Is this really Skala? My first impression of the ramshackle town, upon arriving after a long day’s drive over secondary roads from Lviv, does little to settle the queasiness I’ve been feeling for several days now. Having left my usual frame of reference, New York City in 1999, I’m still finding my bearings in this strange Ukrainian dreamland I’d last glimpsed more than half a century before—a place where the boundaries between past and present have blurred...
Quotes from this chapter
I feel again like my young self, rushing even faster as my family members straggle behind. I wonder, will the barn still be standing after more than half a century?
“Noch ein tog,” he would say at the end of every day.
After all these years, I have finally returned to the place that shaped the person I survived to become.
In the twilight, Miroshka takes me to Olenka’s gravesite, where I pay my respects and speak to Olenka in her grave, explaining my decision to have her honored in Jerusalem.
In 1999, Ukraine has entered another era. It is an independent state with western ambitions but still beset by ingrained tendencies toward corruption and superstition.
Book excerpts about the people, places and events mentioned in the book
Skala survivor and community leader who passed away in 2018
Ukrainian townswomen of Skala who provided sustenance for Munye, Shulem and Lonye
Polish resident of the Mazury who who scorned Munye in 1942-43
The author's partner in life and business
Ukrainian livery driver who smuggled Munye and Shulem out of Borshchow
The author's father, a tinsmith by trade, was also a survivor
The author's mother who urged him to "Run, my child."
Son of the author who followed him in the roofing and property management trades
The author's grandfather was a prominent figure in Skala
The author's daughter also entered the family business
Jewish journalist and interfaith activist; co-author of Live Another Day
Last rabbi from Skala's family rabbinical dynasty
Michael's childhood home until Skala was declared "Judenrein"
Nazi extermination camp where most of Skala's Jews were murdered
Michael received food scraps but little kindness in Polish outpost on the edge of the forest
Father's workshop was where the family business began
Polish border town where Michael was born and experienced his ordeal
The same barn where Munye hid from the Nazis is still standing a half-century later