"'Your article, therefore, seriously violates the
loyalty requirements set forth in Article 3 of Paragraph 2 in the Office
Regulations, according to which every employee is obliged to refrain in his
statements, pursuits, and publications, from any behavior likely to reflect
unfavorably on OFA . . .'"|
"Come to my office right away," Serge said,
"and we'll talk it over."
The letter upset me completely. To be
dismissed without notice or compensation made me feel that I had committed some
crime that had disgraced the OFA.
I removed my personal possessions
from my desk. No one, not even the girl at the switchboard, dared say good-by
to me or shake my hand.
When I reached the Continental Grains building,
Serge's jaw was clenched, and he shuddered as if he had a high fever every time
he felt his emotions rise. My own feelings didn't show as much, but each of us
had the same lump in his throat.
One of Serge's friends tried to calm
us down. "Stop this," he said. "You can take it all back, since you've been
given an opportunity to reply to the charges against you within two weeks."
Another said: "Don't get into a complicated and fruitless lawsuit.
Remember, you need the money. Get a better job."
A third said: "Now you
can see what it costs to lead a crusade."
That was too much. I didn't
want to listen to them any longer. Serge took me to a bistro on rue des
Saussaies, where we sat looking across a table at each other and saying
"How can I take your being fired without making some protest?"
said Serge. "You're the first woman in France since the war ended to tell the
truth about a Nazi. That would be the worst kind of submission."
reached for my hand across the table and kissed it. There flashed into my mind
a photograph of a young couple lined up on the rubble of the Warsaw ghetto with
other Jews about to be massacred. Standing in ranks before them, helmeted and
booted and with machine guns in hand, were their S.S. masters. The man and the
woman were leaning against each other, and he was holding her hand. No, he was
not protecting her. It was too late for that. But their love would survive.
They were already at death's gate, yet their eyes and lips showed something
that could not be destroyed the look of two people who love each other.
The picture faded, but it was the turning point of our life. We