A family shattered book.., p.1
A Family Shattered: Book Two in the Michal's Destiny Series, p.1Roberta Kagan
A Family Shattered
Copyright © 2016 by Roberta Kagan
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events are purely coincidental.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
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A Family Shattered
The Daily Telegraph correspondent wrote of events in Berlin:
“Mob law ruled in Berlin throughout the afternoon and evening and hordes of hooligans indulged in an orgy of destruction. I have seen several anti-Jewish outbreaks in Germany during the last five years, but never anything as nauseating as this. Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken complete hold of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionably dressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee, while respectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the ‘fun.’”
Berlin, Germany,1938. The morning after Kristallnacht … the night of the broken glass.
Michal gathered her long black curls into a knot at the nape of her neck. She put on a modest dress, kissed her two daughters goodbye, and then steeled herself for whatever lay ahead. Her husband, Taavi, had been arrested the night before when a gang of hoodlums had attacked the neighborhood. These men had broken windows and beaten innocent men and women on the streets. Alina’s boyfriend, Benny, was walking her home from a dinner at his house when the two were attacked. Taavi heard his daughter screaming and ran outside. He tried to defend Benny but was too late; Benny had been beaten to death. And then instead of arresting the perpetrators, the police had arrested Taavi. The Nazis claimed that this attack on her little neighborhood was a punishment for something that happened in France. Michal knew better. She had lived through a pogrom and she was no stranger to anti-Semitism. The sector of town where she lived was all Jewish. The thug had written messages of hatred for the Jews all over the buildings. Then when the police arrested Taavi instead of the gangs of wild brutes, she knew this was a deliberate attack on Jews. She had no idea what she would face at the police station, but she had to try to reason with them and somehow get her husband released. She walked five blocks through the Jewish neighborhood where she lived. Instead of the quiet residential community that she knew and had come to love, the streets looked like a war zone. The windows of the businesses were busted out. The streets were filled with shards of glass and broken wood from the doors that had been smashed with clubs. Dark pools of blood coagulated in nauseating amounts, turning from red to black on the pavement. Insults to Jews were splattered in red paint on the doors and buildings of Jewish-owned shops … “JUDE.” Everywhere she looked there was something derogatory about Jews. Michal squared her shoulders. She had to find her husband no matter the danger.
Fear gripped her as she took a deep breath and entered the large building that was the closest police station. It was likely that he’d been taken there. Her fingers twisted and wrung the fabric of her coat as beads of sweat dripped down her forehead. The station was crowded. Overhead hung a sign that read “The Police, Your Friend, Your Helper.” Michal looked up at the sign and wished she could believe what it said. People were everywhere, moving to and fro. She was out of place as she waited to speak with an official. Every instinct inside of her wanted to cry out to the officers at the police station. Hurry, please, my husband has been taken away for no reason at all. I need help. Please give him back to us. He has a family. He didn’t do anything wrong. I swear it to you. But she restrained herself. If she was aggressive or demanding, they would be less likely to help her. I must wait quietly until someone gives me permission to speak, she told herself.
There was a line of people in front of a small inquiry hatch. She held her breath, waiting as each of them was taken care of.
“What do you want?” the police finally asked Michal through the small hole in the wall opening.
“My name is Michal Margolis. I have come to ask about my husband, Taavi Margolis. He was arrested last night. Can you help me, please? Can you tell me where he is? What has happened to him?”
“Sit over there and someone will be with you when they have time,” a police officer in uniform with thick grey eyebrows said to Michal and indicated a row of chairs with his pointer finger.
Michal did as she was told.
The hands on a black rimmed, moon-faced, clock that hung in the police station moved slowly around in circles. Michal’s breath was shallow and, she wanted to scream. But she didn’t. Instead she continued to wait. Sweat had begun collecting under her bra. As she sat on the hard wooden chair awaiting an audience with some
She stood up straight and unafraid, “I will see someone of higher authority right away.” She commanded. Her shiny dark hair was wrapped into a perfect twist and she wore a white mink coat. Large diamonds sparkled from her neck and fingers. Michal watched her, from the way this woman carried herself, it was obvious that she had commanded the subservience of those around her for many years and she was not going to accept being put off by any of these civil workers in the Ordnungsapolizei. After all, they were nothing but workers, but she was a woman from a wealthy family. They were here to serve her. In her station in life she was above them.
“I want you to find someone to see me right now, this minute. My husband and son were arrested last night for no reason at all and I want to know where they are.…”
The woman pointed her finger at the policeman’s face who sat at the desk.
“And you.” She pointed at the officer. “I want to see your superior.”
The skin of the officer who had been sitting at the desk turned blood red. His thick eyebrows knitted to become a single dark caterpillar above his angry eyes.
The police officer glared at the woman. She’d embarrassed him in front of the others. She’d made him look unimportant.
“You say you are looking for someone? Is that correct?” The police officer had a club in his hand.He was rhythmically beating it against the side of his body.
“My son and my husband. I demand to know where they are. There was no cause to arrest them.”
“Really, you demand? Do you?”
“I am not going to stand here and argue with you. I am looking for my family. I told you, I don’t want to talk to you. I want to see your superior officer.”
The man smiled at her. “I see.” He nodded.
She still stood waiting. She was not returning his smile. Then he took the back of his hand and slapped her hard enough across the face to make her head jerk . Her nose and mouth began running with blood. The blood dripped onto her coat. The contrast of the red blood on the white fur caused a shiver to run up Michal’s spine. The bleeding woman was shaking with anger.
“I have friends … important friends … I’ll have your job for this.…” The police officer hit her face with the club. Her cheek was a bloody mess as he threw her out the door of the building.
