"I pray to the God within me for the strength to ask him the real question."
" And why do you pray, Moishe?"
" What do you expect? That's War..."
"Jews, listen to me! That's all I ask of you. No money. No pity. Just listen to me!
They called him Moishe the Beadle, as if his entire life he had never had a surname. He was the jack-of-all-trades in the Hasidic house of prayer, a shtibl. I met him in 1941. I was almost 13 and deeply observant.
Then, one day all foreign Jews were expelled from Sighet. And Moishe the Beadle was a foreigner. Crammed into cattle cars by Hungarian police, they cried silently. Standing on the station platform, we too were crying. The train disappeared over the horizon: all that was left was thick, dirty smoke.
Day after Day, night after night, he went from one Jewish house to the next, telling his story and that of Malka, the young girl who lay dying for three days, and that of Tobie, the tailor who begged to die before his sons were killed.