In loving memory of my maternal grandpap, who left the material world 13 January 2017.
Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week, I’m starting a scene from Part II of The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees, which is my now primary WIP.
This opens the fourth section of Chapter 18, “On the Move Again.” It’s now late February 1945, the eve of Purim. Four of the boys have held onto their humanity and friendship, but the other three have become very cynical and animalistic. As bitter and angry as 15-year-old Kálmán has become, he still thinks of himself as a human being, and lives for revenge.
View into the Bohemian Forest, Copyright DeutscherAar
The seven remaining boys had lost track of how long they’d been trudging away on the road, though one of the religious men keeping a calendar said it was Ta’anit Esther. This year, just about everyone kept the fast through default, since there was barely any food distributed for anyone.
“This is the coldest winter I can remember.” Kálmán pulled his worn-out coat and blanket from Jawischowitz tighter around himself as they huddled in that night’s encampment by the Bohemian Forest. “I wish those stingy, murderous bastards had given us furs and down comforters.”
“I’m thinking again of escaping,” Adrián said. “Thank God we’re in Czechoslovakia, so the natives will be good to us. The Czechs are modern, enlightened people, not a pack of anti-Semites.”
Kálmán grunted. “Obviously not enough of them are like that, or else their country wouldn’t have been occupied and their Jewish community wouldn’t have been deported.”
The Bohemian Forest is a large mountain range on the Czech–German border, with lots of historic landmarks, skiing resorts, protected forests, and spas. It’s called Böhmerwald in German, and Šumava in its native Czech.