EXCERPT FROM THE LONG NIGHT
Over their first meal in the dining hall at Grünheide Forced Labour Camp, Ernst receives his fathers’ wisdom:
“In the evening I was very hungry and ate all my food. My father stood next to me, having hardly touched his food, pushing his plate towards me. At first, I refused to accept his portion but he forced me to eat. He encouraged me with his kind, fatherly countenance not to be downcast because the first goal of the Nazis was to destroy our souls.
The only photo of Ernst’s father, Usher Bornstein, who was murdered in Auschwitz. Of Ernst’s extended family numbering 72 in 1939, only six survived the war including himself and his sister Regina
He pulled me towards him and passionately admonished me to fight for my life. The seemingly inescapable present would eventually give way to a future that would disclose other prospects. “You have your whole life in front of you” he said, “every morning your future can be renewed.” He spoke calmly and I felt that he wanted me, the inexperienced pupil who had always been protected, to be reconciled to our situation. Never before had my father spoken to me with such urgency, his words weighed heavily and left their mark forever.”