by Ibi Grossman
"Mommy, Mommy please give
little piece of bread,
I am hungry, very hungry!
Just this little Mommy."
My two year old son put his two tiny fingers together
Showing just how little he wanted.
How can I say to a baby
that we don't
have any bread?
And soon we are all going to die of hunger?
It has been a week now that we have had hardly any nourishment
And for the last two days nothing but water.
"Tomorrow, my son, tomorrow maybe the war will be over,
And you will have all the bread you want!
Hush, hush little one, go to sleep, don't cry
Mommy will hold you, my darling and sing you a lullaby.
Another day passes and the
And our bodies weaker and weaker.
I'm very tired. Very sleepy,
But I can't be! I have my son to take care of
I have to live for him.!
"Just one more day darling, Here, take a sip of water.
And the next day comes and goes
But no food, only hope,
Hope that tomorrow we will be free.
The next morning we hear unusual noises
Some excitement among the starving people.
We all rush out to the courtyard
And there , he is a - Russian Soldier,
Who just liberated us!
I run out of the Ghetto,
Puts strength into my frail body.
I run to our house, to our old neighbors
So out of breath I can hardly speak.
"Please give me some bread, only a piece for my baby
He has almost starved to death.
Receiving the precious food
I thank them with tears running on my cheeks.
Back in the Ghetto with the priceless bread
I cut a piece and give it to my child.
He looks at it with wide, unbelieving eyes,
hen crying and laughing and jumping with joy
He bites into the soft, beautiful,
Why Did You Leave Me?
by Ibi Grossman
only four years old when I saw
But your kind and lovely face
Is still in front of my eyes.
You said many times how much you loved me
Then why? Why did you leave me?
many lovely times together
You took me to the park to play
You read my favorite books to me every day
And you said that you always,
Always wanted me close to you.
You held me tight and kissed me,
Then why? Why did you leave me?
been three years already.
I'm a big girl by now, over seven
But every night when I close my eyes
And before I go to sleep I still think of you Mommy
Why? Why did you leave me?
a children's home now
With many other orphaned children
And I have friends and nannies I like,
But one day, I was told that evil men had killed you
Because there was a war.
But what did you do? What was your sin Mommy?
Why? Why did you have to leave me?
should have told those evil men
That you had a little girl at home,
You should have told those bad people
To leave you alone.
If you loved me and you had told them about me
Then why? Why did you have to leave me?
you when you said you loved
I loved you too, I still do.
But I wish somebody would tell me,
Why? Oh, why did you have to leave me?
by Terrace Holocaust Survivors Group
I speak five languages,
But I have
no words for the Camps,.
have many words for snow,
But we know
only one word for death.
I have only
for many lives.
I cannot cry
and cannot laugh.
I can talk,
and want to talk.
If the new
generations will listen,
Survivors might find words for
By William Heyen
a man has grown a body,
a body to carry with him
through nature for as long as he can,
when this body is taken from him
by other men and women who happen to be,
this time, in uniform,
then it is clear he has experienced
an act of barbarism
when a man has a wife,
a wife to love for as long as he lives,
when this wife is marked with a yellow star
and driven into a chamber she will never leave alive,
then this is murder,
so much is clear,
a woman has children,
children to love for as long as she lives,
when the children are taken from her,
when a man and his wife and their children
are put to death in a chamber of gas,
or with pistols at close range, or she starved,
or injected by the thousands, or ripped apart,
by the thousands, by the millions,
when we remember,
when we touch the skin of our own bodies,
when we open our eyes into dream
or within the morning shine of sunlight
and remember what was taken from these men,
from these women, from these children gassed and starved
and beaten and thrown against walls
and otherwise exterminated in ways appearing to us almost
beyond even the human imagination,
then it's clear that this is the German Reich,
when we read a book of these
when we hear the names of the camps,
when we see the films of the bulldozed dead
we read these things or see
then it's clear to us that this
happened, and within the lord's allowance,
this work of his minions, his poor vicious dumb German victims
into swastika shapes of trees struck by lightening,
on this his earth, if he is our father,
if we must speak of him in this way, this presence above us,
this mover, this first cause, this spirit, this curse,
this bloodstream and brain-current,
this unfathomable oceanic ignorance of ourselves,
this automatic electric Aryan swerve, this
you and I were not the victims,
this luck that you and I were not murderers,
this sense that you and I are clean and understand ,
this stupidity that gives him breath,
gives him life
as we kill them all, as we killed them all.
SOURCE: Gargas 78 – 80
tortured children Cleverly. Deliberately. Efficiently. It was a routine
job for them, they worked hard, they tortured children" (Naum Korzhavin) Ritvo
and Plotkin, 158
tongue would have to fail: man’s memory and man’s vocabulary are not
enough to comprehend such pain" (Dante Alighieri) Ritvo
and Plotkin, 171
stood up straight to walk the way man should, but, though my body was
erect, my thoughts were bowed and shrunken to humility"(Dante
and Plotkin, 243
after all, was not what our enemies did, but
what our friends did." (Hannah Arendt) Kaplan, 17
no sex, was the secret about which the grown – ups
whispered, about which one wanted to hear more" (Ruth Kluger) Kaplan, 94
had terrible hunger pangs, but worry about where I was to
spend the night made all the pain seem insignificant" (Camilla Neumann) Kaplan, 201
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