To Moe Friedman




March 2016



To: Moe Friedman (An Open Letter)

Re: Your Imprisonment In A Nazi Concentration Camp


My dear Moe,


It has been more than sixty-five years since we last had coffee together. We were friends then. Somehow we drifted apart, never to connect again. Even at this late date I’m not sure why. I may be too late in my attempt to contact you now but I decided to try. I figure you must be 91 or 92 years of age, not too old to still be alive and, hopefully, reasonably well.


I remember how you avoided talking about your time in the concentration camp. What was it you were interested in? Real estate. Knowing you then I wouldn’t be surprised that you were very successful.


I recall how reluctant you were to talk about your concentration camp years. There were just a few of your death camp experiences that you did relate to me. Those few stories have stayed in my memory all these years. How can I ever forget your description of what you called "The Deathwatch?"


I can still envision, with a chill, the picture you verbally drew of dying, emaciated men laying in their three-tiered bunk beds, wrapped in their tattered coats, cold and hungry, trying to find a little warmth. They lay there, (you included yourself), watching and waiting for those who were about to die — to die!


Moe, I can still recall the shiver that raced through me when you described the deathwatch. What were these wretched men (you included) watching and waiting for? – BREAD!


Your description of what would take place still haunts me. I can still picture in my minds eye the daily scene of prisoners receiving their bread ration, eating one half and hiding the remainder in the linings of their coats. You said they all did it. That is what the deathwatch was all about I recall you saying. They learned, in order to live, to sense who was about to die. The first one to reach the deceased got his bread ration from the lining of his coat.


I remember that, Moe.


You were a Pole, arrested in Warsaw at the age of 19. You were not in Germany to see the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party. You never saw the crowds in the stadiums and along the streets shouting Heil Hitler and singing Deutschland Deutschland Uber Alles. (Germany Germany Over All). I heard and saw it all on films. You were a victim of the consequences.


Moe, perhaps it is just my deep sense of concern. There is a man running for president of these United States who draws crowds in stadiums and indoor arenas and at airports, crowds who cheer wildly when he embraces slogans like I Will Make America Great Again. He spews anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim hatred. He encourages members of hate groups to publically rally around him. I have a sense of apprehension when I view the cheering crowds and hear the vitriol that is being shouted out by both the candidate and his adoring audiences.


Why do they scream and shout out support for him? There is a common statement made in his support, “He says what I’m thinking!” I can’t help but compare this to the adoring supporters of Adolph Hitler shouting out different but similar themes—hatred of Jews and other so-called inferior people?


Moe, I’m certain that if you still live you will never see this letter. Alive or deceased, it is because I remember you and our friendship that I write to you in a way to relieve my own anxieties over what is happening here in America.


In fond remembrance...


I remain your friend,


Bob Flicker

 © robert 2014