It was autumn, late autumn,
maybe the first week of November,
and we went for a walk,
the family on a Sunday walk,
through the historic quarter
along the city walls
past a cemetery.
It was the old Jewish quarter of
a town that once was home
to a famous Torah scholar, where
he built his house of study.
It is now a house of memory.
But I had never heard of Rashi then;
nor had I heard of heinous perfidy and shame.
I was five.
I asked, why is this called the Jewish quarter,
when all the Jews are gone?
Who were they? Where are they now?
Well, I had heard about them, briefly:
The people who had no country,
so they took their names from nature,
my grandmother said, denying parts
of her own family a rightful place in history.
Back then, I didn’t know this, either.
Who were the Jews? Where are they now?
I insisted. I was five.
It was late autumn,
around the first week of November.
It was cold, the streets were empty, and
my father and my mother remained silent.
*German and Yiddish names of a city in Germany