The Blanket by Rassiel Pichardo

QCC Student Rassiel Pichardo writes the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of a blanket:

I remember living in some cheap corner store somewhere in Poland and feeling uneasy and uncertain that no one would buy me. This was during a drastic time period it was around 1939 and Hitler was growing much more powerful with many individuals panicking of what he could possibly want to do with many of the Jewish people here. He was an evil, heartless and rather ignorant man. He judged many of these humans for being different and having different beliefs, it seemed as if he used them as a scapegoat placing blame on them for all of his life problems. But, if he feels no one should be different and there should be no diversity then how would I feel as a blanket surrounded by other different blankets made by different people and different fabrics? How should I feel about the other items that are not blankets to begin with? I constantly wondered what was wrong with being “other” or “different” and if Jewish people truly did anything to the Germans to get such hatred from them. As time went by, I was finally given to a family known as the Jacobowitz which led to the most horrific adventure I’ve had of all time.

The Jacobowitz were a sweet, Jewish family who constantly started to travel, trying to get away from Poland as the bad man Hitler has taken it over. During the night, I was used to cover the whole family as much as possible. It was my job to give them warmth, to protect them from the cold and darkness around them and somehow in this drastic time I felt I was able to bring the family close with each other which gave them perhaps a bit of hope and happiness. Oddly as a blanket, I was used for things I never expected to. In the morning, they would put a ton of their belongings such as photos, documents, food, toys and etc. using me as a sack. I never experienced it before but it gave me a sense of worthiness and importance; finally, I was used for much more than just to cover up things not only was I able to keep the family close and warm but help them carry their memories and just run away from all the trouble.

Eventually the family was caught and sent to death camps in late 1943, but oddly enough they still managed to hold onto me as if I grew as a part of the family. I tried to keep them close to one another and warm at nights, but, as a blanket, I could only do the bare minimum and in a matter of time most of the family was separated; father, son, daughters, and mother all taken from one another. I ended up with the son, hoping that I could bring the family back together in one piece, foolishly knowing it would only be a dream and a very difficult one to make come to life. It was finally 1945, nearly two years have passed with only two members of the Jacobowitz family surviving both the son and the father. It was my job to hold the memories of the family and loved ones. It was my job to keep these two safe for the time being. It was my job to make people remember what happened and to never forget that this was real.

As survivors from this Holocaust grew older they began to turn in many items that some might find to be just regular old worthless items but these items had a story to tell and meaning to even those who would never understand the life taken from these families. I became one of those items, just an ordinary blanket who had the chance to be used for much more and was appreciated by the Jacobowitz while most people just take everything they have for granted, even food, not realizing how much they need it. Here I am, now in the Holocaust museum, surrounded by a variety of different items all together holding memories of many names that remain unknown today with stories and lives never shown or told. But, in a way their names and story will be told with all of us together to never forget what has been done to many innocent lives. From milk cans holding messages and documents of ordinary Jewish people, shoes in memory of those who were lost, photographs, marbles and/or toys of the young children, and those amazing artifacts created by the Jews at the camps.

Being here makes me feel as I could keep making a difference as I have for the Jacobowitz, as well as sharing their story and memories. As my way to give back to them and the Jewish community, we all must remember Hitler could not get rid of the Jews for being “different” nor get rid of us, the evidence of his crimes and the suffering of Jews, all different items used for different reasons but all sharing the same story.