You were supposed to be my great uncle
And I’m sure you would have been a great one at that
Telling me stories as I grew
Taking pride in my achievements
And I in you
But your life was cut short
You disappeared from France
To be murdered in cold blood
Which runs icy deep in my own veins
The pains of your yesterday are alive in my heart today.
Je suis Alfred Rein
I am Alfred Rein
You were supposed to live on for another century
21 years old
You returned from Birthright to Paris
With Israel on your mind and as your goal
Your life shone with promise;
It was awaiting you
But those baselessly hating you,
For your identity as “Jew”
Took your life along with three others
We are no longer whole without you, my brother.
Je suis Yoav Hattab
I am Yoav Hattab
I am all of those who were
But never will be
We cannot let the
the scars of the Shoah fade.
Today, the battleground is different
But hatred pervades.
One day this summer
As these thoughts whirled through my mind,
I walked the length of Jerusalem
Searching the city of peace
For a piece of the past.
I went where all are given
A place, a name
And in Yad Vashem
I pause by a certain exhibit which prohibits
Me from remaining only in the present
I stand by the shoes
Pink infant shoe
Stopped yours from beating
I see the reflection of my own shoe in the glass,
The only barrier between this moment and past.
I close my eyes and promise:
I’ll bring you back;
Your steps are mine
I walk forwards in life for you,
I am six million lives never given the chance to be lived.
I am also the pain of the current persecution, no matter how many miles away I stand.
And when I feel the most uncertain today
about what tomorrow will bring
I remember the words of Martin Luther King
When he said
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies,
but the silence of our friends.”
All I know is that indifference
Will make no difference
Six million silenced voices of the past
Beg us to raise our own today.
…because we live now
For those only given a “then,”
I am never again.
And so are you.