My thoughts drag me backward
                            To those days of the nightmare:
                            Europe transformed
                            Into one huge City of Slaughter.

                            Discarded were the Commandments
                            Still echoing down Mount Sinai;
                            Symbols of truth, justice, honor.
                            Not thieving, terror, or murder!

                            Deaf to this call of justice
                            Men sank into Gehennas of madness.
                            The heavens raged into torrents:
                            Torrents of Nazis drowning the earth--

                            Building ovens of fire instead of an Ark
                            For people, birds, creatures in pairs.
                            Ovens for children just cuddled and kissed,
                            Mothers' milk not yet dried in the breasts.

                            Slaves to the right!  Death to the left.
                            Jewish bones crushed into soaps,
                            Delicate skins stretched for their lamps
                            To heighten sadistic, devilish lust.

                            Our lawns of green and flowering herbs,
                            The fruit of the fields of corn and bread,
                            The Hitler devils dug up and spread
                            With hunger and death.

                            Our houses of worship with all things treasured:
                            Ancient artifacts, Holy Scrolls that we cherished,
                            Torched into flame, burned to the ground
                            While the world with indifference watched
                            Our ruin, our torment and pain!
                            Some silently whispered, No, this cannot happen.
                            While THEY drank, danced, orgied and gorged,
                            The death camps devoid of a mere crust of bread.

                            WHERE WERE YOU CREATOR
                            above the blue skies?
                            Up there from your HEIGHTS
                            surely you saw
                            Your innocents broken in body
                            and soul.

                            WHY?? For what are we punished??
                            We have accepted, held Holy
                            your Torah and Law.
                            We must ask you the question,
                            What for?
                            Doesn't it hurt you
                            that so many perished?
                            Hacked down by axes
                            of the mad one who led?

                            And still today the world floods
                            with the poison of hate!
                            Our one and only vision and dream:
                            Let us live in peace from now on.

                                                    Bronia Porus Chosid

                            Translated from the Yiddish by Rahel Gil Grindlinger

                                   NOTE:  Bronia Chosid and her cousin, Rahel Grindlinger,
                            are former residents of Svintsyan who immigrated to America.


Copyright © 2000 M S Rosenfeld