24th Annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Poetry Issue

Send us your poetry. Click here for submission guidelines.

A C Clarke

A C Clarke, who lives in Glasgow, has published five full collections and six pamphlets, two of the latter, Owersettin and Drochaid, in collaboration with Maggie Rabatski and Sheila Templeton. Her fifth full collection, A Troubling Woman came out in 2017. She was one of four winners in the Cinnamon Press 2017 pamphlet competition with War Baby. She has been working on an extensive series of poems about Paul and Gala Éluard, later Gala Dalí, and the Surrealist circles in which they moved. The first set of these was published as a pamphlet by Tapsalteerie last year (2021).

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by A C Clarke and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Shades

Black: trees upright as sentinels,
a railway track that ends
at a long, low shed.
White: snow’s blanket denial.

Grey: naked bodies in a queue,
hard soap, concrete floors, ash;
in these pictures the uniform
of sky, however blue.


Previously published in the collection Messages of Change (Oversteps Books)

Alan Bern

Retired children’s librarian Alan Bern is cofounder with artist/printer Robert Woods of the fine press/publisher Lines & Faces, linesandfaces.com. Recent awards: honorable mention for Littoral Press Poetry Prize (2021); flash fiction finalist for Ekphrastic Sex: The Contest (2021); first runner-up for Raw Art Review’s Mirabai Prize for Poetry(2020); a medal in 2019 from SouthWest Writers for a WWII story. Recent/upcoming writing and photo work in HAUNTED WATERS PRESS,  Aletheia Literary Quarterly, CERASUS, Mediterranean Poetry, and Mercurius. Alan is the author of three books of poetry and performs with dancer/choreographer Lucinda Weaver as PACES and with musicians from Composing Together, composingtogether.org.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Alan Bern and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Fraud Multipliers: Multiplication Tables of His Slaughter

never forgotten
blank evil sallow face
face in blanketed whiteface
rancid evil in slightened falsehair
thinned no-hair colorless covering over
nothing but mouth speak-eating
mirror’s flaking backing revealing
new evil evil evil covering
over evil with 30,000 lies
& 400,000 lives down-dimmed
murderous murdering lies
taking away these multiplying lives
with what is proper named
genocide
& yes a place for Melania’s bites of
dead kid fingers for her late tea

DUNKED

Alan Walowitz

Alan Walowitz, who lives in Great Neck, NY, is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry.  His chapbook Exactly Like Love comes from Osedax Press.  The full-length The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems is available from Truth Serum Press. Most recently, from Arroyo Seco Press, is the chapbook In the Muddle of the Night, written trans-continentally with poet Betsy Mars.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Alan Walowitz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Where’s God?

I nagged till I couldn’t be ignored.
To keep me busy,
they told me God was everywhere.
So, I began to check–there and even there,
opened the doors to the TV console
and there God was.
Beneath the bed, then
in the closet with the creaky door
of the room I shared with my sister,
the four-story walkup where we lived.
A long haul up those stairs
and I figured God could come in with me to rest.
We had been outside as I walked to the corner
and crossed the street at Metropolitan
to Shapiro’s for a pack of Nik-L-Nips–
you could bite the bottle-tops, drink the treacle within,
that might have tasted like God,
and wash it down by chewing the wax.
We’d ride around the block past the houses
and into the Oval where we could spend my days outside.
An old lady stopped me racing my three-wheeler, tied my shoe,
and said I don’t want to get caught up in the works.

And that will happen
any old time the world looks away.
Little ones taken, sometimes on trains,
railway stations turned to rubble,
houses and hospitals incinerated,
whole cities wiped from maps,
more death than we can bear.
But we seem intent on bearing it.
even here where I once played
in Raoul Wallenberg Square.

