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March Of The Living- Testimony - -

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testimony & short articles about the Holocaust


Extermination of the Jews of Tiktin

The following morning, dozens of families streamed toward the market square, wearing their warmest winter clothes and carrying provisions as though for a journey. At a table at the far end of the square, German gendarmes noted down the names of those who arrived (it later emerged that the registration was a sham). The crowd grew larger each moment, and when the square was full, registration ceased, and under the orders of the Gestapo, the Polish Hilfspolizei (auxiliary police) closed off the market on all sides.

The murderers' noisy orders echoed from one end of the town to the other, and were carried out by the Hilfpolizei with great precision. Shortly before , they took up rubber whips and divided the mass of people into three groups: artisans, young people, and the elderly. The wild behavior of the Germans and the crude hints of their Polish henchmen, whose faces openly displayed the desire for murder and robbery, dispelled any illusions. A few fortunate individuals with courage and initiative managed to slip away from the square before it was too late.

At exactly , seven trucks loaded with Gestapo men appeared, with machine-gun barrels protruding menacingly from the rear. The men jumped down and surrounded the square and another selection was made, in the best tradition of German order. Women, children and the elderly were placed on one side, while on the other all the men who were fit to march were lined up, four abreast. The journey to extinction began.

The column, which was over a kilometer long, turned into the main road toward a nearby village. German and Polish guards roamed alongside and anyone who lagged behind was liable to be shot. After the men had left the market square, the "humane" troops of the "master race," with the help of four Jewish men who had been left behind for the purpose, loaded the remaining Jews into the seven trucks, which turned in the same direction as the column.

The sky clouded over and it began to drizzle. The Jews looked back sadly at their native city, unaware that they would never see it again.

Every ten minutes, a truck loaded with dozens of Jews made its way in the direction of the Lopuchowo forest. Three pits had been dug there in advance, two of them 12 meters long, 4 meters wide, and 5 meters deep, and a third smaller one. The transports were thrown alive into one of the large pits, and machine guns positioned at its edge opened fire in a bloodbath from which no one escaped alive. The truck returned every ten minutes and the horrifying scene was replayed until, by evening, over 1,400 Jews had been murdered. At night, the pits were covered by local Poles under supervision of the Germans who, in order to obscure the traces of the barbaric slaughter, told them that the bodies were of war victims who had been brought there for burial. Poles who witnessed the covering of the pits later related that for hours afterward the earth on top heaved and shook from the convulsions of the dying.

The murderers did not desist, however. After a night of revelry arranged in their honor by the Polish notables of Tiktin, the Germans recommenced their activities the following morning. Accompanied by Polish gendarmes, they went from house to house, rounding up all the women, elderly and sick who had not reported to the market square the previous day (over seven hundred in all). They then loaded them onto trucks and transported them to the Lopuchowo forest. The victims were thrown into the second pit, the machine guns opened fire, and the bodies were once again covered with earth by the Poles. At on August 26 the angels of destruction finished their work, and the centuries old Jewish community of Tiktin, with its ancient lineage, was wiped off the face of the earth.

Testimony at the Eichman Trial -Rivka

I had my daughter in my arms and ran after the truck. There were mothers who had two or three children and held them in their arms - running after the truck. We ran all the way. There were those who fell - we were not allowed to help them rise. They were shot - right there - wherever they fell.

When we reached the destination, the people from the truck were already down and they were undressed - all lined up.

There was a kind of hillock. At the foot of this little hill, there was a dugout. We were ordered to stand at the top of the hillock and the four devils shot us - each one of us separately.

When I came up to the place - we saw people, naked, lined up. But we were still hoping that this was only torture. Maybe there is hope - hope of living. One could not leave the line, but I wished to see - what are they doing on the hillock? Is there anyone down below? I turned my head and saw that some three or four rows were already killed - on the ground. There were some twelve people among the dead. I also want to mention what my child said while we were lined up in the ghetto, she said, "Mother, why did you make me wear the Shabbat dress; we are being taken to be shot"; and when we stood near the dug-out, near the grave, she said, "Mother, why are we waiting, let us run!" Some of the young people tried to run, but they were caught immediately, and they were shot right there. It was difficult to hold on to the children. We took all children not ours, and we carried them -we were anxious to get it all over - the suffering of the children was difficult; we all trudged along to come nearer to the place and to come nearer to the end of the torture of the children. The children were taking leave of their parents and parents of their elder people.

