Barnes & Noble.com
A Novel Set in the jewish Ghetto of warsaw 1943. The book tells the story of a group of children known as the 'Gang' who risk all by running the Nazi gaunlet to smuggle food into the walled ghetto at a risk of summary execution.
Starvation was a deliberate Nazi policy. the amount of rationed food allowed to the jews would change from week to week, sometimes from day to day.To buy or sell to Ayran traders, or attend Aryan doctors surgeries in the quest for medicines was punishable by death. Even to leave the walled ghetto limits, thus the smuggler was born; anything that could be bought or stolen was brought into the ghetto under the very noses of the aggressors. Most took bribes to turn a blind eye.
If the Jewish ghetto can be said to have life's blood, then these young smugglers aged from 5 onwards kept it flowing.But on the whole smuggling was a very dangerous occupation, ususally undertaken by the by the children of the wall. This story follows the fortunes of the youngsters Leon, Josef and his sister Emillia, Michal, and massacre survivors Hanka and Moshe both aged 6 known as the 'Gang'. Wanted by the Nazis, set up by informers as they ran the streets of Warsaw.
This is their story of utmost bravery and dogged determination, often ending in sadness and death at the hands of the brutal Nazis
Josef came to in a dark dank cell. He felt like he had been trampled by herd of Buffalo. His head throbbed from the flesh wound across the side of his of his scalp. He gingerly touched the blood matted area above his right ear. A thin trickle blood had dried on his cheek. He cringed with pain and looked at his bloodstained fingertips.
The air was rank with stale human sweat. He looked around in the almost dark surroundings. He couldn't see a window so he did not know it was either day or night. The cell was so depressing it was enough to force you to commit suicide.
Hysterical screams echoed through the silence. Josef felt the hairs prickle on the back of his neck. More screams and whimpering followed mixed with sound of dull thuds like someone being beaten.
"You might think you were lucky to survive, but being brought here your chances are not very good." Spoke a voice in the darkness from across the cell.
"Who are you?" asked Josef straining his eyes to see through the murky gloom.
"Sorry, my name is Marcin. I have been here a couple of days, I think."
"I'm Josef they nailed me last night," he said touching the tender spot again.
Marcin crawled over to him, his face was swollen, his eyes black, and most of his teeth were missing. He forced a smile through his blood caked lips. "Glad to know you son. Not best of places to meet."
Josef was horrified at the state of him; he was filthy and covered in congealed blood. "What happened to you?"
"I didn't say what the bastards wanted to hear from me, so they tried to beat it out of me. You can't tell what you don't know."
Josef felt a little panicky. "How long do they hold us for?"
"Depends on what they decide on, maybe the noose, firing squad, or sometimes they might even let you go." Josef quickly changed the subject, he was scared enough without all this talk. "What did they get you for Marcin?"
"I was supposed to have printed posters decrying the Nazis and Hitler. Someone gave me up, I wish I knew who?"
"Is that all?"
"They could hang me for that alone. What are you doing here?"
"I have no Idea; they took a shot at me, and put a groove above my ear."
"So they were trying to kill you, maybe they thought you were a Jew from the ghetto on a smuggling run."
"Maybe, maybe." he muttered. "I'm a Pole with nowhere to go. I came here looking for my parents with my little brother."
Marcin touched a loose tooth with his fingertips and flinched. "What happened to him?"
Josef shrugged his shoulders. "I have no Idea. I'm hoping he's lying low somewhere safe."
Marcin quickly shrank back into the darkness as the sound of heavy footsteps sounded outside the cell door, then they heard the rasping of bolts being drawn back. The heavy door was flung open. A heavy set Jailer stood in the doorway. He pointed to Josef menacingly with a long stick. "You boy, get yourself outside!" He snarled.