My father, Ben Fleishman, was ten days old when the worst of the 1905 pogroms – anti-Jewish riots - swept the Ukraine. Shortly after, my grandfather Max and grandmother Tillie escaped to America, as did hundreds of thousands of other Jews.
Ten thousand Jews were killed in those government-instigated 1905 pogroms, homes and businesses destroyed, and synagogues burned to the ground. Women young and old were raped by the thousands, and countless children left orphans. The captive Jews of Russia’s Pale of Settlement finally concluded they would never know anything but oppression under the Russian tsar.
One hundred years later, I returned to the Ukraine. I paid my respects at a tombstone honoring the victims of the 1905 pogroms. Then I stood in the square where the Nazis in 1941 rounded up thousands of Jews and marched them off to be executed. In that instant, I realized that had my grandparents not left Russia when they did, I too would almost certainly have perished in a square just like that one when the German army overran the Ukraine in 1941.
A Fine September Morning is the follow-up to my successful debut novel, Goliath’s Head. Prior to beginning my writing career, I was a marketing consultant, senior corporate executive, university adjunct faculty, corporate board member, community volunteer, and an officer in the U.S. Army. I hale from Pennsylvania where I graduated from Berwick High School and Dickinson College. The father of a daughter and twin sons, the grandfather of seven, today my wife Ann and I live with our Siberian cat, Pasha, high on a hill overlooking San Francisco Bay.
Odessa Holocaust Memorial
Copyright 2013 Alan Fleishman. All rights reserved.
Cover photos used under license from Shutterstock:
© Chyrko Olena (bench), grynold (man & woman), Sattva78 (boy)