We were driven; we were already undressed; the clothes were removed and taken away; our father did not want to undress; he remained in his underwear. Our father was beaten. We prayed, we begged with my father to undress, but he would not undress, he wanted to keep his underclothes. He did not want to stand naked. Then they tore off the clothing off the old man and he was shot. I saw it with my own eyes. And then they took my mother, and we said, let us go before her; but they caught mother and shot her too; and then there was my grandmother, my father's mother, standing there; she was eighty years old and she had two children in her arms. And then there was my father's sister. She also had children in her arms and she was shot on the spot with the babies in her arms.

There was my younger sister, and she wanted to leave; she prayed with the Germans; she asked to run, naked; she went up to the Germans with one of her friends; they were embracing each other; and she asked to be spared, standing there naked. He looked into her eyes and shot the two of them. They fell together in their embrace, the two young girls, my sister and her young friend. Then my second sister was shot and then my turn did come.

We turned towards the grave and then he turned around and asked "Whom shall I shoot first?" We were already facing the grave. The German asked "Whom do you want me to shoot first?" I did not answer. I felt him take the child from my arms. The child cried out and was shot immediately. And then he aimed at me. First he held on to my hair and turned my head around; I stayed standing; I heard a shot, but I continued to stand and then he turned my head again and he aimed the revolver at me and ordered me to watch and then turned my head around and shot at me. Then I fell to the ground into the pit amongst the bodies; but I felt nothing. The moment I did feel I felt a sort of heaviness and then I thought maybe I am not alive any more, but I feel something after I died. I thought I was dead, that this was the feeling which comes after death. Then I felt that I was choking; people falling over me. I tried to move and felt that I was alive and that I could rise. I was strangling. I heard the shots and I was praying for another bullet to put an end to my suffering, but I continued to move about. I felt that I was choking, strangling, but I tried to save myself, to find some air to breathe, and then I felt that I was climbing towards the top of the grave above the bodies. I rose, and I felt bodies pulling at me with their hands, biting at my legs, pulling me down, down. And yet with my last strength I came up on top of the grave, and when I did I did not know the place, so many bodies were lying all over, dead people; I wanted to see the end of this stretch of dead bodies but I could not. It was impossible. They were lying, all dying; suffering; not all of them dead, but in their last sufferings; naked; shot, but not dead. Children crying "Mother", "Father"; I could not stand on my feet.

I was searching among the dead for my little girl, and I cried for her - Merkele was her name - "Merkele!" There were children crying "Mother!", "Father!" But they were all smeared with blood and one could not recognize the children. I cried for my daughter. From afar I saw two women standing. I went up to them. They did not know me, I did not know them, and then I said who I was, and then they said, "So you survived." And there was another woman crying "Pull me out from amongst the corpses, I am alive, help!" We were thinking how could we escape from the place. The cries of the woman, "Help, pull me out from the corpses!" We pulled her out. Her name was Mikla Rosenberg. We removed the corpses and the dying people who held on to her and continued to bite. She asked us to take her out, to free her, but we did not have the strength.

And thus we were there all night, fighting for our lives, listening to the cries and the screams and all of a sudden we saw Germans, mounted Germans. We did not notice them coming in because of the screaming and the shootings from the bodies around us. The Germans ordered that all the corpses be heaped together into one big heap and with shovels they were heaped together, all the corpses, among them many still alive, children running about the place. I saw them. I saw the children. They were running after me, hanging on to me. Then I sat down in the field and remained sitting with the children around me.

Then Germans came and were going around the place. We were ordered to collect all the children, but they did not approach me, and I sat there watching how they collected the children. They gave a few shots and the children were dead. They did not need many shots. The children were almost dead, and this Rosenberg woman pleaded with the Germans to be spared, but they shot her.

They all left - the Germans and the non-Jews from around the place. They removed the machine guns and they took the trucks. I saw that they all left, and the four of us, we went on to the grave, praying to fall into the grave, even alive, envying those who were dead already and thinking what to do now. I was praying for death to come. I was praying for the grave to be opened and to swallow me alive. Blood was spurting from the grave in many places, like a well of water, and whenever I pass a spring now, I remember the blood which spurted from the ground, from that grave. I was digging with my fingernails, trying to join the dead in that grave. I dug with my fingernails, but the grave would not open. I did not have enough strength. I cried out to my mother, to my father, "Why did they not kill me? What was my sin? I have no one to go to. I saw them all being killed. Why was I spared? Why was I not killed?