Alex Chornyj

His name is Alex Chornyj, he is a reiki master teacher and as such his writing reflects the energy and light that surrounds his spirit. He lives in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada.  He has been writing for approximately forty years and his inspiration is derived through his spirit guides.  This binding of thoughts was manifested as a collaboration of an esoteric synthesis.  He has published three poetry books and two childrens’ books since 2020.  He has a podcast on spotify HERE. He has just had a poem published on the Ukraine crisis HERE.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Alex Chornyj and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Cries Across A Century

Did we learn from the past ?
Even one innocent loss of life
Is one too many
From cries across a century.
Can still hear the screams
About this can’t be silent
Only through recognition
Can these souls be remembered.
To be locked in chambers
Human incinerators
The smell of burning flesh
Crimes against humanity.
To be filled with such hatred
That you are consumed
Every waking moment
With the want to cause,
Endless suffering
That each life is reduced
To a catalogued number
To an acrid wisp of smoke.
None are forgotten
A life gone too soon
Against all conventions
Ripped from their earthly existence.
Chains for eternity
So witness to
Critical incidents
Of tumultuous carnage.
The horror stories
The dark passages
Tunnels of incessant stench
Children of a lost generation.
There are reminders
Of the actual facts
Belongings left behind
Now on permanent display,
At the United Nations
So that their memory
Will be kept vivid
As what not to repeat in the future.

Angie Minkin

Angie Minkin is an award-winning San Francisco-based poet who stands on her head for inspiration. Angie volunteers as a poetry editor of Vistas & Byways Literary Review. Her work has been published in The MacGuffin, Rattle, The Poeming Pigeon, The Unbroken Journal, and several other journals and anthologies. Angie is a coauthor of Dreams and Blessings: Six Visionary Poets (Blue Light Press 2020). Angie’s chapbook, Balm for the Living, will be published in 2023 by Finishing Line Press. Visit Angie on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Angie Minkin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Considering Stars and Gases

Starlight dims, dips as exoplanets orbit.
Forty light years away, six million shadows
transit across stars, leaving behind dust and skulls.

Here on earth, we observe and precisely measure
masses of heavenly bodies. We consider elements
of iron and oxygen, carbon, and water. We consider

the potency of other beings. We consider the inner body.
Dare we say the soul? Do six million souls leave a trail
of stardust? A light beam of truth? There were six million

more of us once. Orders of magnitude that we
cannot grasp. Always the other, the horror,
the questions. We study faces in tattered photographs.

Chana’s smile is my mother’s. My sister’s.
Lev’s face brings a startled gasp. He could be my father.
We recite names, lost in the turbulence of memory—

fragments, shreds, sequins. Do we remember
the babies crying, mothers shushing, fathers shaking,
knowing their arms cannot save their families.

How many Chanas and Levs, how many beauties gone forever?
We carry them with us. And forty light years away, we imagine
each body transmuting to energy, orbiting to infinity.


(Another version of this poem will be included in my forthcoming chapbook, Balm for the Living, which will be published by Finishing Line Press in 2023.)

Anita Lerek

Anita Lerek has spent her adult life juggling business (as a lawyer and a recruiter) with the enchantment of poetry. The visual arts, jazz, and social justice are life-long influences. Born abroad (Poland), she retains a sense of otherness. And a resulting closeness to many diverse things. Lerek has a slow meditative approach to creating a poem, which ever deepens and never finishes—just stops. Her poems have appeared recently in MacQueen’s Quinterly, River Heron, and Silver Birch Press, She is the author of a chapbook, History and Being (2019). She lives with her archivist husband in Toronto, Canada. Visit Anita on Facebook here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Anita Lerek and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Blossom Grandmother

You fell on sweetened ground
beside torn ancestor branches.
I search the world’s orchards for you—
a trace, a notion of tenderness,
did you have dark hair or light. 

The apple tree remembers 
your voice, and the prayers uttered
in the old wooden synagogue 
that stood for centuries
until destroyed by haters.

The tree calls for the orphans 
to return, to recreate the space, 
not from the original,
but from messages from the dead.

Grandmother, you float inside
the replica, under the timber roof,
25 tons of civilization
that we code furiously
into the made up sky

to save the story
that sickens me to complete
to the end,
I know you will not be there.

Love comes from void,
love fills the void at breaking points
as ashes change to images;
and minds are cut, spliced
into a world reimagined
to see me through.  

