In August 1941, a young writer, Leyb Goldin, sat down to write about his day, struggling to survive in the Warsaw ghetto. This short piece of reportage, described as “a first person account of a man slowly dying of hunger”, is extremely powerful in portraying the terror of starvation, and perhaps deserves a place up there with some of the famous works of holocaust literature.
Featured guest: David Roskies, Professor of Yiddish Literature and Culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Leyb Goldin’s race against starvation in the Ghetto - Transcription:
Jonathan Gal: We think we know about hunger.
Truth is most of us, thankfully, living comfortably in the modern world, we really don’t.
Sure, maybe we’ve been hungry on some long trip on a bus that was late, maybe we went on some diet trying to stay healthy.
But it’s one thing to say I’m starving when you know there’s a fridge full of food waiting at home, and a completely different thing to go weeks without a meal, to have no idea when you’re going to eat again.
True hunger, hunger forced upon you, is all consuming and terrifying, and the story you’re about to hear is not only a real time, vivid, detailed, unfiltered account of what it’s like to die of hunger, it’s also just incredibly well written because the writer happened to have exactly two things on his mind: soup and modern literature.
Prof. David G. Roskies: He’s reading Schnitzler, he’s reading Thomas Mann, and here you have a Yiddish writer in the Warsaw ghetto quoting Peretz and he’s starting with this quote because he likes Peretz. He’s going to do the same thing. He is going to test the limits, not of the Yiddish language, mind you, the limits of European literature against the reality that he has to describe.
Jonathan Gal: It’s incredible that that’s what got you was not the hunger, but the literary references. You felt a kinship with this guy.
Jonathan Gal: You both liked the same things.
Roskies: Yes. Peretz is my favorite writer. I fell in love with Yiddish literature because of I. L. Peretz and here is somebody reading Peretz and using Peretz as an opening, and I thought: “Wow, this is my writer. This is my writer.”
Jonathan Gal: You identified. you felt like, “That’s what I would do if I was in this situation. I would try to write.”
Roskies: Yes. Oh my god, yes. That did cross my mind.
If I had been him, could I have done what he did?
Jonathan Gal: Welcome to “On the holocaust”, a podcast from “Yad Vashem”, the World’s Holocaust Remembrance Center. I’m your host, Jonathan Gal and today you’re going to hear a story about a young writer, Leyb Goldin, and an incredible piece he wrote while trying to survive the Warsaw ghetto.
His essay or short story, some 15 pages long, he wrote in Yiddish and he titled it: “Chronicle of a Single Day”. The person you just heard admiring the writer and his work, that’s David Roskies, a professor of Yiddish literature and culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Roskies believes that this short piece of reportage that he describes as "a first-person account of a man slowly dying of hunger" deserves a place up there with all the famous works of Holocaust literature.
But before we dive into Leyb Goldin's writing, we need to understand how it survived. How we’re even able to read it today. And that is a pretty incredible story in itself.
Roskies: Events were happening so quickly. The ground under them was shifting so dramatically that the way to preserve memory was to do it on a daily basis and for people simply to write down their experiences as it was happening, without even trying to process what was happening, because soon enough it would be forgotten.
Jonathan Gal: Over a period of three years living under the terror of Nazi occupation in the inhuman conditions of the ghetto, some 60 Jews, writers, artists, teachers and historians secretly documented their daily lives in fear that otherwise nothing will survive.
Roskies: People say today in retrospect that it was a community chronicling its own distruction.They would have said that this was a chronicle of their struggle for daily survival and their form of resistance was to collect data and to analyze. In other words, to make everyone a partner in the writing of Jewish history.
Jonathan Gal: The leader of this mission was Emanuel Ringelblum. A historian, teacher and social activist who remained in the ghetto when many others fled. The collection of documents he gathered came to be known as “The Oneg Shabbat” archive, or “Oyneg Shabes” in Yiddish, because Ringelblum’s group met every Saturday, in complete secrecy of course.
Roskies: Emanuel Ringelblum was a historian of East European Jewry.
When the war broke out he immediately understood that if the Jews are not going to write their own history, then the Germans will be the ones to do it and it was his responsibility as an historian to chronicle what was going on and doing it in what we call today “real time”. So he assembled a group of people whom he could trust, who were writers, economists, social workers, doctors, journalists, and put them to work.