Nazi Recollections by Herman Grabe

A few lorries were parked in front of the mounds from which people were being driven by armed Ukrainian militia under the supervision of an armed SS man. The militia provided the guards on the lorries and drove them to and from the ditch. All these people wore the prescribed yellow patches on the front and back of their clothing so that they were identifiable as Jews...

I could now hear a series of rifle shots from behind the mounds. The people who had got off the lorries - men, women and children of all ages - had to undress on the orders of an SS man who was carrying a riding or dog whip in his hand. They had to place their clothing on separate piles for shoes, clothing and underwear. I saw a pile of shoes containing approximately 800-1,000 pairs, and great heaps of underwear and clothing. Without weeping or crying out these people undressed and stood together in family groups, embracing each other and saying goodbye while waiting for a sign from another SS man who stood on the edge of the ditch and also had a whip. During the quarter of an hour in which I stood near the ditch I did not hear a single complaint or plea for mercy. I watched a family of about eight, a man and a woman, both about fifty years old with their children of about one, eight and ten, as well as two grown-up daughters of about twenty and twenty-four. An old woman with snow-white hair held a one-year-old child in her arms singing to it and tickling it. The child squeaked with delight. The married couple looked on with tears in their eyes. The father held the ten-year-old boy by the hand speaking softly to him. The boy was struggling to hold back his tears. The father pointed a finger to the sky and stroked his head and seemed to be explaining something to him. At this moment, the SS men near the ditch called out something to his comrade. The latter counted off some twenty people and ordered them behind the mound. The family of which I have just spoken was among them. I can still remember how a girl, slender and dark, pointed to herself as she went past me, saying, "Twenty-three."

I walked round the mound and stood in front of the huge grave. The bodies were lying so tightly packed together that only their heads showed, from almost all of which blood ran down over their shoulders. Some were still moving. Others raised their hands and turned their heads to show they were still alive. The ditch was already three quarters full. I estimate that it already held about a thousand bodies. I turned my eyes towards the man doing the shooting. He was an SS man; he sat, legs swinging, on the edge of the ditch. He had an automatic rifle resting on his knees and he was smoking a cigarette.

The people, completely naked, climbed down steps which had been cut into the clay wall of the ditch, stumbled over the heads of those lying there and stopped at the spot indicated by the SS man. They lay down on top of the dead and wounded; some stroked those still living and spoke quietly to them. Then I heard a series of rifle shots. I looked into the ditch and saw the bodies contorting or, the heads already inert, sinking on the corpses beneath. Blood flowed from the nape of their necks. I was surprised to be ordered away, but I noticed three postmen in uniform standing nearby. Then the next batch came up, climbed down into the ditch, laid themselves next to the previous victims and were shot...

Daily life ruth bondi

Life in the camp was a series of determinations, at times seemingly unimportant, each one of them could have been fatal: where to stand in the role call before going to work whether to hide in a cattle train wagon or notor to wait to be liberated with the dead bodies, or maybe to be infected with Typhus?

The pressure of one particular decision, which determined not my own life, but rather other women's lives, heavily burdened me for many years, and is still buried inside me. It manifests itself in my dreams.

In June 1944, before the liquidation of the family camp* in Birkenau, to which I had arrived in December 1943, there was a selection for the labor force. It was possible for young mothers to participate in this selection, but it was obvious that this would mean abandoning their children to an unknown fate. After spending six months in the Auschwitz complex, we all knew only too well what this meant: death in the gas chambers. I was working at the time as a nanny for children aged five and six in the children's barracks. As we approached the selection some mothers came to me to seek advice: what should they do? Should they abandon their children? Stay with them? What would you do? I tried to evade the issue: "I don't know. I don't have a child of my own". Yet they persisted: "But even so?" I said to them: "I think that if I had a small child I would stay with him". They nodded: "That's what we intended to do anyhow", they only sought my approval for their decision. I bade goodbye to the children in my group and their mothers before we, the women who had passed the selection, left the family camp. Even then, we were still unsure whether we were going to forced labor, or to our death. I had the feeling that I had abandoned them. Witnesses said later on that the children were very quiet.

