw Jewish Ghetto
JÜRGEN STROOP WASHED SHAVING cream off his face when his aide, a young lieutenant, answered a pounding at the door of the general’s suite at the Hotel Bristol on the Aryan side.
Sammern-Frankenegg rushed past the lieutenant and looked in every room until he found his commander.
“We’ve sustained losses, Herr Stroop.”
Stroop was staring at himself in the mirror over the sink.
Excerpt from The Fires of Lilliput, Chapter 16
“To be expected,” Stroop said.
“I ordered a retreat.”
Stroop lit a cigarette.
“We need aircraft,” Sammern-Frankenegg said. “We could get them from Krakow in under an hour.”
“Bullshit.” Stroop spoke through his cigarette. “How long can these sewer rats resist?”
Photo: German soldiers under Stroop watch Warsaw Jewish Ghetto burn
during 1943 Uprising
THE NEXT DAY, IN the early morning, Shosha left her house by the back door and took a carriage to the Jewish orphanage.
She stepped off at a corner and walked the rest of the way and when she arrived, she saw the double front doors open.
She hiked her skirt and mounted the steep brick steps. At the top, she paused. She was hungry, she was always hungry, and every effort loosed wavelets of fatigue. She had lost twenty pounds and was not a large woman before.
When she took off her top garments, she no longer had to contract her diaphragm to see her ribs, which lay bare and malnourished, embarrassing protrusions that forced her to wear heavy clothes, even on warm days.
She leaned against the railing and breathed. Fatigue roiled her stomach, like a grinding wheel sharpening a dull and chronic pain that wanted to waylay her.
She rolled her head to stretch her neck.
She looked around and noticed the windows on either side of the doors were open as high as they could be forced. She peered in.
“Hello?” Her voice jarred the air.
“Hello?” A hollow echo returned.
Excerpt from The Fires of Lilliput, Chapter 7. It's the morning after the going-away party for orphanage founder Dr. Janusz Jerczek and the remaining orphans. Jerczek is told the occupiers are building a new, fine orphanage well beyond the Jewish Ghetto.
But Shosha fears the worst.
Photo: Dr. Janusz Korczak and orphans, the inspiration for the fictional Janusz Jerczek.
In The Fires of Lilliput, Shosha Mordechai flees the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto after the failed 1943 Uprising against the Nazis. Recruited as a reconnaissance scout for the Armia Krajowa, she gets caught up in the 1944 Uprising across the rest of Warsaw.
By 1944, Warsaw was in its fifth year under Nazi occupation. The underground, mostly non-Jewish Armia Krajowa – Polish resistance Home Army – organised Operation Tempest, to oust the occupiers.
The filmmakers used lip-reading to re-create the action's missing dialogue.
Warsaw Uprising premiered during the Uprising commemorations in August 2013. Check out the trailer below.
German prosecutors have filed charges against a 95-year-old woman they say was complicit in the murder of more than 10,000 people at the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp during World War II. The woman worked as a typist and secretary. She was under 21 at the time.
Senior Public Prosecutor Peter Müller-Rakow said the woman helped those in charge of the camp carry out "the systematic killing of Jewish prisoners," along with Polish partisans and Russian prisoners of war.
The Stutthof concentration camp was established in 1939 along Poland's Baltic coast. The secretary worked there from June 1943 to April 1945, as a close aide to the commandant. The facility was using Zyklon B gas chambers to exterminate prisoners.
Last year, a Hamburg court found Bruno Dey, a former guard at the Stutthof camp, guilty of assisting in thousands of murders. Dey, 93 at the time, was given a two-year suspended sentence.
Speaking at her home in a retirement community, the woman, Irmgard F., said she wasn't aware of mass poisonings or other acts of genocide — in part because her office window faced outward from the cam
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