Jonathan Gal: Taking part in this project was incredibly dangerous. Every time one of these writers picked up a pen or collected a document, they were risking their lives. Eventually everything was placed in metal boxes and buried in secret locations deep underground.
Roskies: In the course of the three years, they managed to assemble 35,000 documents. Poems, short stories, entire novels, cigarette boxes, memorabilia, Jewish stars, currency, photographs, everything that could someday be relevant to reconstructing the life, and eventually the death, of the largest Jewish community in Europe.
Jonathan Gal: On July 22nd 1942, the Nazis ordered the deportation of Warsaw’s Jews to the Treblinka death camp. A center of Jewish life, the largest community of Jews in the world after New York City, would be wiped away into nothing. Its people gradually, methodically, exterminated.
And then after the war, a series of miracles.
Miracle number one, and you can hear the entire amazing story of “The Oneg Shabbat” archive in an episode we published earlier on this very feed, after the war Polish workers stumbled upon two milk canisters buried under the rubble. They were disappointed to find that it wasn't gold that the Jews hid, only paper, documents, and they were about to throw the whole thing away when their foreman intervened.
Roskies: And he understood immediately that these were historical documents of tremendous value.
He said to the road workers, “You know what? let's bring this to the Jewish Historical Institute.”
Jonathan Gal: So that’s how one part of the archive was discovered and unearthed. There’s another part, by the way, which might be lost forever.
Roskies: We know where it is. It’s underneath the Chinese embassy and there’s no likelihood that it will be unearthed because no one will destroy the Chinese embassy in order to dig out Jewish documents at this point.
Gal: But the main part of the archive, the first collection to be buried, was found thanks to the some of the very fewsurviving members of the “Oneg Shabbat”. The only two people alive who knew its location,
Emanuel Ringelblum wasn’t one of them. He was murdered by the Nazis along with his wife and son after hiding in a bunker.
But very soon after the war two of his colleagues, his partners in the project, came back and like pirates, started digging for their treasure.
Roskies: The problem was that Warsaw had been razed to the ground. That 98 percent of the city had been leveled, and that post-war Warsaw, if you’ve ever seen a picture of it, looked like Hiroshima. The difference is that Hiroshima was destroyed in three minutes. Warsaw was destroyed building by building, brick by brick. So there was no building standing. It was an archaeological expedition to find and locate and unearth the first part of the archive and that’s where our document was discovered.
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “The conversations in one’s sleep are over. complaint satisfied. From time to time someone groans in his sleep. My brain is bursting, my heart is sick, my mouth is dry, I’m hungry. Food, food, food.”
Gal: So that’s how we have “Chronicle of a Single Day” by Leyb Goldin. Sadly, other than the text itself we know almost nothing about the author.
Roskies: What little we know comes from this document. The speaker in this story is named Arke, which is a slang for Aharon. Which makes me think that his real name or his Jewish name was Arie Leyb and probably at home they called him Arke.
He was 35 years old when he wrote this, so we do know he was born in 1906. We know that he was a professional translator of world literature and that’s very important because the speaker in this story is obviously extremely well read and he has German books next to him that he seems to know by heart. He read the modern German classics. He’s reading Schnitzler, he’s reading Thomas Mann, and that is what Goldin did professionally.
What his work in the archive was I cannot tell you. We have… other than this, there is nothing else of his work that survived.
So he wakes up early in the morning and he has eight hours to kill.
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “The last portion of soup yesterday at twenty to one. The next one will be today at the same time. The longest half already endured. how much longer to go.”
Roskies: And the challenge of it is how am I going to make this… make it? how am I going ot make it until twenty to one? So he tries to distract himself with a book, right? Because he’s an intellectual.
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “Very well then. How does one go through the seven hours, or the nearest two?
Read? your brain won’t take it in. All the same you pull a book out from under the pillow. German. Arthur Schnitzler. Publisher so and so. Year, printer. 'Eva looked into the mirror.' You turn the first page and you realize you understood no more than the first sentence. 'Eva looked into the mirror'.”
Roskies: And at a certain point his stomach gets the better of him and says: “Who is talking to you in this way? You are two people, Arke. It’s a lie. It’s a pose. Don’t be so conceited. That kind of split was alright at one time, when one was full.”
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “You’ve reached the end of the second page, did not understand a single word. Yesterday’s soup was thin and almost cold. You sprinkled in some salt which didn’t dissolve properly, and yesterday Friedman died of starvation. Definitely of hunger. Could see he wouldn't last long.”
