Skip to comments.103 Year Old Recalls Chocolate Deprivation World War I
Posted on 05/20/2013 3:37:38 PM PDT by nickcarraway
This recollection was submitted to my Chocolate Chronicle--please submit your favorite chocolate recollections, especially if they may have Jewish connections. Dr. Marcus eats chocolate every day of his life and has reached the amazing age of 103. He remembers:
'I was the youngest of four children, the only boy. I had one Father and four Mothers. We owned one large Swiss chocolate bar. When World War I broke out in 1914, my Father showed us children the bar and said you can look at it, but you cannot eat it until the war is over, then each of you will get an even share. With that he took the bar and locked it into a drawer. I carefully watched where my Father put the key.
From time to time, when I was sure that nobody was looking, I got hold of the key, opened the drawer, took out the bar and smelled the chocolate. Then I placed the bar reluctantly and very carefully where I had found it, locked the drawer and placed the key back where my Father had placed it originally. After four long years of suffering and deprivation caused by the war (World War I), finally came the day when the German people were told "the war is over".
The unexpected outcome of total surrender of all German forces was followed by complete absence of order and discipline by the civilian population. The Kaiser had to flee for his life, but I had the bar of chocolate on my mind. I gently reminded my Father, he agreed that the time had come, called all four children together and handed the bar to my oldest sister, Grete with strict instructions to hand each of us an even amount of chocolate.
When my turn came (I was the youngest and last) in line, the thunderbolt had struck already. The chocolate by lying next to a bag of mothballs for four long years had surrendered its sweet smell and flavor to the all penetrating smell and taste of the mothballs. We all decided to return the bar to my Father, who agreed and threw it out, and so ended my long wait for a piece of Swiss chocolate.
What do we learn? As Pirkei Avot (2:20, 21) teaches: "You are not required to do all the chocolate eating, however, neither are you free to desist from it."
This was first posted at jews-onthechocolatetrail.org
In search of something to bind his meatloaf recipe, he found....Kero-Syrup....
Fascinating story with a bittersweet ending. Thanks for posting.
Interesting. Family and I haven’t had chocolate for a long time (don’t know how long) and don’t really miss that or any other profligacy of the past.
It has been my experience that chocolate bars don’t keep for very long. If that is so, they should have gobbled it up at the start of the war.
Whereas the delicious flavor of moth balls increases over time.
I don’t know why the father thought the chocolate could last four years. Of course, he didn’t know when the war was going to be over. But from past experience, Christmas chocolate, unless frozen, better be eaten within about six months.
I think the chocolate had symbolic significance more than anything else. It was a symbol of hope, and that there would be something after the war. Maybe it was more valuable as that, then if they had just eaten it anyway.
You are probably correct.
Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow the chocolate may taste like moth balls.
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