Aaron 'speaks' of a Jewish boy who loses himself, and even in a sense his own parentage in Israel just before the WWII and then, many years later, 'finds' himself in America, with the help of a wonderful woman. It 'speaks' of love and family and the values we have lost along the way in this world of progress...
Joshua Skindler closed the book that a friend had given him, insisting that he read it. Its contents had troubled his soul greatly. He’d read it to please his oldest friend, Shamuel. Now, he decided it demanded further probing, and began to re-read it, this time more slowly, with utmost care, marking certain passages and pages. The exercise didn’t dispel the impressions that had lingered after reading it for the first time. It intensified them, gave them new clarity and perspective.
The book frightened him profoundly. A self-assured man, meticulous and orderly, with every aspect of his life under control, this new emotion was alien to his heart. He didn’t know what to make of it.
Things had begun to change since 1918 when Germany was forced to surrender after losing the support of its allies, which weren’t willing to continue waging a war they had no hope of winning. After the surrender on November 11th, 1918 that brought World War I to an end, the German Emperor fled to the Netherlands and under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was forced to give up all of its colonies and give land back to France, Poland, Denmark, Belgium, Lithuania and Czechoslovakia in Europe. By 1925, the inflation of Germany’s paper currency seemed unstoppable until the Dawes Plan had enabled Germany to establish a new currency system that now guided the depleted economy.
This plan also regulated payments of war reparations, so that it would not exceed Germany’s ability to pay. One year later, Germany joined the League of Nations. The Young Plan substituted the Dawes Plan in 1929 and made reparation payments easier.
Shamuel had cited many of the above reasons to justify his decision to leave Germany, but most of all, he’d cited the reading of the book Joshua had just finished reading for the second time.
“It’s all there, Joshua, read it for yourself. It’s an omen of things to come and I intend to be far away when it becomes a reality,” Shamuel had said to his childhood friend.
“You can’t be serious, Shamuel. You are leaving your country because of a book?” Joshua had asked, astounded.
“Yes,” had been the firm reply. “By the end of the month, all of my holdings will be liquidated and I will take my family to safety.”
“Where will you go?”
“To Amerika. They were responsible for the ending of the great war, weren’t they?”
“But you don’t even speak the language, Shamuel,” he had argued vehemently.
“A language can be learned, my friend,” Shamuel had replied, “The dead are forever silent.”
“All of this because of a book?”
“No, Joshua. The book only helped me see what was already there, it brought it into focus.”
“When are you leaving?” Joshua asked finally.
“If all goes according to plan, by the middle of next month.”
“I will miss our talks, Shamuel, our friendship...”
“Don’t miss them then, Joshua. Come with us.”
“I cannot do that. All the family I have in the world is here in Munich. My brother, Johan, his wife and children, my own wife and son, my bank.”
“None of that will matter, Joshua. Bring them all with you,” Shamuel had insisted.
“It matters to me, it would matter to them. This is our home, our country, we must help in the rebuilding, in bringing Germany back from chaos. It’s our duty as citizens,” he had argued.
“Citizens? When have we been treated as true citizens?” Shamuel retorted angrily. “They are cordial when they need your bank to finance one of their ventures, or when they want a piece of jewelry from my store to impress their mistresses or appease their wives, but that’s about it. We aren’t considered true citizens, we never have and we never will.
“I don’t share your views, Shamuel. My family and I have a good life here. You are asking too much of our friendship.”
“Am I? I don’t think so. At least, promise me you will read the book with an open mind... please, old friend... you must promise me this much.” Shamuel had insisted.
“Will you leave me alone if I do?” he’d answered with a resigned expression.
“Very well. I’ll read it tonight and discuss it with you tomorrow. Maybe then, I’ll be able to dispel your fears and intent of doing something as absurd as leaving.”
“According to this man Aaron, the Jews, are responsible for the poisoning of the German Race. He claims we are impure and must be eradicated, wiped from the face of the earth.” Joshua paused before adding, “This man took speech lessons from an actor. The contents of his speeches is poor and his German is bad, but his audiences keep growing, because he sways them with dramatic cries and gestures.”