Roskies: What he is able to do here is to give you an anatomy of time and he calls it “Chronicle of a Single Day.”
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “Few pages earlier they were eating in a restaurant. Schnitzler gives you the menu. No, no, don’t read it. Your mouth becomes strangely bitter inside, your head spins. Don’t read about what they ate. That’s right. Just as old people skip descriptions of sex. What’s the time? Half past six. Oh, how early it still is.”
Roskies: The act of reading this, actually recapitulates in our own mind, it gives us a simulation of what that day must have been like for him.
Gal: So Goldin’s text is not only an anatomy of time, but also an anatomy of hunger.
There’s a plot, a through line. Counting the hours a day spent waiting for soup, and there’s a literary device, a dialog going on between a man and his stomach.
Roskies: It was a race against starvation. The self-help organization was set up in order to try to rescue people from dying of typhus and starvation, which had been the plan of the Germans. They just wanted to lock the Jews up inside a ghetto and eventually they would starve to death. eventually they would all perish, and so they wouldn’t have to do the dirty job themselves. But that’s not what happened. The microcosm of the war against starvation is what? Soup kitchens. Soup kitchens set up by the Jewish self-help organizations, where once a day you could get a free bowl of soup. So that’s what this story is about.
Gal: Reading this piece, the term “stream of consciousness” really rings true.
Through every line you can tell the man writing is in distress. Yes, he jumps from one thing to another, but it doesn’t come across as lack of focus. He’s very deliberate. He’s making sense, he’s doing the work, being creative. He’s just very, very hungry.
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “By a gate in a narrow crack, a cucumber. A whole one, untouched. it seems as if it fell out of a housewife's shopping basket. Mechanically without thinking you bend down, take it. No disgrace, no joy. You deserve it. Just as a dog deserves a bone.”
Roskies: That is a day in the life of our Ghetto Kew named Arke. One out of the 350,000 of people who were dying of starvation.
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “For 30 centuries, generations of scholars who devoted their brilliant abilities, their youth, their lives to extorting from nature the secrets of vitamins and calories, in order that you Arke, by a gate in Leszno street should munch on a cucumber you found, that someone lost or threw down for you.”
Roskies: Though he chooses an ideal literary format, the medium is the message. It’s an internal dialog. It’s Arke and his stomach. The stomach and Arke. And they are battling it out between themselves, from the get go.
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “It’s not me thinking it, it’s my stomach. It doesn’t think, it yells. It’s enough to kill you. Demands and provokes me. ‘Intellectual, where are you with your theories or intellectual interests, your dreams, your goals? You educated imbecile, answer me. Remember every nuance, every twist of intellectual life used to enchant you, entirely possess you, and now? and now?’
Why are you yelling at me like that?
‘Because I want to. Because I, your stomach, am hungry’.”
Gal: So Arke, our hero, is waiting for the hour of soup and he is having a conversation with his stomach, but as David Roskies explains, there’s actually much more at stake here.
Roskies: Is there a literature that can do justice to the physiological battle to stay alive when you are dying of starvation? Is literature and culture in any way relevant to the situation that we’re in?
Gal: Of what use is all this amazing literature if I’m so hungry? if I’m dying from hunger?
Roskies: Correct. But his stomach is smarter than he is, and the stomach keeps telling him: “Come on already, this is just you trying to distract me from my hunger”.
Gal: It’s not Going to work.
Roskies: It isn’t working. It’s not working! It’s not working! Get with it! You’re such a schlimazel!
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “People don’t take their own lives nowadays. Suicide is something from the good old days. At one time if you loved a girl and she didn’t reciprocate, you put a bullet through your head or drained a flowered phial of vinegar essence, leaving behind a stylized note with ‘it’s nobody’s fault’ and ‘I’m doing the world a big favor’. Why don’t we kill ourselves now? If you’re hungry, you cease to be human. You become a beast, and beasts know nothing of suicide.
‘Brilliant my pet. An excellent theory. So how long is it, wise guy, till 12 o’clock?’
Shut up. It will soon be six o’clock. Another six hours and you’ll get your soup.
Ten past eight. Four hours to go. Not quite four whole hours, but let's say four, and if less that’s certainly to the good. I slowly drown in my pants. I no longer touch my legs. I touched them until not long ago. I measured them with my fist to see how far they’d shrank. No more. What’s the point?”
