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  • Jane

...Remember when you bashed up the bullies?!


These days, when mum's alert, I recount stories that she has told me over the years. She is mesmerised, like a young child listening to a fairy tale. Sometimes she recalls the story and other times she has forgotten it.

Here is one of those stories from her life's memoirs.

Marysia & the 3 bullies, 1935 (Illustration by Sid Sledge, 2023)

Here's the excerpt where she recounts this story:

It was the mid-1930s. Hitler had come to power in Germany and the rise of anti-Semitism was echoing throughout Europe. The thousands of ethnic Germans in Zgierz influenced the Poles in their growing hatred of the Jews. My Jewish school friends walked an extra mile home on top of their regular route because they were scared of Polish youths waiting to attack them with fists and stones.

Three brothers, sons of a butcher, lived in my street and every afternoon around 3 pm they sat in the gutter waiting for their victims. I was around 13 at the time and was fed up with those three thugs. One afternoon, I grabbed my cricket bat and ran, slamming each boy on the head. Thump, thump, thump!

Suddenly I did not feel so brave anymore and raced back home to hide under my bed. I was not such a great hero after all. My parents were unaware of what had happened and were shocked when the boys’ father appeared at our door, screaming, ‘Where is your swine?! She nearly killed my boys! Blood is running down their heads!’

Scared as I was, I proved to myself that revenge works. After that, when I walked down the street, those thugs kept to the other side, far away from me and my bat.


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