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Unformatted text preview: ly comes up at night. In the day, we leave everything open. Nothing to hide. And we use this
room rather than the kitchen. Best to keep away from the front door.”
Then Mama. “All right . . . Yes, you’re right.”
“If we gamble on a Jew,” said Papa soon after, “I would prefer to gamble on a live one,” and from that moment,
a new routine was born.
Each night, the fire was lit in Mama and Papa’s room, and Max would silently appear. He would sit in the
corner, cramped and perplexed, most likely by the kindness of the people, the torment of survival, and
overriding all of it, the brilliance of the warmth.
With the curtains clamped tight, he would sleep on the floor with a cushion beneath his head, as the fire slipped
away and turned to ash.
In the morning, he would return to the basement.
A voiceless human.
The Jewish rat, back to his hole.
Christmas came and went with the smell of extra danger. As expected, Hans Junior did not come home (both a
blessing and an ominous disappointment), but Trudy arrived as usual, and fortunately, things went smoothly.
THE QUALITIES OF SMOOTHNESS
Max remained in the basement.
Trudy came and went without
It was decided that Trudy, despite her mild demeanor, could not be trusted.
“We trust only the people we have to,” Papa stated, “and that is the three of us.”
There was extra food and the apology to Max that this was not his religion, but a ritual nonetheless.
He didn’t complain.
What grounds did he have? He explained that he was a Jew in upbringing, in blood, but also that Jewry was now more than ever a label—a
ruinous piece of the dumbest luck around.
It was then that he also took the opportunity to say he was sorry that the Hubermanns’ son had not come home.
In response, Papa told him that such things were out of their control. “After all,” he said, “you should know it
yourself—a young man is still a boy, and a boy sometimes has the right to be stubborn.”
They left it at that.
For the first few weeks in fron...
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13