Non fiction

Issue #4

The Boy from Saloniki

I have often wondered if anyone remembers your name, remembers your face, if anyone can recall the colour of your eyes, the smile that played across your lips. I doubt there is anyone left who knew you, held you close.

Moshe Mano, the boy from Saloniki.

I imagine you amongst the dusty streets of Greece playing tag with your sister, darting here and there. I see you skipping under the hot sun to your first day at Cheder, about to embark upon that beautiful odyssey you would never complete. And I wonder how your little personality was forming. Did you like to play the clown, loud and cheeky? Or were you shy, bearing an awkward smile like my own younger brother does?

A boy not even old enough to understand the world beyond the streets you lived on, the circle of family you saw every day and night. A boy running to the other end of town to watch the boats sail by, splashing with your friends in the sea. A boy watching the sun set behind the bay, with red blazon across the sky and then wishing for the sun-rise, impatient to do the same all over again.

Moshe Mano, the boy from Saloniki.

I wonder if you were afraid of that dark, pushed into the train like cattle, treated with such horror and indifference.

I wonder if you’d ever seen snow before, so far from your warm homeland. So much has been written about that cold, that cold of the East that freezes your insides and numbs your body. The elements of a world so unfamiliar to your Mediterranean life.

I wonder if your father held your hand, told you Hazak v'amatz. If you tried to wave goodbye as they tore him away from you.

I wonder if you saw that smoke, billowing against the Slavic sky.

And I wonder what it was, that fixed your name upon my memory

As I searched for my own family. Between my Zilberman and Wolfin, between my Gelulah and Mazurok

There you were

‘Moshe Mano was born in Saloniki to Avraham and Benita. He was a child. Prior to WWII he lived in Saloniki, Greece. During the war he was in Saloniki, Greece. Moshe perished in Auschwitz Camp at the age of 8.’

Kai Smith