In Memory of Those Who Have
Perished in the Holocaust and
Live on in Our Hearts: You
Shall Never Be Forgotten


By Amanda Kaufman
Cold Spring Harbor High School
New York

I read this poem at the concentration camp of Majdanek. I had started it before the trip, and found myself fishing for an ending, but after visiting Auschwitz/Birkenau, I finished the poem..

I'll never forget standing there at Majdanek in the middle of the camp; a crematorium in front of me, and an enormous mound of ashes lay behind me. The cold air and grey skies seem to set the ironically perfect, black setting for my piece. I stepped forward, and as I began to read, the wind picked up and my voice seemed to be swept away, and I wondered if you could hear me. . . .

Spinning twisting branches spotted in the moonlight.
Night fills the air,
Darkness fills the night.
My pen bleeds its black ink out onto the night sky,
And the hopeful sun does its ritual disappearing act.
A blanket of black; thick and heavy.
As a snake it, it slithers from behind
Unnoticed.
I watch with closed eyes as darkness conquers.
Seizing swollen, bleeding ankles, hollow hearts, and
Nameless faces.
No names,
Just numbers, and numbers, and more still.
More, and more until six million.
Six million numbers.
All of them suffocating as the black smoke moves in
Closer, closer, and closer.
Too close.
Hands clutching throats, scratching walls in a
Last attempt to. . .
To save themselves from the sooty, black fate
Of which they are to become.
Eyes and mouths snap open,
Screams pulsate through the heavy air.
Don't you hear them?
How many times can you close your eyes?
Close your ears?
Close your hearts?
How much longer until we all bleed into blackness?
I, You, Them. . .We.

Ashes, ashes. . .
We all fall down.

[ Majdanek Mausoleum ]
Majdanek Mausolem
© 1995 David Dickerson


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