Hitler in Central America
?The Sikoras are dying out!? I shouted as I awoke. ?The Sikoras are dying out!?
The long dream had started in the Jewish cemetery. The graves of my maternal relatives
seemed to be going up everywhere, two or three under construction while the cement was
still fresh on the others, like a poorly planned but teeming slum of the dead. While the
Schifters, my father's family, were reproducing like yeast, my mother's side was experiencing
a population implosion. Before long, there would be more of us within the cemetery's brick
walls than out.
Hector asked me to calm down. ?Stop bringing the house down with your shouting,? he said.
?There are still some relatives of your mother left. It's true that some of them are a little
mentally defective, but there are others who can keep the species alive.?
?You mean I had a nightmare?? I asked.
?Another one,? he said, referring to the dreams I had been having all week. ?I guess you
won't be able to go to sleep right away. So,? he added without much enthusiasm, ?why don't
you tell me your dream? It might help you to settle down.?
San José's Jewish cemetery is located in a southwestern district of Costa Rica's capital,
behind the much larger Catholic cemetery. The property was bought on April 19, 1931; my
grandfather, David Sikora, was one of the promoters of the project. In one of the early
dreams in the series, I saw him signing a check and handing it over to the seller in the name
of the few Jews then living in the country. ?I intend to have my wife join me here,? he told
the seller, ?and I want a plot for her. If I have to strangle her one day, I don't want her buried
in the streets like a dog.?
On October 9, 1932, the first burial took place. My grandfather was thrilled. ?Didn't I tell
you that it was good to think ahead?? he said to the other members of the Chevra Kiddushe,
the religious board that managed the cemetery and made sure that the dead were buried
according to prescribed rituals. ?We already have our first tenant.?
?The man's lucky,? said Don José, a fellow Jew. ?He bought this plot dirt cheap.?
?Yes, sir,? said my grandfather. ?Just imagine what it's going to cost to live here in fifty
In another dream, I had seen myself in the present, entering the cemetery alone. Over the
decades, the population of the graveyard had indeed grown. Hundreds were there, including