Remember our fallen heroes,
those who sacrificed,
those who served.
“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men.”
-MINOT J. SAVAGE
While I can’t tell you exactly what form they’ll take, over the next month or so my posts will relate in some way to my upcoming novel A Twist of Hate. I promise to keep the posts short, sweet, and diverse, and I won’t ever ask you to buy my book (unless you want to, of course, in which case I won’t stop you).
Although A Twist of Hate is set in present-day San Francisco, the story has it’s beginnings in France during the Second World War.
In August 1941, the first targeted round up of Jews took place in the the 11th and 12th arrondissements of Paris. Between the years 1941 and 1944, approximately 65,000 Jews were deported from the transit camp located in Drancy, a suburb northeast of Paris, most of them to Auschwitz, virtually all to their deaths.
Today, the poignant memorial depicted above, sculpted by Shlomo Selinger in 1976 and titled The Gates of Hell, marks the Drancy site.
Together, the three main blocks of stone make up the twenty-first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, shin (tooth). For those who are familiar with the tarot, shin equates with the twentieth card of the major arcana: Judgement.
The two flanking stones denote Death’s Gate, while the center represents a minyan—the quorum of ten required for public worship. The seven steps (only three are visible here) stand for the seven days of the week, and the ascent of the victims’ souls.
The two heads that appear at the bottom of the central stone symbolize death, the male and female figures suffering and dignity. Their arms and hair form the Hebrew letters lamed, which has a numerical value of thirty, and vav, which has a numerical value of six. Together the letters recall the thirty-six just men who, according to Jewish tradition, are always present in the world to support the oppressed and undermine their persecutors.
The building behind the memorial is the last of the remaining apartment blocks (La Cité de la Muette) that constituted the Drancy camp. And yes, as incomprehensible as it seems, the building still functions as residential housing.
Where has your research led you?
***GOODREADS ARC GIVEAWAY for A TWIST OF HATE***
May 20 – June 1, 2015