We were interrupting brunch, but Fima invited us to join him and his Ukrainian friend Pavel at the kitchen table. Fima had given up on keeping Kosher, and I assured him that it didn’t matter to me; nevertheless, he insisted on donning the Jewish star for the photographs. When we sat down to eat, I tried to get Fima, who was only a few years younger than I, to share stories about his grandparents and village life in Bratslav, the old days. But what he wanted to talk about was the war and the horrors of the camp known as the “Death Loop,” a few miles away in Pechora, where his parents had been taken. In my obsession with the pogroms in the early part of the century, I had been unaware of how the Holocaust had unfolded in Ukraine.

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