(#2.5 – Original version first published in Verse-Virtual
online poetry journal in June, 2021)

Ann Stevenson

Ann D Stevenson is retired and living in Gloucestershire.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Ann Stevenson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Holocaust

How can I write
Of such atrocities
Living memories
Of the unforgettable.
Can
Any of us ever
Understand
Such
Terrible tribulations.

Annette Gagliardi

Annette Gagliardi, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, has poetry published in Motherwell, Wisconsin Review, American Diversity Report, Origami Poems Project, Amethyst Review, Door IS A Jar, Trouble Among the Stars, Sylvia Magazine,and others. She is co-editor of Upon Waking. 58 Voices Speaking Out from the Shadow of Abuse, We Sisters, 2019.  Annette’s first full-length poetry book, titled: A Short Supply of Viability is scheduled to come out in July of 2022 by The Poetry Box. Visit her website at: https://annette-gagliardi.com/

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Annette Gagliardi and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Letting Go

I climb the stool to sweep
cobwebs from the corners
and dust the photo-frames
featuring deceased relatives.

Darning your socks one more time
gives you another wear or two.
Those jeans I mended last month
are full of holes anew.

My family photo books are filled with recent
images, but none from the earlier generations
whose faces are lost in the mist of looting,
torched homes and prison camps.

I sit beneath the eaves today
and watched the icicles drip and sway
with the fierce wind that whips
this way—and vacillates sunlight.

And yet, as daylight dims to dusk,
I’m am left clutching the husk—
only jealous of icicles’
ability for letting go.

Arlene Geller

Arlene Geller, of Yardley, PA, has been fascinated with words from a young age. She has parlayed this passion into a successful career as a writer, editor, wordcrafter, poet and lyricist. Her pieces have been published in newspapers, journals and magazines, as well as sung by choirs in commissioned works. If you’d like to learn more about her work, visit her website at arlenegeller.com

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Arlene Geller and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Silenced Voices

The blue sky houses the brilliant sun
spotless, save for the stream of black smoke
endlessly spewing from chimneys
in Germany and Poland

            flesh and bone turned to ash

remnant bones ground to powder
floating in rivers, ponds, 
strewn in fields, discarded

            children among women among men

no screams, no cries
no curses, no prayers
unanswered questions 
 
            float on the wind

the only sounds—hiss   spit   crackle
voices silenced forever
as the world stood by

             look up at the constellations of stars in the sky
             they are the children waiting to be reborn

Barrie Levine

Barrie Levine lives in Wenham MA north of Boston. She retired from the practice divorce law in 2016 and soon developed a passion for haiku poetry. She teaches memoir writing classes at a senior center and writes a blog entitled “72 is the New 72” at barrielevine.com. Other than being an enthusiastic grandma, Barrie’s life is all about writing. She recently achieved a life goal of publishing in print with her collection of haiku and senryu entitled Cotton Moon.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Barrie Levine and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Three Haiku


Western Wall
breath of God
between the stones


fallen leaves . . .
my uncle guards
the family tree


memorial candle . . .
weaving stories of grandma and the aunts
into the light

Batnadiv HaKarmi-Weinberg

Batnadiv HaKarmi is a writer and visual artist who currently resides in Jerusalem. Her work has been published in Poet Lore, Radar Poetry, and most recently in Belmont Story Review. A graduate of the graduate writing program in Bar Ilan University, she is the recipient of the Andrea Moria Prize for Poetry, and was shortlisted for the Brideport Prize. Her work can be followed on www.batnadiv.com and on Instagram @batnadiv_art

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Batnadiv HaKarmi-Weinberg and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Intermittent Fasting

Eat, my grandfather cajoled my mother
every fast day but Yom Kippur. 
Forbid fasting if she was pregnant. Or nursing.
Believed that mothers of young children 
must always be filled.
You fast, she said.
I am old, he said.
He had starved long enough
to see no holiness in lack

yet he fasted Monday and Thursday
and Monday again. Kept 
the ancient abstinence 
with trudging care.
Penance for living.

The bachurim, his wife accused. 
The bachurim—the young yeshiva boys in his care 
who turned back at the border 
while he continued and crossed. 
Their death is on you, she said. 
She saw ghosts everywhere.

