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  • Jane

A fighter to the end...and a message


Mum has always been a fighter. When things get scary mum is there on the defence.

I remember when I was around 13, mum and I were in Israel traveling on a bus heading to Tel Aviv. The bus was crowded and we were all squashed together. Suddenly a brawl broke out down the back and there was shoving and swearing. In a flash mum pushed me behind her, grabbed her little nail scissors from her handbag, and holding tightly onto them, she squeezed her way towards the problem maker. She pointed her scissors at his chest and yelled: ‘STOP IT’!!  My eyes opened wide like two round moons. Mum was taking him on!

By now the bus driver had stopped and shortly after the police arrived and arrested him.

Our brave Marysia  — forever the fighter —  for peace and justice.

Mum once told me a story of an Incident before the war when she was at a youth camp, Ha'Shomer Ha'Tsair.

….It was August 1939 and I was on a summer camp. Each of us was given a notebook and a pen and told to go wherever we wanted and return in the afternoon, having written down our experiences over the day. I decided to go along the river and a few girls joined me. We reached a meadow where two shepherds were minding the cows. When the boys noticed us, their eyes filled with fire. Suddenly they surrounded us. Feeling danger, the girls started to cry. I observed the situation and grabbed a big branch, screaming at the girls, 'Run back!’ I fought the two boys with the stick, hitting them until one fell. Then I ran back to the camp to join the girls. The next day we had a meeting and I was named ‘hero of the day’. The leaders carried me on their shoulders and paraded me around the camp...

...A few weeks later, in September 1939, Germany had invaded Poland. We were chucked out of our home and moved to Lodz. Soon after we arrived, I was standing in the queue outside the bakery for our bread rations. It was early, about 6 am, when suddenly a few local Poles appeared, kicked me into the gutter, swearing 'You Slut!' and pushed in front of me. Bruised and empty-handed, I went home without any bread.

I thought back to the time at summer camp just months earlier when I was hailed ‘a hero’ after attacking the two leering youths in the meadow. How quickly things change. Now I was ashamed and deflated. One moment I had all the glory, the next I was in the gutter

These incidents formed my approach to life; Be wary of arrogance, always try to stay humble.

1920. Mum (proving she's ‘not too old yet) with her great granddaughter, Sienna.

After all these years, mum's fighter-spirit is still alive and well.


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