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[Page 161]

The Great Flood

by D. Kleinbaum-Grosman

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

The flood occurred on a summer day, at two o'clock, in 1927. Kalman Krosman[1] (several years later, my husband) was busy with his work every day in the chocolate factory of his brother-in-law and sister Sura (or, as she was called in the city, Surake). Both Kalman and his brother-in-law Zaduk were busy pouring out the liquid chocolate into the forms. This work had to be done very quickly and nimbly because the chocolate immediately cooled and nothing more could be made with it. It could not be warmed again because it lost its form and taste.

While so engrossed in the work, the heaven suddenly clouded over. It became dark, actually impenetrable darkness. Lightning and thunder began.

Rain suddenly flowed from heaven – a real flood. They looked outside and saw before them only water and water. An ocean! The water began to flow into the factory. They did not think of ending their work. Now there were important things to do. They had to save whatever they could. The poured and finished chocolate lay high up, on shelves, but there was a large amount of goods lying on the floor. But the water was flowing wildly into the factory. There could no longer be any talk of saving anything. Now they had to save their own lives and very quickly because it could be too late.

The factory then was in Tseli's son Shmuel's house that stood near the river. Therefore, the factory was the first to experience the flooding and was ruined.

When the rains stopped and the water receded, we could look at the factory. Here we saw the ruin that the flood had created. Surake and Zaduk Lewengrub, who had worked their way up a bit, were poor people after the flood, because a warehouse full of goods and raw materials worth thousands of zlotes had gone with the water.

It is clear that this flood in Krasnik more than 40 years ago brought the collapse of the entire city, particularly in the quarter that was closest to the river or lay in the lower areas. For many years, the Jewish as well as the Christian residents of the city spoke of this catastrophe and repeated again the details of this event.

 

kra014.jpg
On one of the streets of the shtetl

 

Translator's note:
  1. The author's surname is spelled both as Grosman and Krosman in the text of this article. return

 

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