old-german-bakery-hoboken

 

Jacob and Anna were the nicest elderly couple and were well-loved because they reminded everyone of the typical sweet grandparents. They were also revered because people adored their baked goods including traditional cookies, cakes, and pies. But their specialty was their German pastries.

The aging couple was born in Germany. When young, Jacob worked in his family bakery and married Anna, who as a neighbor would come in to Jacob’s parent’s bakery for cookies, and perhaps to share a glance with Jacob. Eventually the two wed.

Life had been good in the old country until the war. Even before the war, German culture and its government had begun to change. Little did Jacob and his Jewish families know what was in store for them, or for the other Jewish businesses, family members, friends and neighbors.

Both Jacob and Anna were sent to the death camps along with their parents. They were the only two to survive.

Left with nothing when the camps were liberated, the couple welcomed help from the social worker at the temporary military U.S. base outside of Auschwitz. The social worker located family of the couple in Brawley who were willing to take them in.

Anna and Jacob were still fairly young when they arrived in the Imperial County and taken in by extended family members who farmed in the north part of the county.

The couple worked hard in the family agribusiness, and with the help of their cousins, were able to open a little bakery on Main Street in Brawley.

Long hours, many smiles, a love for people, and a servant’s attitude helped them be successful. They could never have children, so they poured their love out on their customers and nieces and nephews. Even with all the loss they had suffered, they never had a bitterness or sense of injustice. They were grateful to God for all they had and trusted in Him.

Things began to change on April 1 of 2015. The men that came into their bakery looked like any other customers, but when they ordered the birthday cake to commemorate Adolph Hitler’s April 20 birthday, anguishing memories flooded back for Anna.

Breathless, Anna politely excused herself, went back by the oven and shared the request with her husband. He stoically returned to the register and stated that they would not honor the request. He stated they were Jewish and had lost family in WW II in Germany and it would be better if they took their order to another bakery in town or COSTCO. The customers began using cuss words to express their disapproval, and left the bakery saying they would hear from their attorney.

Jacob and Anna said a quick prayer, and got back to the business of baking.

This is fiction. Do you think that Jacob and Anna should be run out of town for their prejudice? Do you consider them hateful? If you were in their shoes, what would you do?

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Jim Shinn has lived in the valley for 57 years and was home-schooled in the 1950’s. He was been a counselor at schools, health clinics, drug treatment center and is the director of the Son-Shine Counseling Center. He has written for the Alpine Sun and the Desert Voice and has published 2 books Bedtime Storeezzz and Faith and Loving on the Way to Heaven. He has taught at IVC, SDSU and the University of Redlands and writes to keep sane in a very strange world. He loves Jesus and serves Christ at Valley Baptist Church in Brawley.

2 COMMENTS

  1. People appear lost when you don’t know where they are going. I am part Jewish and have many gay friends. Just wrote the story to encourage people to think and maybe even remember the 147 Christians murdered in Kenya last week. Persecution of Christians and Jews is not mythical. Thank you for reading the Desert Review.

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