In Memory of My Sister Tserl, of Szebnie Camp

On this Holocaust Remembrance Day Yom HaShoah 2019: a poem by my bubbe Genia Klapholz, survivor of Szebnie and Auschwitz death camps. Translated from the original in Yiddish. Written in 1974, decades after the horrors she and millions of others faced in Nazi Europe.

O Szebnie, I cannot forget you.
You have cruelly devoured my sister.
I light a candle in memory of your soul,
O God in heaven, where is revenge?

It is quiet in the camp, A terror descends.
Suddenly there is heard a scream.
“All out! Quickly, outside!”
Alas, they stand in a line for the last time.

The leaves weave for them shrouds,
For the mothers, for the sisters.
They order us to sing songs of mourning.
On the death of our brothers.

Where can we find quickly the wood to carry,
Silently, and quietly, we look for shovels.
Two hundred-fifty young lives together
Are thrown alive into the flames,

The fire burns,
As Jewish life is not precious.
No body remains to be buried
For the wind has carried afar the ashes.

O Szebnie, I cannot forget you.
You have cruelly devoured my sister.
I light a candle in memory of your soul,
O God in heaven, where is revenge?

About the Author
Max is an active member of the Jewish community in Boston, Massachusetts.
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