Sunday, April 8, 2007

Simcha Fagelman

"AT SIX IN THE MORNING on March 20, 1942, Simcha fagelman was already hard at work in the village bakery of Illya, a Byelorussian town a hundred miles east of Vilna. On this snowy, freezing March morning, he counted himself lucky that he had a warm, indoor job baking bread. Even so, the twenty-six-year-old Jew could not shake a sense of dread. Like a low-lying fog, a sense of doom hovered in the streets, seeped into doorways, and crept into the back of his mind...

At 7 AM. that day, members of the German Gestapo burst into the bakery searching for Jews who had slipped through their roundup. At that moment, Simcha happened to be screened from view by a
oven. “No Jews here,” his Russian supervisor told the Germans confidently. The soldiers left. Without a moment’s hesitation, the Russian baker hustled Simcha up to the attic, locked him in, and hid the attic ladder...

Simcha Fagelman owes his life to the courage of a Russian baker and the generosity of farmers who shared their own scarce food to help a fellow human being. Simcha never forgot them. Neither did I. Simcha Fagelman is my father."

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