chapter  X
5 Pages

The Village Spits Us Out

Skolje was a little town of Jews and Poles and Ukrainians. Father went to the factory, as did all the children over eight. It was a match factory, and it stank of sulphur and phosphorus. Some worked in the joinery, where the raw wood was put through various machines, emerging as matchsticks. Others worked at the frames in which a series of notched bars were set, one next to another, and in each notch was placed one of the finished matchsticks. Others lifted these frames and dipped the matchsticks in a yellow liquid; then they were pushed into the next room, where they were again dipped, this time into a green liquid. From there the frames made their way to the drying room, then to the packing room, where the little children just over eight years of age worked. Over and over again they grabbed handfuls of finished matches from the notched bars and packed them into the matchboxes.