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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 4, December 2017
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Gerry Jacobson
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


Where is East Prussia?

dull green room
dust on the windowsill
heads bowed
everybody writing
wiping off what's past

She and her family lived through all that. The inflation in Germany after the First World War. She was a young girl at the time. Strange that no stories have come down to us.

I think her father was a shopkeeper. Sold cloth. How do I know this? Some talk of a photo, his shop damaged and defaced by Nazis. I never saw the photo, and it's gone now.

She (my mother) grew up in a small town, Lück, in East Prussia. Where? East Prussia is gone now, gone into history. My mother left in 1933 when Hitler came to power. The Jews who remained, like my grandparents, went in 1942, deported in cattle trains. To Auschwitz by way of Theresienstadt. The ethnic Germans who lived there went in 1945, killed or enslaved by the Red Army. Or else they fled to what became West Germany, as refugees. Lück is now called Elk, and it's in Poland.

I met an "Old Lückian." Well, he was born in what was West Germany to a refugee family. We met at a dance camp in New Zealand. He has a Sufi name, Abhir, and we became great friends. We discovered our common bond of ancestry in that town: German and Jew. The Sufi Kiwi and the Dancing Aussie who’s never been to East Prussia, which no longer exists.

And then "the other Gerry," whom I met at the local synagogue. His original name is Jerzy, and he's Polish-Australian. Comes from a town near Elk called Olsztyn, which once was called Allenstein. Curious about him because he's a convert to Judaism. I'm always curious about converts. Why on earth would they want to be Jewish? So I asked him about it. He said he'd been injured in an accident and, while he was in a coma, God spoke to him.

sound of silence
in a dark cave
a candle
casts our flickering
shadows on the rock

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