Over the years, I felt that the terrible responsibility I took upon myself gnawed me inside. The mothers were very young, and had they not stood by their children, they would have had a chance to survive and to start a new family. But how can one live with the thought of a child abandoned at the worst possible hour? After my daughter Tal was born, I asked myself repeatedly: Would I have stayed with her to hug her in the gas chamber? And I constantly reassured myself: I would not have left her

Daily life at majdanek by Halina Birenbaum

My whole stay at Majdanek was one long selection. Every roll call was a selection: women were sent to the gas chamber because they had swollen legs, scratches on their bodies, because they wore eyeglasses or head kerchiefs, or because they stood roll call without head kerchiefs. Young SS men prowled among the inmates and took down their numbers and during the evening roll call the women were ordered to step forward, and we never saw them again. In addition there were the ordinary selections in which at the cry of "Lagersperre! Antreten\" ["Curfew, line up!"] all of us had to line up in ranks of five, stark naked, and march past one or another of the young SS men. The women who had sons older than these men were always the most embarrassed. The SS man was always flanked by two wardresses. In his gloved hand he held a riding crop and with the familiar gesture he would flick it, right or left!

The reality of Majdanek...

It was nothing but ceaseless fear, penal servitude, and a bottomless pit of hell. How can anyone find words to describe it?

We had to fight for everything in Majdanek: for a scrap of floor space in the hut on which to stretch out at night, for a rusty bowl without which we could not obtain the miserable ration of nettle-soup with which they fed us, or yellow stinking water to drink. But I was not capable of fighting. Fear and horror overcame me at the sight of women prisoners struggling over a scrap of free space on the floor, or hitting one another over the head at the soup kettles, snatching bowls - hostile, aggressive women,

wanting to live at any price. Stunned, aghast, famished, terrified, I watched them from a distance.

Here I am, then, on the bottom. Primo Levi

One learns quickly enough to wipe out the past and the future when one is forced to. A fortnight after my arrival I already had the prescribed hunger, that chronic hunger unknown to free men, which makes one dream at night, and settles in all the limbs of one's body. I have already learnt not to let myself be robbed, and in fact if I find a spoon lying around, a piece of string, a button which I can acquire without danger of punishment, I pocket them and consider them mine by full right. On the back of my feet I already have those numb sores that will not heal.

I push wagons, I work with a shovel, I turn rotten in the rain, I shiver in the wind; already my own body is no longer mine: my belly is swollen, my limbs emaciated, my face is thick in the morning, hollow in the evening; some of us have yellow skin, others gray. When we do not meet for a few days we hardly recognize each other. We have learnt other things, more or less quickly, according to our intelligence: to reply "Jawohl" never to ask questions, always to pretend to understand. We have learnt the value of food; now we also diligently scrape the bottom of the bowl after the ration and we hold it under our chins when we eat bread so as not to lose the crumbs. We, too, know that it is not the same thing to be given a ladleful of soup from the top or from the bottom of the container, and we are already able to judge, according to the capacity of the various containers, what is the most suitable place to try and reach in the queue when we line up. We have learnt that everything is useful: the wire to tie up our shoes, the rags to wrap around our feet, waste paper to (illegally) pad out our jacket against the cold. We have learnt, on the other hand, that everything can be stolen, in fact is automatically stolen as soon as attention is relaxed; and to avoid this, we had to learn the art of sleeping with our head on a bundle made up of our jacket and containing all our belongings, from the bowl to the shoes.

Extermination of the family camp phillip muller

These people who had lived in Birkenau for six months, who had seen the crematoria, chimneys belching smoke and fumes day after day after day, left behind any illusions they might still have harbored. The SS was fully aware of this: so instead of the customary act of deception they treated their victims on their last journey with a brutality that defied description. As a stoker I had no business here at all, but ties of a common past, a common language, religion and culture drew me near to these people in their last hour. The scene through the half-open door of the changing room was a heart-rending. Groups of desperate people were crowding round the fake signboards. They knew that the signboards were false and in their frightened eyes I could read fear and despair. Young mothers were clasping their little ones to their breast, while older boys and girls clung weeping to their parents' legs. Now, near their end and conscious of it, there were many who saw the web of lies and contradictions with which they had allowed themselves to be deluded. Mothers turned to their children and caressed them tenderly. The little ones sensed that something frightening was about to happen. But gradually the people's sorrow changed to restlessness and agitation. This time the cynicism of the executioners knew no bounds. They stood in front of the changing room and looked without pity at the crowd of people. Now the people began to shout. 'We want to live'! 'We want to work'! It was their stubborn will to live which made them regard this ante-room of death as a place from which they might still escape.