Said this was the reason their son fell.
Couldn’t speak. Would have no children. 
My grandfather soundlessly
swallowed the blame. 
Dragged it like he bore 
the body of his friend
over the Siberian plane.
Returned to hunger,
the taste of grass. 
Hollowed himself
to be filled 
with their names.

Betsy Mars

Betsy Mars lives in Torrance, California where she works as a substitute teacher and exam proctor. She is a prize-winning poet, occasional publisher, and nascent photographer. She is an assistant editor at Gyroscope Review. Recent poem publications include ONE ART, Anti-Heroin Chic, and The New Verse News. Her photos have been featured in RATTLE’s Ekphrastic Challenge, Praxis, Redheaded Stepchild, and Spank the Carp, among others. Her most recent book is In the Muddle of the Night co-authored with Alan Walowitz.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Betsy Mars and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

To Become Whole Again

-for Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova*


This year I don’t have to remember
again, the rubble, what lies beneath.

Freezing basements, no movement.
Snipers in the streets.

In real time many fall or stand their ground,
dig ditches, graves, entrenched.

Some shoulder weapons, others cameras
taking in and being taken.

This time allies rally, still too late.
Again there are rumors of camps,

imprisonment. The cattle cars await.
“Arbeit mach frei” above the prison gate.

But one day if life allows, I will do the work,
find the ground where my past is buried.

For now I watch the living become ghosts,
plant seeds for another generation’s grief.


* Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova was a Holocaust survivor who died in a freezing basement in Mariupol on April 4,2022

Beverly Magid

Beverly Magid has been a publicist in the entertainment industry and a novelist of three novels, Flying Out of Brooklyn, Sown in Tears and Where Do I Go, before adding poetry to her writing. Her poems have appeared in the journal On the Bus and the anthology Side-Eye on the Apocalypse and has a poem which will be published in the Spring Issue of the Muddy River Poetry Review. She is a long0time Los Angeles resident and credits her cats Bobbysox and King for helping her through the pandemic, along with the tv comedy Schitts Creek. Visit Beverly on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Beverly Magid and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Yom HaShoah

I was five when the Nazis
dragged Jews out of houses in Poland
or the forests of Ukraine.
They dug their own graves before being shot.
I didn’t comprehend the news as a child
anymore than I understand it now so many years later.
Photos my parents hid,
heaps of bodies tossed away like old shoes.
I cried seeing babies killed as if in a game,
Showers rigged to rain down death on the unsuspecting.
Nazis were the monsters that gave me nightmares,
boots marching up the stairs, coming for me.
Who were these heartless men?
Ordinary people sitting down to dinner
“What did you do today?” the wife asks.
“I shot a hundred women and children,” he answers,
then butters his bread,
pats the dog, smiles at his son.
I can’t fathom this cruelty.
I can’t bear to swat a spider
I weep for every crying baby.
What infected those brains?
I whisper never again
But it still happens today, under a different name.
I call out louder, Never Again.
But some reject the truth,
people are still cruel.
I shout NEVER AGAIN.
Again and again and again.
It must be now.
If not now, when?
If not for the oppressed, who?
If not with love, how else?

Bill Cushing

Returning to college after serving in the Navy and working on ships, Bill Cushing earned an MFA from Goddard College. Published in numerous journals and anthologies, online and in print, Bill facilitates a writing group (for 9 Bridges Writing Community). Bill’s 2019 book A Former Life was honored with the Kops-Featherling International Book Award committee; Music Speaks won 2019’s San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival chapbook competition and a 2021 New York City Book Award. His latest chapbook, . . .this just in. . ., combines artwork with selected poems. Now retired, Bill continues writing and is working on a memoir.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Bill Cushing and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Approaching Auschwitz

A young American approaches,
victorious in the Spring of life,
enters ferrous gates crowned
with razor wire emblazoned
by words wrought of iron
that seem to dance: Arbeit macht frei.

Bony arms reach beyond fences
that, for years, surrounded
this place of barely-
living victims. Suddenly,
he feels old, as ancient
as this Polish winter.

