Holocaust Poems

Adi Anker
Holocaust Poems Adi Anker lives in New York City. She likes photography and writing poetry. She has had an interest in the Holocaust ever since she learned about it in school.

“I don’t hate Jews.
I am going to keep this guilt
inside of me
forever.”

1. Mozelle Family
Opportunities revealing through time.
Processed and then paused;
The Revolutionary War.
Colonies gaining power and independence.
The Civil War.
People fighting for compassion
and for rights.
Life continued and then broken;
Death affecting people’s lives.
The Vietnam War.
Death making people
Notice complications and have pity.
Moments in time,
One moment;
Hard concrete pressed against sorrow filled faces
of children, adults.
Breathless humans hurtled and thrown into dark cells.
Swastika and Nazi flags everywhere.
A breakthrough.
An opportunity to get away from inhumane acts of disgrace
from soldiers giving up on what is right.
One family after another
guided into the new world
to a better life and opportunity.
Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters
all wanting the new beginning
of forgetting their terrible
lives in Europe.
The invasions,
Concentration camps,
ghettos.
Children knowing that their nightmares have been real
and their unforgettable past following them wherever they go.
Through forests, across bridges
to the supposedly enchanted world,
the family follows trust and instinct
to their new life, wanting it to come faster.
Their only vision of home in Austria,
the mountains and lakes.
The ambrosial food,
the familiar scenery.
No new world will ever be like it.
One family,
Breaking away
from horrid monsters,
Nazis.
Traveling
on the wrong rollercoaster,
bumping up and down,
upside down.
2. Father
One step out of there,
the sound of breaking glass
and marching of soldiers boots
never escaping my head.
Never a night without
flashbacks of this horrible past.
Leader of the house,
that’s what I am.
Protect mother,
protect daughter,
protect son.
Who is supposed to protect me?
Live in Austria.
Live in the New World.
What’s the difference?
I pave the path towards
our superior landing.
The New World will be
full of opportunities for work.
It will be an easier life
with less pain and loss.
But it will involve a lot of sacrifice like in Austria.
I don’t know if I am ready for that.
3. Mother
March 12, 1938.
That day seems almost fictitious.
Troops barging in, invading
searching homes,
and kicking people out.
Before, life was at ease.
Care for my children,
Now, life is morbid.
Save my children.
One deep breath
and we’re out.
But no,
no we can’t be.
If the Nazis did all of this to us,
why aren’t we dead?
We fought and fought,
sacrificed and agonized.
All this pressure and pain
for a mother?
It can’t end like this.
I need to wake up
from this nightmare.
I need to be
in the New World.
Now.
4. Daughter
Those small yellow stars.
Forced onto my collar.
Just eleven years old.
Why did we have to wear them?
Discrimination?
Identity clarity?
Kicked out of school.
No more fun.
Just empty breathing,
cramped in small rooms.
Daydreaming of life before.
Happily helping Mother do laundry.
Family Shabbat on Friday night.
The way Father would pick me up and spin me around.
The way Mother would bake delicious palatschinken with sprinkled sugar.
The way Brother would play jump rope with me.
But now,
Father just paces around.
Mother is too tired to cook.
Brother isn’t allowed to play jump rope with me
5. Brother
Jewish.
What does that even mean?
Does it mean
going to Hebrew School every week?
Does it mean
saying prayers?
Now,
It means wearing the yellow stars
and being discriminated,
thrown in pits or cells
like animals.
Trapped in a small room,
a sob,
a cry for help.
Then silence.
And more silence.
Who am I supposed to be?
A son to Mother and Father.
A brother to Sister.
A Jew.
A human.
I read books where characters
Get to travel the world,
Going to places like Australia or Peru.
I don’t have to be just Jewish,
I can travel the world without being so discriminated.
I am so much more than just Jewish
So then why aren’t I treated like that?
6. Flashback
Before the Nazis,
before antisemitism.
A happy Austrian family.
Mother, Father, Daughter, Son,
nescient to what shall come their way.
Children with education
Parents with occupations like teachers or journalists,
oblivious,
pompous towards their life.
Schools, cinemas, pools.
Jump Rope, ball games, Math.
No violent hate.
No bias.
Just life wrapped inside of itself,
with no understanding how to act bad or wrong,
How to treat people without compassion.
A simple life with no genocide.
7. Nazi Soldier
Force.
Orders.
Demands.
Throw them in a pit!
Shoot a mother!
The life is horrible.
I don’t want to kill people.
I just have to obey my father,
the captain of our Nazi Youth Group.
Before joining the Youth Group,
I wanted to be a teacher
Giving children more opportunities
To get out of Austria while they can,
Just as I always hoped to do.
I read books and watched films
About America.
The business and chances to become a better person.
So different from the world I live in now.
Each morning the same thing.
Gratify Hitler,
go kill Jews.
I’m tired of all of this genocide,
the killings,
the camps.
Losing sleep over how
Much pain these jews must be going through
Just because they have different beliefs.
When will it be over?
I don’t hate Jews.
I am going to keep this guilt
inside of me
forever.
This aching inside of my head
reminding me of how horrible I am.
I feel trapped inside this bubble
of killing repetition.
8. Mozelle Family
Opportunities revealing through time.
Processed and then paused,
continued and then broken.
Moments in time, one moment;
A new beginning
for those who have suffered.
The family traveled
Alongside their own stories
of their past.
Painful moments, less painful moments.
Breaking trusts and
folding up sheets of memories
to be kept safely away
where no one will find them.
But now a new life has begun.
The New World full of immigrants
and people longing for their opportunity.
Families who have traveled
through forests, across bridges
to the supposedly enchanted world.
They have arrived
to create a new life.
Father is a milkman.
Mother is a seamstress.
Son is a construction worker.
Daughter goes to school.
Missing Austria,
they are barely living with the past.
Every night
They fall asleep hoping
Hitler won’t find them
and come running.

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