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Short Fiction for Hanukkah: “Fidelis”

I’m honored and delighted to report that the 2011 “Hanukkah Lights” broadcast on National Public Radio features my short story, “Fidelis.” Local broadcast dates and times vary, but you can listen online any time.

In “Fidelis,” I tell another story of World War II, but this time the attention shifts to the Pacific theater. I won’t say too much more than that for now. But I’ll be posting more about the history and resources behind the story in the not-too-distant future.

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7 Responses »

  1. I heard the story yesterday afternoon on WNYC. I really enjoyed it. I felt as if I knew Jack well, as if his relationship with Alice and his parents–and his faith–we’re things I could have experienced myself. The story was instantly about people I cared about. Very nice job.

  2. I heard the story yesterday in my car on my way to shop for Christmas presents. Long after I had reached my destination, I parked my car in the lot, and waited for the full telling of your story. It gripped me to my seat. Wonderful.

  3. Erika –
    My Uncle Sidney could have been Jack. Sidney wanted to enlist. His Mother, my Grandmother Brainah who could not read English, would not sign for him in either army or the navy because it was dangerous. However she did not know about the marines, so she signed and Sidney was sent to Camp Lejeune and then to the Marhall Islands, Saipan and Iwo Jima where he got his Purple heart.
    Sidney passed away a month ago; he was my favorite Uncle. Like I said he could have been Jack.
    I will forward your beautiful story to his children.
    Chaf sameach, only simchas,
    Mick Jaron
    Nahariya, Israel

    • Mick, thank you so much for sharing your family’s story with us. My condolences on your uncle’s passing. All the very best to you.

      • And thank you too, Erika. There is a related corollary to my comment, which goes to WHAT ONE JEW CAN DO:
        One of the three major battles that my uncle was involved in was on the island of Saipan. Being curious as to what took place there, I did some research, and found the citation of a Medal of Honor recipient, Captain Ben L. Salomon, which is quoted below
        What I glean from the citation, among other things, is what one Jew, albeit a non-combattant, can do when properly motivated. By extension, this is what could have been done in Europe during the same time period, if only our leadership pointed us in the right direction.
        CAPTAIN BEN L. SALOMON
        UNITED STATES ARMY
        For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
        Captain Ben L. Salomon was serving at Saipan, in the Marianas Islands on July 7, 1944, as the Surgeon for the 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. The Regiment’s 1st and 2d Battalions were attacked by an overwhelming force estimated between 3,000 and 5,000 Japanese soldiers. It was one of the largest attacks attempted in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Although both units fought furiously, the enemy soon penetrated the Battalions’ combined perimeter and inflicted overwhelming casualties. In the first minutes of the attack, approximately 30 wounded soldiers walked, crawled, or were carried into Captain Salomon’s aid station, and the small tent soon filled with wounded men. As the perimeter began to be overrun, it became increasingly difficult for Captain Salomon to work on the wounded. He then saw a Japanese soldier bayoneting one of the wounded soldiers lying near the tent. Firing from a squatting position, Captain Salomon quickly killed the enemy soldier. Then, as he turned his attention back to the wounded, two more Japanese soldiers appeared in the front entrance of the tent. As these enemy soldiers were killed, four more crawled under the tent walls. Rushing them, Captain Salomon kicked the knife out of the hand of one, shot another, and bayoneted a third. Captain Salomon butted the fourth enemy soldier in the stomach and a wounded comrade then shot and killed the enemy soldier. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Captain Salomon ordered the wounded to make their way as best they could back to the regimental aid station, while he attempted to hold off the enemy until they were clear. Captain Salomon then grabbed a rifle from one of the wounded and rushed out of the tent. After four men were killed while manning a machine gun, Captain Salomon took control of it. When his body was later found, 98 dead enemy soldiers were piled in front of his position. Captain Salomon’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

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