Some men rushed towards the door. Once they reached the door they were instantly shot by armed SS guards. After the shootings, the SS men once more flung themselves upon the wretched crowd, beating them about the head, they drove them into the back of the room. The people, crowded together on one side of the room, were shaking with terror. Suddenly a voice began to sing, others joined in. First they sang the Czechoslovak national anthem and then the Hebrew song "Hatikva". And all the time the SS men never stopped their brutal beatings. It was as if they regarded the singing as a last kind of protest that they were determined to stifle if they could. Now, when I watched my fellow countrymen walk into the gas chamber, brave, proud, and determined, I asked myself what sort of life it would be for me in the unlikely event of my getting out of the camp alive. Strange to say, at that moment, I felt quite free from that tormenting fear of death that had often almost overwhelmed me. Death had come menacingly close. No memory, no trace of any of us would remain. Parents were hugging their children so violently that it almost broke my heart. Suddenly a few girls came up to me. One of them plucked up the courage and spoke to me: "We understand that you have chosen to die with us of your own free will We must die, but you still have to save your life. You have to return to the camp and tell everybody about our last hours", she commanded. "You have to explain to them that they must free themselves from any illusions One more thing", she went on, "you can do me one last favor: this gold chain around my neck: when I'm dead, take it off and give it to my boyfriend Sasha. Remember me to him. Say love from Yana".

Umshlagplatz Halina Birenbaum

Finally they caught us too. It happened toward evening, after a day-long Aktion. We had left the attic, as usual in the evenings, to breathe a little fresh air in the streets, talk to other people and find out who had been taken to the Umschlag that day.

With a gesture, they ordered us into the center of the street. We were the first foursome in a column that grew and swelled minute by minute They brought us to the Umschlag Then we saw the Nazis placing a machine gun in the center of the square, aimed at the enormous packed crowd of people, who responded with a murmur of terror. We embraced each other: my mother, my father, Hilek and I; we looked at one another in the way that people look for the last time... to take with us the picture of beloved faces, before moving into total darkness. My mother - as always - serene. She even smiled at me. "Don't be afraid," she whispered in my ear, "everyone must die sometime, we only die once and we shall die together, so don't be afraid, it won't be so terrible."

No, I was not afraid. I simply did not believe it. Suddenly; the whistle of a railroad train was heard. The freight cars drew up. Cattle cars arrived for us in the mornings, the kind in which the Nazis usually deported Jews from the Umschlagplatz. They rushed into the school building like a herd of wild, enraged beasts, beating people with whips, rifle butts, firing into the crowd of people who were insane with terror. This was the Nazis' usual way of driving people into the boxcars. In the panic and confusion someone screamed, wept aloud, calling on God for help, others prayed fervently, yet others cried out as they sought lost children. Everyone pushed and crowded the rooms, corridors and stairs; everyone wanted to get out of the building as fast as possible, to get away from the bullets and whips of the SS. The route to the boxcars was strewn with corpses. We had to trample on the bodies of the dead or dying. Finally we reached the boxcars, trying not to lose one another in this enormous, seething crowd. The boxcar was crammed to overflowing. We could only stand. The Storm Troopers had difficulty in closing the door Finally we had come face to face with that from which we had been trying to escape for so many long months, from that which our relatives and friends, and hundreds of thousands of unknown Jews had experienced. Our turn had come, the train moved off amidst incessant shrieks, cries and rifle shots. We were leaving Warsaw. We were leaving Warsaw! Our infernal ride to the death camp had started.

Febuary 5th, 1941 Hunger Mary Berg

Through a show window in a store I can see the reflections of various people. The spectacle is now familiar to me: a poor man enters to buy a quarter of a pound of bread and walks out. In the street he impatiently wrenches a piece of the gluey mass and puts it in his mouth. An expression of contentment spreads over his entire face, and in a moment the whole lump of bread has disappeared. Now his face expresses disappointment. He rummages in his pocket and draws out his last copper coins... not enough to buy anything. All he can do now is to lie down in the snow and wait for death. Or perhaps go to the community administration? It is no use. Hundreds like him are already there. The woman behind the desk who receives them and listens to their story is sympathetic; she smiles politely, and tells them to come back in a week. Each of them must wait his turn, but few of them will live through the week. Hunger will destroy them, and one morning another body of an old man with a blue face and clenched fists will be found lying in the snow.