Gal: As the day continues, it seems like our author is losing his battle against hunger, his battle against his own stomach. He can’t distract it with books and even the soup he’s waiting for seems more and more like it’s not going to be enough.
Roskies: Because the stomach knows that the only thing that can sake one’s hunger is a loaf of bread, or even a piece of bread, for goodness sake. So you’re trying to distract me with a bowl of soup, but I’ve already had that bowl of soup. I’m not even sure that… I’m starving to death with that bowl of soup. That’s not going to do it. I need bread! I need bread, you schlimazel! Why don’t you provide me with some bread? So this… there’s another theme running through the story. It's an incredible thread running through the story, where he is constantly being reminded of bread in what he’s reading. That the characters are being seated at a table at a restaurant, and what are they eating? Well they’re obviously eating bread.
“Tanned faces, black hands and feet, a hearty laughter and brooklets of unexpected spring water and bread and butter! Sandwiches with sweet tea, and no armbands on your sleeves. No mark of being a Juda. Bread, bread. bread.
Razowka. Sitkowka. Vayse sitka. Hele sitka. Tunkele sitka. Walcowka, first class bread, beknbroyt. Bread. bread. The
abundance of it dazzles your eyes.”
So this is a revelry. What’s going on now?
The bread reminds him of his life before the war, and what he’s talking about is only two years before. Two years earlier he was out on a picnic with his friends, and what were they eating? Bread and butter sandwiches! And they were free, and they had no arm bands, and now all he could think about is bread, bread, bread, bread, bread.
Gal: Quick tangent here, we just heard professor Roskies reading a section of the text, a list of different types of bread and pastry. Things the starving author now desperately longs for. Hearing those name, products that a Jew could once buy in one of Warsaw’s bakeries, you can almost smell it.
Roskies: None of the names of the breads appear in any Yiddish dictionary, and so I had to track down someone who had been a baker in Warsaw before the war, so that he could describe to me more or less what these different breads are.
Razowka. Sitkowka. Vayse sitka. These are literally from the text. They are organized here in a… Roughly in order of desirability. You start with the roughest bread, the simplest bread and you work yourself up to first class bread. Beknbroyt So beknbroyt is actually a synonym for Challah, but that’s, you know, you only eat that on Shabbats and holidays.
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “Tell me friend, are you starting up with your stories again? It’s already time to go. Maybe the soup will be earlier today. Move, my dear. Bread. Bread everywhere. It costs the same as yesterday. You want to go to the stall feel, pinch the fresh whole wheat bread, satiate your fingertips with the soft, baked brown dough. No. Better not. It will only increase your appetite, that’s all.”
Roskies: He never gets that loaf of bread. It’s all in his head.
Gal: Bread is a fantasy.
Roskies: Instead, the drama and the camera, I would say, literally the camera closes in on the soup kitchen and the sights and the smells and the sounds of the soup kitchen, and who is sitting around the table, and the weight and the expectation.
Gal: So Arke arrives at the Promised Land, the soup kitchen. But it’s not a catharsis scene. No fairytale endings here. His own struggles continue as the tragedy around him is on full display.
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “The soup was not late today. The steam is already in the air, plates are already being rattled, the manager is already shouting at the waitresses, the assistant manager’s already measuring the length of the hall with his tiny feet and nodding his plumped head from side to side as a puppet show. The second assistant manager is already shouting at some diners. The day of soup getting has already begun. There are more people here than yesterday, just as yesterday there were more than the day before. Poor fellow. they’re starting to hand out soup from that table, so you have to sit here until it reaches you. How do you like that? You can eat your heart out.”
Gal: Waiting for his bowl, then getting his bowl, Goldin never really gives us a monologue about relishing or enjoying each gulp. Mostly he’s just jealous of the other diners.
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “Someone rather takes from his bosom a quarter sheet of newspaper and unwraps it, uncovering a thin, round piece of bread. Unlike you, they don’t gobble the soup directly. First they stir it, wrinkling up their noses in disgust, just as they do every day. Because it’s thin. Start at the side where it’s shallow, chew for a long time, slowly, pretend to be looking around as if the soup were of secondary importance and the main thing - the ceiling.
And that scoundrel over there, with such a full plate, full of fried onions, sits there, sniveling. You can just faint. It’s alright, they’re hungry. Everyone may eat in any way he likes. I’m probably comical too when I eat my soup.”
