year in December the Abners celebrated the Festival of Lights known as Chanukah.
It is a holiday which lasts for eight days. A candle is lit on the first night
of the holiday and for eight nights an additional candle is lit until there are
nine candles, one for every evening of the holiday and an extra one which acts
as the servant light. The family would gather around the table and play “dreydel”,
a sort of top which has Hebrew letters on four sides. The player gets a number
of walnuts, depending on which side the dreydel lands. He who gets the most is
the winner and can eat them all.
last Chanukah that the Abners were together the parents bought a pair of ice
skates for their daughters to share. Droozy loved looking at those shiny steel
blades and pictured herself gliding majestically on the ice, or watching her
sister do the same. It was the year when Droozy was eight and her sister ten.
Shortly after that holiday the children’s beloved father escaped to America.
Because Droozy’s Mama did not yet have an affidavit to go along they had to
Abner moved to Breslau with her daughters and her infant son to be with her
sister Mathilde. Droozy’s two boy
cousins also lived in their apartment with them. The cousins hid since they knew
that Hitler’s soldiers would come and throw them into prison, known as a
concentration camp, or would even kill them by sending them to a gas oven
because of their Jewish religion.
was very frightened because she knew what would happen if her cousins were found
by the Nazis (Hitler’s soldiers).
Frau Schmidt, the manager of the apartment house where Droozy and her
family now lived, came to knock on the door one day and demanded that Droozy
give her the ice skates, the children’s very last toy. When neither Droozy nor
her sister would give them up, Mrs. Schmidt became very angry. She shouted in a
screaming loud voice that should they continue to refuse she would notify the
Nazi soldiers that the cousins were hiding and exactly where she believed they
were. Droozy knew instantly that this would mean severe punishment
for her beloved mother, aunt, her cousins, her baby brother, her sister and
herself. The little brother was crying as if he sensed what was happening. With
a trembling hand Droozy’s mother gave those shiny silver skates to the woman.
Mama comforted her daughters by telling them that people were more important
than things. It was a sad day for the family because they knew that many more
frightening things were awaiting them.
Martin escaped on skis out of Germany while cousin Maurice was found and taken
to a concentration camp where he was beaten every day; given very little spoiled
food and kept in that prison for many weeks. He eventually got out and escaped
to Sweden, a country in Europe.
Droozy and her sister would forever remember those horrible times.
They began the day that they “lost” their ice skates.