Buried beneath snow, he sees
what seem like logs
thrown on the ground. Perhaps these
are packs of sleeping dogs,
but the closer the corporal gets,
the better defined they become

until he bears witness to piles of people:
mothers, children, old men—
all scarred with skeletal smiles—
bodies interred under a row
of tall chimneys that had sent
ash, soot, and what seems like

burnt paper floating lightly
as this snow, freshly fallen
on ground smudged with trails
of boot prints in the cinders—
all that remains of the
friends, family, or neighbors

to those still barely alive,
those shuffling few who survive.
Beneath those cylinders of brick,
squat warehouses keep the debris
of bodies, the burnt skin
seared from bones leaving only a skeleton.

He finds a solitary German
crouched inside one vacant oven,
and in white-hot ire
shoulders his Springfield to fire
round upon round
into the pleading enemy.

The young soldier will leave,
return home to marry
his high school sweetheart,
and raise a family. Meanwhile
never again will he feel
Spring’s warmth without tasting bile.

Bruce Black

Bruce Black is the editorial director of The Jewish Writing Project. His poetry and personal essays have appeared in Poetica, Poetry Super HighwayJewthinkLehrhaus, HevriaThe Jewish Literary Journal, Soul-Lit, The BeZine, Tiferet Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in Sarasota, FL.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Bruce Black and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The first survivor I ever met

Not far from campus, just a few blocks south
on Broadway, was a tiny stationary store where
I went every month to buy journals and pens.

This was when I was a student back in the 70s
before Amazon delivered these things to your door,
and I’d walk into this store, pull a few journals off

the shelf, pick a handful of cheap ballpoint pens out of a jar,
and take everything to the cash register at the end of the counter
where the old man who owned the shop waited to ring up the sale.

When he reached for the journals, I saw on the inside of his forearm,
tattooed on the pale skin, a row of numbers that I might have mistaken for
veins crisscrossing beneath his skin if I hadn’t known about the Holocaust.

He was the first survivor I’d ever met, his eyes haunted by things
he’d seen that I couldn’t even imagine, even though I was taking
a Holocaust literature class that year.

We stood a few feet apart talking over the counter as he slipped
the journals and pens into a paper bag as if the world was normal
and sane (and hadn’t gone crazy during his lifetime).

And I left the store wondering how he had survived such an experience,
the journal and pens in the bag under my arm an unexpected link to
the past that I knew one day I’d have to write about.

But I’d have to wait until I was ready to face the truth of those
numbers on his arm and the evil in the minds of the ones
who had put them there.

Carrie Magness Radna

Carrie Magness Radna is a NYPL audiovisual cataloger, an associate editor of Brownstone Poets, a singer and poet born in Norman, Oklahoma. Nominations: Best of the Web (2021); Pushcart Prize (2022). Previous publications: Muddy River Poetry Review, First Literary Review-East, Spillwords.com, Poetry Super Highway, Jerry Jazz Musician, Brownstone Poets Anthology, Cajun Mutt Press, Alien Buddha Press, Walt’s Corner, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Horror Sleaze Trash and The Poetic Bond (VIII—X). Poetry collections: Hurricanes never apologize (Luchador Press: 2019) and In the blue hour (Nirala Publications: 2021). She now lives in Manhattan, New York with her husband Rudolf.  https://www.carriemagnessradna.com

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Carrie Magness Radna and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Four questions

Why can’t we have spaghetti this week? 

Because we eat unleavened bread for Passover. Imagine being called out, to escape, & you only have an hour to leave everything behind, like your great-grandparents, who tried to leave Germany, but they couldn’t – they perished at Treblinka. Our ancestors, however, escaped Egypt, without stopping to let their bread rise. No spaghetti, no cakes, no toast. 
 
Why are you so bitter? 

Because I wish that I knew my great-grandparents before they were caught & sent to their death. If only the Germans acted with humanity, like they did after the war, then we would have known them. What a waste of life potential – what if the doctor who could cure all-known cancer ended up being killed as a kid? God, what a waste! 
 
Do you need to lay down? 

Not yet—Grandma is going to tell us the story at how she got here in New York, while her cousins ended up in Portugal. All had enough gumption and sense to leave that hellish place. 
 
