a good friend of mine encouraged me to post a little excerpt from the novel I am working on right now, tentatively titled "Home Army."

(I'm really sorry if it sucks).

in this story, set during World War II, the lives of seven people from different countries, religions, and ideologies overlap when they form all kinds of relationships with the Polish resistance, also known as the Home Army.

(many of the plot lines in the novel are actually based on true stories that I've heard from relatives and friends from both sides of my family -- some come from Poland and others from Israel).

the following scene takes place in September of 1942, when the Nazis decided to cleanse the Lodz ghetto of all children.


Even before he opened his front door, a putrid stench made its way up Anastazy’s nose. He scrunched his face in disapproval. He couldn’t imagine what smelled so bad.

Tentatively Anastazy pulled the door knob toward him. The door creaked like an old vehicle begging for oil. It was dark inside so Anastazy couldn’t see much. Digging into the back pocket of his trousers, the former university professor found a match and a matchstik. With a quick snap of his fingers he lit a flame.

What he saw horrified him. It was that stupid housemate of his, Shulem, lying dead on the floor with his four children and wife. The blood had already drained from their faces. More than anything they looked like ghosts. A rotting smell oozed out of their pores. Shulem’s black curls were pasted flat to his head. The children’s expressions were paralyzed in terrible grimaces.

Surely the entire family had drank poison. A group suicide.

Shulem must have known his children would be sent off to their graves. And so he’d prefered to die right by their side.

It was a morbid affair.

Anastazy gagged.

For the first time in his life the professor thanked the heavens that his daughter was safe. If only for now.


Anastazy hated himself for it but he knew that he must dump the corpses out the window. The apartment was so small he hardly had room to stretch his legs. He should make the most out of the space.

For a moment he thought to recite the mourner’s prayer since Shulem’s family had been religious, but he couldn’t remember the words. So sadly he said nothing at all as he dragged the bodies, one by one, to decompose on the street.  

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