Later, word came back through the emissaries about what had happened to poor Uncle Elio. We still attended cheder during these days. I was there with my little cousin Dov, Elio’s son, doing our Hebrew exercises, when he learned the news of his father's death at Borki-Wielke. I will always remember how brave he was. We ran home from cheder together so he could be there to comfort his mother.
This was the first time that an immediate family member of mine had been murdered by the Nazi occupiers. At that moment, it hit home with every member of our extended family—including children like me—that this war was not just about hardship and privation but literally life and death. Contrary to Tateh’s earlier hope that our family could avoid making trouble and ride out the storm, it was now clear every working man in our family—and maybe even the women, children and elderly—were in mortal danger.
After that, we stopped attending cheder.