Spiritual Resistance

Secret teaching of Judaic subjects flourished. They were taught by the great Talmudic scholars Lazar Panzer and Schein Klingberg.

Three synagogues existed, and the religious life did not suffer any significant change. Services were held, people generally observed the religious tenets - fasting, celebrating the Shabbat and observing the holidays. During these holidays, ardent devotion was evident. The lamentations and zeal written on their faces betokened, only too well, the depth and intensity of their worship.

From the windows of the pharmacy facing the large courtyard in the rear of the building, I saw an old man with a gray beard and peyoth [side curls] rhythmically rocking to the plaintive sounds of the cantors hymns.... I saw old women in lace-embroidered shawls standing motionless with glassy staring eyes, immersed in the monotonous sounds of the prayers while in the depths of grief and anxiety for themselves and their loved ones.

Often, and particularly in the periods of the Jewish holidays, I would listen to conversations and discussions on religious topics. The atmosphere- serious, mystical... overwhelmed one with its irresistible power.

A small station called Treblinka

Here is the small station of Treblinka

Here is the small station of Treblinka

On the line between Tluszcz and Warszawia

From the railway station Warsaw - East

You get out of the station and travel straight

The journey lasts five hours and 45 minutes more

And sometimes the same journey lasts

A whole life until your death

And the station is very small

Three fir trees grow there

And a regular signboard saying

Here is the small station of Treblinka...

Here is the small station of Treblinka...

And no cashier even

Gone is the cargo man

And for a million zloty

You will not get a return ticket

And nobody waits for you in the station

And nobody waves a handkerchief towards you

Only silence hung there in the air

To welcome you in the blind wilderness

And silent is the pillar of the station

And silent are the three fir trees

And silent is the black board

Because here is the small station of Treblinka...

Here is the small station of Treblinka...

And only a commercial board stands still:

"Cook only by gas"

Here is the small station of Treblinka...

Here is the small station of Treblinka...

Night, Elie Wiesel

Never shall I forget that night,

that first night in the camp,

which has turned my life into one long night,

seven times cursed and seven times sealed.

Never shall I forget that smoke.

Never shall I forget the faces of the children,

whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.

Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.

Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of

the desire to live.

Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust.

Never shall I forget those things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.

She Waited for Me, by Halina Birenbaim

She waited for me there, near the pathway.

She did know one day I would come

And would perceive her with all my senses -

My mother, beautiful and young

She waited for me there, near the pathway in Majdanek

Across from the "disinfection" barrack - the crematorium's ovens

After forty years I have come here from afar

And see her standing like Then - despite Death

Like on that night we were separated forever:

Dark-haired, not too tall

A long curl swaying over her forehead

And hair braided around her head

Red cheeks, large eyes still enlarged by the lack of sleep

White teeth like pearls unveiling a smile -

The most wonderful smile on Earth - a mother's -

That attempts to comfort her child

In front of the gate to gas chamber and ovens

A large shepherd's plaid coat covers her body

And she clasps me into it, in order to

Embed in me the strength of human warmth

In this one but last moment

A ray of consolation

In this inferno

The place one could exit only

Through a chimney as a smoke

I have come here again

From another country,

A grownup woman

Yet the same girl I was Then

Whom she did love so much

And over whose fate she agonized.

Entering this gravel road I felt her presence

I ran to her with all my breath

And like Then, I suddenly stooped.

Anguished in pain and helplessness I realized:

They had wrested her away from me

I shall never have her again!

Majdanek - today a sleepy kingdom of death

We were brought here together

Now I am standing here alone

I try to embrace her silhouette, touch it

While drowned in horrible pain.

Small and helpless I stand here again

In front of the gas chamber and the crematorium

That was extinguished too late.

Powerless like Then though now free

I sit on the ground near the pathway,

Put my head in my hands

Cry aloud almost to unconsciousness

With no self control, no embarrassment.

I cling to the shadow of my Mother killed here

Hold to it with all my strength

Decide to take it home with me overseas

Even tough I would prefer to remain here

Along with my tears that permeate the ground

I will never know how I went back

While she remained there in that deadly silence

I all grew numb

My body was shaking with spasms

A stranger, a Polish museum worker, passed by

From a nearby hill he shouted to me:

"Whom of yours had they killed here so that you're in such a despair?"

Getting no reply - he left.

He addressed me in the language of the living people

While I was with my vision of my dead Mother

With her shadow in the emptiness

With her death at Majdanek - and perhaps with mine own too.

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