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That Day Alone

Van Paassen, Pierre | Dial Press, 1941


p. 313

Nazi troops capture a Rabbi, force him to remove all of his clothing including his wedding ring, bend him over a barrel, and beat him numb with a leather strap (“some [stripes] for Abraham, some for Isaac, and some for Jacob”).  Then they unfasten and display him on a table.   The brown shirts ranged themselves in a semicircle around the table.  One walked over and with a pair of scissors cut the left side of Rabbi Warner’s hair away.  Then he took hold of the Rabbi’s beard and cut the right side of it away.  Then he stepped back.  The troopers laughed and slapped their sides.  “’Say something in Hebrew,’ the S.A. captain ordered.  ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,’ the Rabbi slowly pronounced the Hebrew words.  But one of the other officers interrupted him.  ‘Were you not preparing your sermon this morning?’ he asked him.        ‘Yes,’ said the Rabbi.  ‘Well, you can preach it here to us.  You’ll never again see your synogogue; we’ve just burnt it.  Go ahead, preach the sermon,’ he cried out.  ‘All quiet now, everybody.  Jacob is going to preach a sermon to us.’  ‘Could I have my hat?’ asked the Rabbi.  ‘Can’t you preach without a hat?’ the officer asked him.  ‘Give him his hat!’ he commanded.  Someone handed the Rabbi his hat, and he put it on his head.  The sight made the S.A. men laugh the more.  The man was naked and he was shivering.  Then he spoke.  ‘God created man in his image and likeness,’ he said.  ‘That was to have been my text for the coming Sabbath.’”