In September of 1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland. One week later they captured the city of Lodz. Twenty year old Irena fled her hometown for Warsaw. She had intended to cross the border to Russia, but was too late; the border had been closed. She stayed with friends in Warsaw but food was scarce and she missed her family. Irena decided to go back home.

Because she was Jewish she was forbidden to ride the train. But Irena didn’t look Jewish and she could speak German. So she removed the yellow star from her sleeve and climbed aboard the train departing for Lodz.

The train pulled into the station after the eleven o’clock curfew. As she hurried home, Irena could see a German Officer a few blocks away. So she crossed the street and spoke to him – in perfect German. She told him that she was returning from Warsaw and the train was late; that she was tired and couldn’t wait to get home. She pointed to her apartment building. There was a Nazi flag hanging from the window.

The officer looked at her and said, “Poor girl, run fast, run fast.”

Never one to push her luck, Irena ran, thankful that her landlord was German.


dark night shooting stars      one      by     one


Susan Beth Furst


8 thoughts on “Stars

  1. I am so delighted that this amazing haibun has been published so more people can read this.

    warm regards,

    Alan Summers
    President, United Haiku and Tanka Society


  2. Susan Beth Furst says:

    Dear Alan Summers,
    Thank you so much. I am so happy that Johannes picked this up for publication. Both of you were/are instrumental in the success of this haibun and as you know it has a very deep personal meaning for me. I hope it touches others as well . . . Food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This haibun still haunts me. It’s a case of what if, and what if someone finally lost all their humanity whether still remaining biased, bigoted, racist, or holding onto some niggling conscience.



      1. You will know why I am revisiting this haibun and others on The Other Bunny and elsewhere, later. You capture not only the dynamics of haibun so well, but push the genre so that it goes beyond its ‘form’ and content.



      2. Well, so am I, when I look at your work. I am so glad that Johannes and other editors recognise the strength of and in your writing and want to publish you.


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