Gal: Arke’s focus shifts to the conversations heard around the tables. There’s one topic on everyone’s mind. One update people are eager to share.
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “There's movement around you, people come and go, sit down, speak. Polish, Yiddish, Hebrew, German. First here, now they’re like a rocket. A question flooded with an exclamation. ‘Who, him? I saw him only yesterday. Who, her? She ate here only the day before yesterday’. They’re talking about those who have died. One of hunger, another from that louse and today’s sickness. And they whisper so mysteriously in each other’s ears. Don’t shout. So die at home, unannounced. But above all other conversations, one theme. We won’t be able to survive it.”
Roskies: When he walks out of the soup kitchen, and we know exactly which soup kitchen he was in, there is absolutely no doubt, because he mentions the street name, Leszno street, and that was the address of the soup kitchen for intellectuals, if you could believe that. And we know who ran it. It was Rachel Auerbach, because she was one of Ringelblum’s closest associates, and she’s one of the two people who after the war knew where the archive was buried and insisted on searching and continuing to search until it was found, so she and Hirsch Wasser are the only two surviving members. So this is her soup kitchen.
Roskies: That’s where he’s eating.
He goes out and something extraordinary and quite unexpected happens to him.
Gal: The narrator walks past a hospital and through a window, incredibly, he sees a team of doctors and nurses performing surgery on someone, a child.
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “An operation, you’ve never seen one before. At the movies, in a book, in a theater, yes. But in life? no. Strange, isn’t it? You’ve lived some 30 odd years, seen so much, and now you see an operation for the first time and it has to be in the ghetto. But why? Why? Why save?”
Roskies: Why are they operating on this child? I don’t get it. We’re all dying here. Eventually we’ll all die of starvation. What is the point of trying to save a child’s life? And that’s where the story ends. With this wake-up call, where something stirs in his consciousness and in his conscience, and this is what he says. “Yes, yes. We’re eating grass. Yes, we’re falling in the streets without a word of protest. We wave our hands like this and fall. Each day the profiles of our children, of our wives, acquire the mourning looks of foxes, dingoes, kangaroos. Our howls are like the cry of jackals. Our hymn 'papierosy papierosy' (cigarettes, cigarettes) is like something of a nature reserve, a zoo. But we are not animals. We operate on our infants. It may be pointless or even criminal, but animals do not operate on their young.”
Gal: So that’s it. That’s “Chronicle of a Single Day” by Leyb Goldin.
You can read the whole thing online, we’ll put the link up in the description of this episode.
But there’s a whole other story to tell about the legacy of this piece, its place in, or its absence from the canon of Holocaust literature. This is not a very widely known text. David Roskies remembers reading it for the first time in Yiddish before any English translation was available and it felt like a discovery.
Roskies: Yes. I can recall very vividly the impact that this made. I was making my way through this anthology in Warsaw on paper that was crumbling as I was reading it, these books were printed on very cheap paper, and then I came across this work which of course I’ve never heard of and it was the first sentence, it was the epigraph that got me, and it’s based on I. L. Peretz. So the translation is: “How differently my song would sound if I could let it all resound.” And I knew where that came from. It was a play on something that… a very famous poem by I. L. Peretz. And here you have a Yiddish writer in the Warsaw ghetto quoting Peretz, and he’s starting with this quote because he likes Peretz. He’s going to do the same thing. He is going to test the limits, not of the Yiddish language mind you, the limits of European literature against the reality that he has to describe.
Gal: It’s incredible that what got you was not the hunger but the literary references. You felt a kinship with this guy.
Gal: You both like the same things.
Roskies: Yes. Peretz is my favorite writer. I fell in love with Yiddish literature because of I.L. Peretz, and here is somebody reading Peretz and using Peretz as an opening and I thought, “Wow, this is my writer. This is my writer.”
Gal: You identified. You felt like, “This is what I would do if I was in that situation. I would try to write.”
Roskies: Yes. Oh my god. Yes. That did cross my mind. If I had been him, could I have done what he did?
Gal: You think we’ve lost a really good writer.
Roskies: Yes. He was only 35. If he had survived, he had obviously made his experiences in the Warsaw ghetto the central focus of his writing. He would have emerged as one of the great writers on the Holocaust.