The policeman got up and shook his head. Then he wiped the blood that had spilled onto the floor and the wood of his desk. “Schwein,” he said under his breath, and calmly he began to sort through a pile of papers again, organizing them into smaller groupings.
It was very late that afternoon when Michal was finally called in to see Hauptmann Schteck. An officer Michal had not seen before came out from a room somewhere in the back of the building and walked over to her.
“Follow me; the hauptmann will see you now.”
Michal nodded. She thought of the woman she’d seen earlier who had spoken out and been beaten for it and reminded herself to hold her tongue. Even as angry and frightened as she was, she knew she must force herself to be as respectful as possible.
Michal held her breath as she walked into the office. On the wall she saw a framed photograph of Adolf Hitler. A large mahogany desk was facing away from the window. It had been decorated with beautifully framed pictures of a smiling blond woman with three small children. A beautiful family, to be sure. Michal gazed at the faces in the photograph and told herself that a family man like this must be a good man, a kind man. After all, he had children and a wife of his own. The hauptmann who sat behind his desk looked to be in his late thirties, attractive, and well-groomed.
“You may sit,” he said. Michal nodded and sat down. “Now, how can I help you?” he said, leaning back in his chair looking her over.
“My husband was arrested last night. A mob of criminals came through our street destroying businesses and beating up on innocent, defenseless people.”
“Oh, so that’s why you are here?” He smiled again and lit a cigarette. “You know the Führer doesn’t approve of smoking. I really must quit.” Then he nodded, as a wicked smile fell like a mask over his face. “So ... let me guess? You’re a Jew? Am I right?”
“Yes.” Michal said in a quiet voice.
“Do you realize why this happened to your people?”
Michal shook her head. She’d heard something about a problem in France, but she decided it was best not to bring it up. She would sit quietly and allow him to speak. The man looked so nice, so refined; his pictures with his children seemed so wholesome. Yet, when he uttered the word “Jew” a hatred came over his face that made him look like someone else, someone terrible.
“Ah, so you don’t know why this thing happened. Well then, let me tell you. A Jewish criminal murdered a German official in France. Now, as you can well imagine, that made the German people very angry. Very angry indeed.”
“But my husband had nothing to do with this man in France....”
“You did say that you are Jews, didn’t you?”
“Yes....” Her voice was small. She wondered if she should have lied to him, told him that she wasn’t Jewish at all. She was remembering the pogrom, on that terrible day when the Cossacks invaded her home in Siberia when she was still living in Russia. It seemed like a lifetime ago. This man, this hauptmann’s eyes reminded her of the Cossack that killed her first husband. They had come out of nowhere for no reason at all to destroy the small Siberian village, and all because the people there were Jews. It seemed to Michal that it had happened so long ago. It was before she and Taavi had come to Berlin and married. But the effects of what happened to Michal during that pogrom were burned into her heart and mind and she could never forget them.
The Hauptman wore a clean, pressed white jacket that fit his slender body as if it had been custom made for him. He put out his cigarette then got up and stretched like a cat. With his eyes fixed on hers, he sauntered around to the front of the desk. Then without speaking but wearing a wicked smile, he reached over and grabbed her breast in his fist. At the same time he gripped her buttocks with his other hand.
Michal winced with pain.
“No!” Michal screamed. She couldn’t help herself because she was reliving the day that the Cossacks had come. Since that fateful day she’d tried everything to bury the memory of being raped. But now, this moment brought it all back to her. Being a beautiful woman was nothing but a curse for a Jew. Someone had told her that once when she was much younger. Her poor precious daughters. They were lovely young girls and neither she nor her husband had the power to protect them from whatever fate had in store. After all, they were Jews.
The Nazi reached up into her hair and pulled her closer, tugging so hard that her head ached. Her hair fell out of the bun and hung loose. She tried to push him away. “What a feisty little Jewess you are.” He laughed. “I like that.” Then pressed his lips against hers until she could feel his teeth. It was early in the morning, yet he smelled and tasted of bitter beer. Michal gagged.She felt the vomit rise in her throat, then spew out of her mouth all over the hauptmann’s uniform. Anger flashed in his eyes and fear came over her. He was clearly disgusted by the mess she’d made of him and he slapped her face so hard that her head felt like it was going to fly off of her neck. Then something inside her mind snapped.The memories of the rape so long ago were suddenly as clear as if it happe
“Bitch!” he screamed, slapping her hard across the face, the blood from his lip still running down his chin. “I could kill you right now. Right now, do you hear me? And nothing, nothing at all would happen to me. You are a subhuman. I was being kind to let you come in here and speak to me on your husband’s behalf. Now, I see that you are a pig, all Jews are swine.” He took a clean white handkerchief out of his breast pocket and began to mop up the blood and vomit that had already stained the front of his uniform. His eyes look fiercely at her and she saw the unbridled cruelty in them. “But, my little Jewish swine, I have decided that I am not going to kill you. That would be too easy for you, too good. NO, you Hebrew demon. I have something much better in store for you. By the time I’m done with you, you’ll wish I’d killed you.”
Michal was paralyzed by fright. What was she thinking when she attacked this man? She’d gone out of her mind, temporarily insane. But the truth be told, he had power over her life. When he said he could do as he pleased with her, she knew it was true. OH God what have I done. The hauptmann was angry with her and all she could do was pray that by some miracle God would touch his heart and he would be merciful. And to make matters worse, now, how was she ever going to find Taavi?
A Family Shattered: Book Two in the Michal's Destiny Series by Roberta Kagan / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes