Nightmare

The ghosts of Hitler, Khomeini and Stalin and so many others. Innumerable enemies long gone and others taking their place. And they were all gesturing and chuckling, pointing their fingers and laughing loudly. One shadow followed another and quickly faded into one more. Past popes and present kings, princes and common men, all with one common goal: ?Farbren di Jude!? ?Itbach-il Yahud!? ?Ki

Isaac Kohn,

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לבן ריק
Arutz 7
Last night I had a dream; a fitful, sleepless nightmare. I heard screaming voices, terror-filled and deeply pained; agonized screams of tortured people. I tossed and turned as horrid images kept hurtling at me. I saw people, many, many people, perhaps millions, most were faceless, others blurred. Men, women and children; the old straggled, the very young, hardly crawling. Contorted, sad faces; out of breath, some were running as if being chased. By whom, I wondered. Others limped by silently, listlessly, quickly vanishing in a rising thick mist. In my dream, I grabbed at a sleeve. Stop! I yelled. The arm jerked itself free, as the faceless person dashed on in a pell-mell hurry. To where? I noticed a little child. Perhaps three or four years old, eyes wide with terror. I bent down to caress her face, wipe the tears rolling down her reddened cheeks.

?Mama! Mama!? she yelled in fright and slipped way.

In an instant, she, too, quickly vanished.

A group of seven or eight boys stumbled by. Emaciated, unkempt. Staring in silence, their lips mouthing words I couldn't hear. I strained to listen, tried to read the trembling lips. I thought I recognized one of them and raised my voice to call him. The boys moved along quickly; I noticed their faces covered with ash.

?Who are you?? I yelled.

They shook their heads, "Jews condemned to death."

And bodies. Millions of bodies. Burned, torn, buried alive. Whipped, stabbed, tortured, beaten and ripped to shreds. Faces of brothers and sisters. Grandparents? Are they mine?

Like a video, the images of long-suffering generations of Jews continued to flicker in my mind's eye. Silently, I watched the centuries roll by as millions of people, men, women, children, young, old, the sick and the feeble, kept marching down the road. I woke with a start and looked around in the blackness; shadows were slowly creeping on the walls, strange shapes. Images of clenched fists raised and hands clasping bricks and sticks seemed to be everywhere, threatening. Hate written across shadowy faces and thirst of blood deep in their eyes. I jumped in fright as, out of nowhere, a hangman's noose came swinging close; the surrealistic sight of unsheathed swords and the crackling fires of Auto-da-fes. The shadows in my room seemed to close in.

I rubbed my eyes at what I next saw: Ovens, crematoriums, pits, rising smokestacks and sky-high chimneys belching out the sweet yet strongly acrid stench of burning flesh.

A rising crescendo startled me; the drunken sounds of a pogrom and rioters raising hell one more time. Anguished yelling and crying amidst frightening bursts of laughter; "Kill the Jews!", and a deep-throated chuckle echoed in my room. Yellow arm-bands, swastikas, Inquisition's black capes and robes. The crackle of guns, bullets, bombs exploding. Hoofbeats, Jack-boots, Seig-Heil, black and red kaffiyas. People dying. Cattle-cars, women, children, men. Jews.

And I saw names flashing across the ceiling. Names of states, of cities and towns. Names imbedded in Jewish memory; the mere mention sends a shudder and the skin trembles as it shivers in cold sweat. Treblinka, Aushwitz, Bergen-Belzen, Dachau and Babi-Yar. And the images continued to strain my eyes as the memories rattled the mind. I saw expulsions and pogroms, blood-libels, floggings, pillage and mayhem. The faces of millions lined up for deportations and death-march.

I staggered out of bed; the stifling heat threatened to choke me. I ran to the window; perhaps a fresh breeze may cool my troubled senses. Lightning tore across the skies as the clap of thunder rolled across the heavens. The clouds seemed like so many formations gliding across the star-less skies. Is my mind playing tricks on me? I see ghosts floating by. Why are they all laughing? Is that Nebuchadnezar, Titus, Czar Nicholas of Russia? Romans came gliding by. And Greeks and Crusaders and Chmelnitzky's crazed, blood-thirsty mobs. The ghosts of Hitler, Khomeini and Stalin and so many others. Innumerable enemies long gone and others taking their place. And they were all gesturing and chuckling, pointing their fingers and laughing loudly. One shadow followed another and quickly faded into one more. Past popes and present kings, princes and common men, all with one common goal: ?Farbren di Jude!? ?Itbach-il Yahud!? ?Kill the dirty Jew!"

?Leave me alone!? I heard myself scream into the night, as I tore myself from where I stood in the yard, running and stumbling.

It is at that moment that I realized: the nightmare is familiar, nothing new. Over the generations, we were forced to travel on many other 'Road Maps' of different designs and rainbow colors. Some were better dressed, while others had their obvious goal thinly veiled. Their instigators, their architects, their creators and enforcers have long since faded away. But I, the Jew, still survive.

A baby's cry shattered my thoughts; the soft, sad melody of a flute floated in my darkened room. A heart-rending tune, familiar and ancient. The Kaddish! That ancient melody. Why? Why is it being played?
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Isaac Kohn writes from Brooklyn, New York. He can be reached at Isaackohn@aol.com.





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