Sarah doesn’t remember the exact moment when Father and Mother decided it was time to leave as the Gestapo were tightening around Toulouse.
For me, now, I can’t imagine a more horrifying decision. How do you decide that it’s time to leave everything behind and, literally, run for the hills?
You’re leaving your country, your home, everything you know because one particular day you find that life is unbearable and you’ve run out of choices.
You are being hunted.
I can only try to imagine the tears and vexations of my mother when, despite her protests, it was time to go.
Largely through the efforts of the Catholic priest who studied Talmud with my father, and who had contacts with the French Underground, arrangements were made. They packed up. One suitcase. Plus a backpack. The backpack would be used by my father to carry me across the Pyrenees.
I cover much of that in “Escape from Mount Moriah,” a memoir about arriving in Montreal. That’s my story about being a refugee.
So today there are new stories about newer refugees; Trump’s restrictions to modify the influx from certain Muslim lands, and the protests here and abroad to stop Trump. They carry signs saying, “We are all immigrants,” and I say yes, but not all immigrants are alike.
We had no Israel. We had nothing. We had nobody.
I’m speaking here for ourselves, a family of four, and the millions of other families who were trapped, caught and slaughtered.
Roosevelt had clamped the doors to America except for a quota here and there and it was the same for Canada under Mackenzie King.
Chuck Schumer wasn’t around to weep for us as he weeps for the Muslims and in fact the policy for us was entirely different.
The man who ran the immigration office for Canada spoke for both his country and for America when he flatly declared, “None is too many.”
He was speaking about the few of us – the few Jews that had somehow survived Hitler’s systematic genocide.
I say systematic because there has never been anything like that, when a nation, Germany, takes it into its head to obliterate an entire population.
So there is absolutely no comparing Muslim immigrants to Jewish immigrants – for them it’s civil war, Arab against Arab – and they have choices.
For us it was a methodical and diabolical plan to obliterate us from the face of the earth…in which nearly everybody had a hand, including Islam.
We had no choices.
Today we call it the Holocaust. Back then it had no name. The victims, the prey, the hunted; they only knew it as a world war against them and them alone.
For what reason? What had they done? Had they committed acts of terrorism? There’s nothing like that on record.
But it is for them and for their god that the world weeps today.
For us the Christian world was silent, in fact complicit, and some Jews living in freedom spoke up, but not nearly enough.
Today they speak up for Muslim immigrants.
These include American and Canadian Jews who had no tears for Jewish immigrants – immigrants who came not seeking a better life.
We were seeking life, period.
So please spare me your broken hearts. The refugees of yesteryear could have used your righteousness.
You are too late and you were nowhere to be found when your true brothers and sisters reached out for your hand but instead found a cold shoulder.
New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. New from the novelist: “News Anchor Sweetheart,” a novelist’s version of Fox News and Megyn Kelly. Engelhard is the author of the international bestseller “Indecent Proposal.” For books like his award-winning memoir “Escape from Mount Moriah,” he is the recipient of the Ben Hecht Award for Literary Excellence. Website: www.jackengelhard.com