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Shield of Safety

By: Mitzi J. Levin
Survivor: Hirsch, Aisic

A soccer ball. Less than 12 inches wide and weighing just a few pounds.

Something so small became a powerful shield of safety for Aisic Hirsch as a child. He was the only Jewish member of the school soccer team and was known as the star player. On the field he was respected and admired. Off the field, he was the target of antisemitism.

“There was a bridge near our school that we crossed each day. The non-Jewish boys would hide and wait on the Jewish  children to come by. They would pelt us with rocks, call us ugly names, and pick fights.

“The only way I had to protect myself was by calling out, ‘It’s me, Aisic, the soccer player.’ When they recognized me, they would stop attacking us, at least until the next time.”