Just another pair of feet
Another pair of ears
To grasp Polish, Czech or German being spoken;
Holding the bus papers and
Feeling a chill this October
As autumn deepens in this free Krakow
We go to see where Levi, Wiesel* questioned God, being
Where the many were butchered and the few watched
And hung, seared and burnt
Not aliens but us, not them, us.
Born September 30, 1928, Eliezer Wiesel led a life representative of many Jewish children. Growing up in a small village in Romania, his world revolved around family, religious study, community and God. Yet his family, community and his innocent faith were destroyed upon the deportation of his village in 1944. Arguably the most powerful and renowned passage in Holocaust literature, his first book, Night, records the inclusive experience of the Jews:
Never shall I forget that night, the first night in 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 little 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 these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.
Concentration camp; WW2; Holocaust