They found records and video-cassettes at their place, a deck of cards, a chess set. In other words, everything that's banned.
And thus to my final and most melancholy point: a great number of Stalin's enforcers and henchmen in Eastern Europe were Jews. And not just a great number, but a great proportion. The proportion was especially high in the secret police and 'security' departments, where no doubt revenge played its own part, as did the ideological attachment to Communism that was so strong among internationally minded Jews at that period: Jews like David Szmulevski. There were reasonably strong indigenous Communist forces in Czechoslovakia and East Germany, but in Hungary and Poland the Communists were a small minority and knew it, were dependent on the Red Army and aware of the fact, and were disproportionately Jewish and widely detested for that reason. Many of the penal labor camps constructed by the Nazis were later used as holding pens for German deportees by the Communists, and some of those who ran these grim places were Jewish. Nobody from Israel or the diaspora who goes to the East of Europe on a family-history fishing-trip should be unaware of the chance that they will find out both much less and much more than the package-tour had promised them. It's easy to say, with Albert Camus, 'neither victims nor executioners.' But real history is more pitiless even than you had been told it was.
He thought of his wife, of his son, of his youth. He thought of life. He thought of death and then he thought of life again.
Never give up on learning because what you put up there in your brain,” he indicated my head with his index finger, “the Communists won’t ever be able to take away from you.
Stalin is dead! Stalin is dead! No school today!” we yelled. “Stalin is dead! No school today...” was a chant to linger in my ears for years to come.
The cane leaves a mark on your flesh for a few hours, a day or two. The good answers to the questions leave a mark on your brain for many years, sometimes even for life,” my father said.
All the light was now coming from the East; and it looked breathtakingly new. In a very short time, everything was nationalized, from banks to factories, from pharmacies to little distilleries.
My father also told me that he felt free in that little hole in the ground, much freer than he felt outside, where he was always being chased by the criminals of the regime. That freedom came from inside, from his thoughts, from his soul; and nobody could take that from him.
While the new Legionnaire man eliminated his enemies in the name of God, with a cross in his hand, the new Communist man eliminated God altogether and stood on His pedestal. They were both equally thirsty for blood.
I knew that coming from a family with an unhealthy social origins, things would be harder for me. Nonetheless, in my heart, hope never died. However, over time, I had learned that trying never died either. Trying was one thing I always had to do more than others, because, in the self-proclaimed society of equals, we were made to be less equal than many of the families around us.
The night I was born, my great uncle Moanea, the village forester, shot a wolf. The villagers roasted it in the fire and fed the meat to the dogs.