Yad Vashem

By Lisa Paulick

The final march began much like the others

This one during the night, as the snow dropped silently

From the black sky

The very word choice was foreign and exotic

Yet something else that could not exist here

Borne back against a barbed wire fence

He had not forgotten a whit of their

Cowardice and cruelty

The rabbi shook, his insides a sea of molten ice

As he trudged on to yet another unknown destination

His son ahead or behind

The Kaddish would soon be said

His part in this nightmarish jigsaw always missing pieces

Would soon be over

He wondered how he had survived this long

The ghetto, the cattle cars, the selection, the camps

While Polish girls ransacked their suitcases for the

Occasional diamond that was still worth something

His people thinking their final pair of shoes, final piece of stale bread

Could be bartered for a grasp at hope in The Final Solution

Then the rabbi stopped

His body a shadow, tattered rags chafing against his bones

Oblivious to the words of the enemy

Now so tired, they stopped shooting

He thought of all their things that would fall soon

Their buildings, their ideology, blind subservience

To a deaf master

Then he slowly stepped on

Thinking of his brothers and sisters

Fighting in the forests with the

Marrow of their will

Countless tears already fallen

But strength and pride left

Standing for generations

He slowly stepped on

Guiltless and condemned

Taught in the school of patience

To endure the life of anguish

And the death of fire

 

 

This is one of four poems by Lisa Paulick featured in the gallery, honouring those that were lost, and survivors who had to make unimaginable choices. Lisa has read several books on the history of the Holocaust and the liberation of the camps and attended a survivors gathering four years ago in New York City.

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