Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Yellow Badge

Heinrich interjected, “Better yet, I could come there at some time in the future. I would have to make arrangements, but I’m sure I could do it.” He was hoping the idea would appeal to her and was surprised by her reaction. “You know, that might work. Hmm, where would you stay? And what kind of pressure would that put on me? But, it would be fun showing you around Krakow! I feel safer there than in Germany.” She was excited about the idea, “When could we do it? Are there any holidays we could take advantage of?” She was thinking of Jewish ones and he immediately thought of Catholic ones. “It would take several days of traveling -and you would need to spend at least a week to make it worthwhile - can you be gone that long?” Heinrich scanned the future and didn’t exactly see a two week slot, but thought one could be made. “Summer can be kind of slow, especially when it gets hot. I could give my helper some time off, maybe with some pay; I’m sure he’d love that! Course, it would depend on the workload.” Normally, he wouldn’t be so magnanimous, but the glitter of the hidden coins and the idea of seeing Rebekah was captivating.

Sarah said nothing during this time but projected the impact of this on her and their Mom by saying, “What would Mother and I do?” Heinrich knew this was an unsung need, and fought the temptation to ignore it. He asked,“Do you have any plans this summer?” He knew very well that her primary job was staying home with their Mother. His leaving shouldn’t jeopardize them, but he was sure they would miss him. He really didn’t want to consider the safety of the trip; he knew bandits were a possibility. What if the Church sent soldiers to arrest Luther? Then he thought again about the wisdom of leaving Wittenberg. As he digressed in thought, Sarah replied, “Maybe we all could go!” Sarah had never been farther than the borders of Saxony, let alone Poland; the thought was exciting to her. Rebekah didn’t want to squelch Sarah’s enthusiasm, but added, “I recall that you and your Mom were concerned about Heinrich’s last outburst on this subject.” Sarah was embarrassed because she and her Mom were eavesdropping. “When we heard something about ‘moving to Poland’, we were naturally, ahm... curious. Wouldn’t you agree that moving there is more drastic than visiting?” “Yes, it is; but drastic measures sometimes have to be taken. Let’s continue to think about it.”

The road had settled into a fairly flat and straight route, so, with the horses under control, Heinrich asked, “Rebekah, how did those two guys know you were Jewish? You’re not exactly a blonde German, but still...” She replied, I think it happened when my uncle dropped me off; he was wearing the yellow badge. There were some people in the area; those guys must have been there.” “And you don’t have a yellow badge?” Heinrich said. “I guess I should; they’re required in a few places in Poland but I wanted to arrive without a fuss.” “So much for that idea”, said Heinrich. What is on the badge?” Rebekah said, “In addition to a yellow star, the wording in German is "Der Juden Zeichen Welches Sie ihren Kleidern zu tragen schuldig" ("The Jewish badge of guilt which is their tragedy to wear").” Heinrich felt ashamed, and then asked, “You mentioned Poland was good to Jews. Could you say more about that?”

No comments:

Post a Comment