After Fr. Fredric betrays him to Nazi soldiers, Jakub Chelzak pulls a kind of reverse Judas move to save Rabbi Gimelman, Shosha Mordechai, and her mother Rebekkah: he denies himself three times. They are fleeing the ruined Warsaw Jewish Ghetto for Praga, a suburb across the Wisla River.
Here's the passage from The Fires of Lilliput, Ch. 22.
THE TRAM WAS boarding now.
“Well,” Fr. Fredric said. “Goodbye and may the Lord bless and keep you.” He looked at Nazi gendarmes walking toward the group. They pushed through the crowd and came to Jakub.
“Jude,” they said. “Jude.”
“What? This man is not a Jew,” Fr. Stan said. “He’s Catholic, from Marienburg.”
The gendarmes opened the envelopes person-by-person. Jakub handed over his packet. A gendarme opened it, laughed, and held up the papers. Meaningless letters covered the pages. “Gibberish,” he said and let the papers fall into the street.
The other gendarmes seized Jakub.
“No,” Shosha cried. The rabbi pushed toward her. “He’s with us,” she said. “He’s not a Jew.”
The rabbi grabbed her arm, but before he could speak, the gendarme was upon her.
The rabbi tightened his grip on Shosha’s arm. He looked the gendarme in the eyes.
“I’m not with them,” Jakub interrupted.
“Shut up,” the rabbi whispered to her.
“I’m not with them,” Jakub said again.
“You’re lying,” the gendarme said. He looked at the rabbi and the priest. “You’re sneaking this Jew across.”
“For what purpose?” Father Stan said.
“What else?” the gendarme said. “Money.”
The rabbi intervened. “He already told you—he’s not with us.”
“The Father said he was Catholic, from Marienburg,” the gendarme said.
“I told them that just now,” Jakub said. “Here in the line.”
“That’s not true,” Shosha said. “Why are you lying?”
The gendarme turned to Jakub. “Are you lying?” he said.
“Tell them the truth,” Shosha said.
“Well?” the gendarme asked Jakub.
“I told you twice. I’m not with them.”
The rabbi pulled her close. “Shut up.” he said.
“I think that settles it,” the gendarme said. He took his sidearm from its holster and raised it to Jakub’s head.
“No,” Shosha cried again. She dropped. “No—please, you can’t kill him. You can’t.” She grabbed the gendarme’s legs.
“I don’t understand,” the gendarme said. “How can this woman care so much for a stranger?” The gendarme knelt down to Shosha. He took her face and held it up.
“Please don’t kill him,” she said.
The gendarme swept the hair from her face. He looked at her eyes, glistening and black. “God, you’re beautiful,” he said. He looked at his men, and the gawking crowd. “I suppose we’ll have to sort this out,” he said.
He waved off his cohorts, who took Jakub by either arm and started leading him away.
“The rest of you board the tram,” the gendarme said.
Pic: Warsaw ghetto uprising survivor Hannah Fryshdorf, amid the ruins.
Washington’s National Cathedral is honoring Elie Wiesel
with an official portraiture bust, the first contemporary Jewish honoree.
The Nobel laureate and Holocaust memoirist joins Jesus, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, and Oscar Romero in DC shrine.
"Millions of souls were lost during the years of Nazi tyranny, and their passing has made the world a poorer place.
"Many say 'Never Again' while shrugging off the memory of the starving, the sick, and the dead. Those images in black and white that have somehow made it all seem so distant, almost surreal, and suggestive of some fantasy rather than harsh reality.
"Some have even questioned if any of it ever even happened at all.
"But the Holocaust *did* happen, and this is one reality that cannot be denied.
"We seek to bring that reality to the forefront of the minds of all who seek the truth.
So they too can commemorate the victims. So they too can learn to recognize tyranny. So they too can build a future where such atrocities are not everyday occurrences, but exist only as a historical record on sites like this one."
ADVOCATUS DIABOLI. THE DEVIL’S Advocate.
It may be apropos that so sinister a name described the contentious center of the most labyrinthine legal endeavor ever devised—canonization.
Between the beginning and end of the road to sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church, centuries have often intervened.
To become a saint, a person must live an exemplary—and more importantly—a verifiable life of witnessed and recorded deeds.
Indisputable miracles a Vatican scientific panel documents and verifies must follow after death.
During the “Prejuridical Phase,” Jakub Chelzak’s supporters verified his life with photographs, narratives, and a Super 8 film.
They petitioned Lazslo Jocie-Wudl, Bishop of the diocese that included Malbork, formerly Marienburg, to initiate the “Ordinary Process,” which begins after the candidate has been dead at least five years.
Bishop Jocie-Wudl established a tribunal during the “Informative Phase” to determine whether anyone prayed to or otherwise venerated Chelzak after his death.
People all over Poland came forward.
Church officials scrutinized everything written to and from Chelzak during the “Judgment of Orthodoxy” phase.
Though literate, Jakub left few writings, so the Church instead reviewed letters from his brother Karl; his priest, Monsignor Jaruslaw Starska; journalists; and a biographer writing a book about mystics, stigmatics, and faith healers.
Written materials such as letters, diaries, journal entries, and biographies often include evidence of heresy or thinking at odds with Church doctrine.
But Chelzak left nothing of this sort.
Bishop Jocie-Wudl forwarded these findings to the Vatican at a time of keen interest in potential Holocaust saints.
Accused of ignoring Jewish suffering and enabling Hitler, church officials sought amends.
Sainthood candidates like Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan friar from Warsaw who gave his life to save a Polish army sergeant at Auschwitz; and the Capuchin monk Anicet Koplinski, nee Koplin, killed at Auschwitz after weeks in the hospital block, were among exemplary individual Catholics the Church was eager to recognize.
Church officials declared Chelzak a “Servant of God” and appointed a Postulator to launch an exhaustive final investigation during the aptly titled “Roman Phase.”
The Postulator argued Jakub Chelzak’s candidacy before the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints opposite the Devil’s Advocate.
Chelzak's Roman Phase began with the solution of a mystery that had stalled his petition.
The one person still living who could most intimately bear witness to his life—a former Warsaw resident named Shosha Mordechai—had left Poland after the war.
She had lived for a time in London, but Vatican investigators couldn’t establish her whereabouts after 1957.
Sixteen years later, the Church Postulator assigned to Chelzak's case, Monsignor Jaruslaw Bachleda, located Shosha Mordechai living in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York.
Wanted to share a couple of Also Boughts
that frequently appear on The Fires of Lilliput's Amazon page
One reader says Michael Strickland's The Calling
"will pull at your heart and make you ponder many different aspects of life. Inspiring and refreshingly different."
About Beyond the Tracks, author "Michael Reit showed that there is still a lot of room for writing great novels based on WW2," another reader says. "He showed new places, new fates, and new themes. For a debut novel, this was very strong..."
Click the links or the pix to get the books!
Tragedy to Triumph: An All-Genre Book Fair
Aubrey is struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life when her son convinces her that walking 500 miles across Spain via the Camino Frances would be good for her. Here's what readers have to say about Camino Wandering, one of more than 40 books in the Story Origin online book fair, Tragedy to Triumph.
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CHECK OUT THE BOOK FAIR AT THIS LINK.
Thank you for reading!