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Jewish Journal

103 Year Old Recalls Chocolate Deprivation World War I

by Rabbi Debbie Prinz

May 19, 2013 | 10:19 am

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Deborah R. Prinz’s book, On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao, was published in...

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