Do Jews have horns?

As much as my mother couldn't stop talking, my father could hardly even begin to talk.

Not about his past family, and not about his war experiences. That's why the few stories that he did tell us are precious and I want to preserve them.

My father on a good hair day. And me of course, all bundled up.

My father also became a Russian Partisan. Here's how.

How my father became
a Russian Partisan

He and the other able-bodied men of his village were rounded up and taken to a work camp. His work camp wasn't as heavily guarded as the concentration camps were. There are many unanswered questions about his life before and during the war which will remain unanswered forever. I don't know what sort of work was done in a work camp.

All the prisoners had an escape plan. They had dug a hole under the fence. Only the "kappas" (the spies) did not know about this plan. I find it remarkable that everyone knew who the kappas were.

But no one escaped because they were threatened that if anyone tried to escape, the women and children who had been left behind would be killed.

I don't remember that dog. Must be from a local farm. I was a dog magnet. See my father's hair?

One day, word leaked in that their families had already been murdered. That very night, to a man (except for the kappas), everyone escaped. They split up so that not all of them would be caught. About half of them were caught and killed. My father got away. He too managed to join a group of Russian Partisans. It was not the same unit as my mother's Partisan group. It was coincidence that both my parents were in the Russian Partisans. Or maybe it was fate.

After my father had fought bravely for 3 years alongside his comrades, the question came up: do Jews have horns.

So many
   unanswered questions

Then there are more unanswered questions. My father became a commander in his partisan group. He pronounced it comandeer with the accent on the last syllable. I don't know how high the ranking of a comandeer was. And I'll never know what he had to do to prove himself to achieve this status.

There is only one story he told. It happened at the end of the war. His comrades were joyously looking forward to reuniting with their families. My father told them that his family had been murdered.

Do Jews have horns?

One comrade, astonished, not with ridicule but with the greatest respect, asked him, "Commandeer, you are Jewish? May I feel your horns?"

Myself with my mummy and daddy at the park. You can hardly tell where his hair leaves off and the tree leaves begin.

I asked him "Daddy, what did you say? What did you do?" He didn't answer. He never told me. I imagine one scenario where he cries as he starts to punch his fellow Partisan and the other comrades have to drag him off. I imagine another scenario where he yells, crying in hopeless frustration and rage, "Feel! Feel! Can you find my horns?" Or maybe he simply turned pale in a dignified silence. Your guess is as good as mine.