Wednesday March 2, 1944
How on earth did entrepreneurs like my grandparents become socialists? They were completely dependent on a capitalist enterprise, their mom-and-pop store. My grandfather even wrote yesterday “In this weather not a soul appears in the store, but we will try to send you 3 dol.” They had a small bicycle store and worked hard selling some news ones but, mostly, refurbished used bikes. My grandfather, trained to be a rabbi and scholar, discovered in this country the joy of working with his hands fixing the bikes up – straightening bent wheels, repairing twisted chains, and painting the bikes so that they worked and looked as good as new. They not only supported themselves but my mother and father and me while my father waited for the Army to call him up. The roots of their allegiance must go back to the unspeakable conditions they endured in Russian-controlled Poland and Lithuania. They grew up under the heavy hand of the Tsars in times of unfathomable excess among the gentry and nobility. They had witnessed brutal pogroms unleashed against Jews whenever the Tsar wanted to distract his subjects from the unspeakable misery of their lives. Those experiences in themselves might have been enough. But now there was the evidence of Nazi atrocities even worse than what the Tsars had committed. And Stalin’s government was winning glorious victories for the Allies. Why, just this week they had trapped a Nazi garrison in Estonian stronghold of Narva.