By Felix Nussbaum, “Lovers,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
“Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love.”
–Leonard Cohen, “Dance Me to the End of Love”
Felix and Miriam hurried to reach the new hiding place along the coast. Felix had lost count of the number of places in which they’d hidden. Was it four? Five? In each, he had painted or sketched with whatever materials he could find. The urge to create was powerful.
Although most waterways were heavily fortified, Felix had been told the patrols in this rocky area were infrequent. Still, he wished the night was not so clear.
“I could swim to freedom from here, even with the rocks and waves,” said Miriam. She was a champion swimmer before war and restrictions intervened.
“You could, my little fish,” he replied, as he looked around. Something about the deserted quay did not feel right to Felix. He had always trusted his instincts.
“You hide here,” he told her. “I have a bad feeling about this place. If it’s OK. I’ll let you know. If it’s a trap, you must run for freedom.”
“But I can’t leave you,” Miriam replied.
“You must. For the sake of our child.” He put his hand on her belly.
She nodded. “First though, we must make a wish on that bright star.”
They held hands and closed their eyes. Then Felix clutched her, kissed her, and left.
He entered the deserted building. In the seconds before the Germans kicked in the door, he heard a faint splash in the distance. He had a good feeling that his wish had come true, and Miriam had escaped. He smiled as they beat him, knowing in his soul, that at least one of his creations would survive.
This is in response to Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge.
The prompt was the painting above by Felix Nussbaum. His family were German Jews who had been proud Germans. His father was a WWI veteran. Felix and his wife, Felka, also an artist, hid in several locations before they were discovered and sent to concentration camps. Felix Nussbaum’s entire family was murdered at Auschwitz. The Leonard Cohen song played in my mind with this painting.