HOW MANY MORE JEWS MUST BE FOUND ?

A sunny summer day -
Kapos force Jews into ghetto streets.
They walk in groups towards the main square,
small children and bundles in their arms.
Push carts are not allowed.
Mother says, "I don't trust the Germans.
What will they do with us in the East ?
We must hide."

We are in a queue.
German soldiers stand smoking, talking.
The hunt won't start
until the captain gives the count
and tells them how many more Jews must be found.

A delay in loading.
We wait on the sidewalk.
Dad, pushes open an entrance door.
We drop our bundles and rush inside
pressing on doors knobs as we climb.
Apartments are all locked.
Did these Jews expect to come back ?

Breathless we stand on the fifth floor
"The attic is up there," Dad says.
"Bring over that bedspring so we can climb."
Then father pushes the bedspring away
which tumbles miraculously down the curved stairs.

The attic is very low. I, a five-year-old, must crawl.
Dust is inches thick, soon we are completely covered with it.
I find this amusing and say, "I am a ghost,
if the Germans come, I will scare them away."

All afternoon sunlight streams in
through a round small window overlooking the square.
I watch as dust floats in the air.

The loading has stopped, there is not enough.
Two soldiers climb and search.
One lifts the other to look.
We hear him say, "No Jews up there."

- Bernard Otterman