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  • Robert Farago

My Father's Nightmare

Preppers of the world unite?

My father was a Holocaust survivor. When I was growing-up, Peter Farago’s tales of life in the labor camps were like any Dad’s war stories: unimaginably horrific and impossibly distant.

I remember Father giving a talk to my middle school class on his years in the camps. Starving, freezing, working. Watching his fellow prisoners die.

He told his story in a thick Hungarian accent, addressing questions in a matter-of-fact style, putting his and his family’s suffering in historical context.

If ever a man seemed to take his past in stride, it was Peter Farago. But there were times when the mask slipped and my father faltered.

One night when I was around ten-years-old, I woke-up to screaming. A blood-curdling sound straight out of a horror movie.

Only it wasn’t a woman screaming. It was my father. The mournful cries, pitiful wails and desperate pleas of the strongest man I knew.

My father was having a nightmare about being beaten by sadistic guards who’d captured him after an escape. An event that happened not once, but twice.

For the next few nights, I put my pillow over my head so I wouldn’t hear the screams that shook me to my core.

That same week, my father bought a Winchester. His thinking: if he had a gun in real life maybe he’d take it into his dreams and put an end to endless torture.

The recurring dream stopped. The shotgun was relegated to a closet. Father found relief in sleeping pills, not a shotgun.

Decades later, I created a pro-gun blog. My father was non-committal on the issue of armed self-defense. Except to say he couldn’t believe Jews – of all people – were leading the campaign for civilian disarmament.

As we head towards the Fed’s latest recession, as the media shows us lawlessness, I’ve started wondering if Peter Farago would have armed-up and begun prepping? A little? Maybe?

Probably not. After his experiences as an enslaved teenager, his parents murdered in concentration camps, my father became a fatalist. He was always ready – philosophically – for things to go to shit.

Don’t get me wrong. My father was no killjoy. Far from it. He saw life as a tragicomedy. An epic farce to be endured, ridiculed and, when possible, enjoyed.

If the excrement hits the rotating air circulation device, I will draw strength from the man who survived the Nazi nightmare to live the American dream. With a smile on his face? Not during his years of slavery. But later. When it mattered.

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