Gal: Roskies wrote to me after we recorded this interview. He said he went to the gym and kept thinking about our conversation and about Goldin or Arke, the narrator of the story. He said Arke lost the war when he perished in the Great Deportations, but Goldin won the war by making a masterpiece of psychological fiction. He said when Goldin sat down to write, he was essentially in a race against time. Part of what is so powerful is that he wrote as a first responder, a real time witness of a terrible catastrophe. Not as someone who’s putting together a narrative after the fact.
Roskies: So Leyb Goldin’s chronicle is a case in point where he takes you step by step, hour by hour through a day in the life of a ghetto Jew to try to get inside his head. What is he thinking? What is he experiencing? Now this is something that cannot be reconstructed after the fact. As great as Holocaust literature is, literature written about the events, there are very, very few writers who can recapitulate and reconstruct the life of a victim, day by day, hour by hour, thought by thought. Only the greatest of writers could possibly do that, and there are hardly any examples of that.
So Goldin’s work is a work of tremendous literary merit and that’s what stood out to the editor Berl Mark, who was the first to discover it and publish it. And that’s why we’re talking about it today, and that's why it eventually takes its place among the great literary works of the mid-twentieth century.
Gal: But despite all this, Leyb Goldin’s “Chronicle of a Single Day” is not considered one of the major iconic works of holocaust literature. It’s not up there with the Eli Wiesel's and the Anne Frank'ss of the world, and it’s interesting to try and figure out why.
Roskies: It was not a story that people wanted to read. It’s not about physical resistance. It’s not an overtly heroic story. It’s not a story about survival. Think about literature on the holocaust. How much of it is the story of how I survived. This is the story of how they perished.
Gal: Too complicated, too depressing, not heroic.
Roskies: Not heroic. And there’s also an ethical dimension here, and that is much of the anger and anguish of the literature written during war time is directed inward, against other victims and other Jews. Very little is directed outwardly against the Germans, whom they never saw. They never… There were no Germans inside the ghetto. Well that definitely is not a story that sits well with postwar readers. No! “Acharey mot kedoshim” - after you die you are rendered holy, and this is not sacred in that way, for this is extremely uncomfortable for postwar readers to read.
Gal: But that could change. In 2018, a documentary by the filmmaker Roberta Grossman came out to great acclaim, “Who Will Write Wur history?” about the Ringerblum archive. Award winning Hollywood actors, like Joan Allen and Adrien Brody did the voiceovers based on the original texts from the collection. and then we actually see Leyb Goldin. He’s played by a polish actor, Bartlomiej Kotschedoff, apologies if I’ve mangled the pronunciation, because that guy went all out, gave it his all. In order to look so terribly thin, so hungry in the movie, he actually starved himself.
From "Who will write our history": “There’s a gnawing in my stomach. If you’d only had a quarter of a loaf now. A quarter of a loaf.”
Roskies: When I was translating this, it never, not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that the day would come when a polish actor will go on a starvation diet for three weeks in order to play the role of Arke, and you see exactly what the story describes, going through the streets, stumbling over a corpse, exactly as it is described here. Sitting in the soup kitchen, getting his soup. And then at the end exiting the soup kitchen and watching an operation in a hospital.
Gal: So you’re saying it can connect. It can connect to an audience.
Roskies: It can connect. It has connected and it will connect.
Narrator: FROM GOLDIN TEXT: “And suddenly you remember that dead Jew that you nearly tripped over today. What’s more, you now see him more clearly than ever before, when you’re actually looking at him. Some years ago there’s a mother who fed him, while cleaning his head knew her son was the cleverest. The most talented, the most beautiful. And now the brightest, most beautiful child in the world lies in a strange street and his name isn’t even known and there’s a stink. And instead of his mother, a brick kissed his head.”
Roskies: You don’t have to be Jewish to read this. You don’t have to be interested in the Holocaust per say. This is the statement that transcends all cultures and languages. This is great. This is great stuff.
Gal: I’m going to eat something.
I’m going to look for a nice piece of bread and butter.
Roskies: Ok. And savor it.
Gal: Absolutely. Thank you, thank you so much, David.
That’s it for this episode of “On the Holocaust”, a podcast from “Yad Vashem”, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
My name is Jonathan Gal, sound editing and mixing by Dor Komet, Tova Shimanov was our producer. Thanks to our guest, Professor David Roskies, thanksShmaya Levens who helped us out, and thank to Josh Bloomberg who was the voice of Leyb Godin today.
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Thanks for listening.