Why do we keep doing the Passover readings? They get longer every year. 

So that we will always remember where we come from, & who we are, even when we ourselves end up as the ones who need to escape. But we did it all before: Egypt, Palestine before Israel, many European countries who hated/persecuted the Jews, even now, with Rwanda, Turkey (yes, Turkey!), & now, those still in Ukraine, we will survive, even those who are captured & died in the camps, they did not die in vain; they are remembered. They are missed & loved. Like them, we remember our first Exodus – we will never forget!  

Christopher Pomory

Christopher Pomory has a background in biology and outdoor education, and currently lives in Pensacola, Florida, USA.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Christopher Pomory and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Horror

Horror is brutality and terror.
It drips onto waking dreams as jelly
onto bread, turning them into nightmares.
It lodges in the back of sticky minds,
a tacky surface left by peeling tape
catching troubled thoughts trying to escape.
A creation of stern resolution
destroying all civility of life.
Action devoid of mindful compunction;
the expressive will of dis-compassion.
Horror’s repulsion for generations;
tattoo numbers from concentration camp
order cry out from sagging skin across
the failing decades, the horror is man.

Colin Jeffery

Colin Ian Jeffery is an established English poet and novelist with world-wide reputation, his books can be purchased from Amazon and all good bookshops. He was seven, a choirboy, when he became entranced by poetry after hearing the twenty-third psalm. The beauty of the words struck his soul like lightning and his Muse began to sing. He then found poetry was being read on the BBC radio Home Service and would listen in awe and delight to such poets as Dylan Thomas, John Betjeman, and Ted Hughes.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Colin Jeffery and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Two little girls

(Nazis exterminated six million Jews)

Little dark-haired Jewish girl
Too young to go to school
Strips naked beside her mother
Frightened eyes gazing all around
Seeing women and children stripping
Friends and neighbors from the ghetto.

German soldier hardened to task
Opens shower doors with a curse
Shouts for women and children to enter.
Pushes weeping girl as she passes him
Slams and bolts door behind her
Oblivious to mother’s desperate pleas.

Gas hisses from hidden vents
Terrified mothers hold children
Cradled dying to their bosoms
Trying to hide death from their eyes
Whispering words of love
Victims of Hitler’s Final Solution.

Tall blond SS officer in black uniform
Proud husband and father
Supervises burning of bodies
Goes home to his daughter
Same age as dark-haired Jewish girl
Lovingly rocks her to sleep on his knee.

Corinne Lawrence

Corinne lives in Bramhall in the South Manchester area of the UK. Several of her poems have been reviewed in Writers’ Forum and Writing Magazine, and she has won, and been placed or short listed in a number of competitions in both of these publications. Corinne has also had poems published by The Poetry Kit, Indigo Dreams Publishing in Reach Poetry, and in ‘For The Silent’ – an anthology published in 2019 in conjunction with The League Against Cruel Sports. In what she describes as a life changing experience, harrowing but necessary, Corinne visited Auschwitz in 2017.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Corinne Lawrence and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Visiting Auschwitz: 2017

‘Why on earth would you want to go there?’
I was asked so many times. No one dared
to say the name, as if to do so might infect
the air. The look in their eyes – just short of distaste –
even haunted me as I queued for a headset.

Then I walked the camp – deliberately built
in durable bricks and mortar, to outlive lives.
In its cramped corridors, I saw the cruel mug shots,
the suitcases, each family name scrawled
in brash white paint, saw the mounds
of sad shoes, and the processed hair.

Finally, when I stood in silence
where words
lose all meaning,
I knew my pilgrimage
had been right.
To ‘go there
is the least
anyone can do.

Daniel Irwin

Daniel S. Irwin a native of Southern Illinois lives Sparta, Illinois.  His card reads:  artist, actor, writer, soldier, scholar, priest…all true to some point.  Has been published in over one hundred magazines and journals worldwide, nine books…all which means little as you are only as good as your last endeavor.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Daniel Irwin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Bubba/Grandma Says

Bubba says the Nazis are back,
But they look like Russians.
They say, they’ve come to save us.
So, they destroy our city.
Bubba says the Nazis are
Here, yet again, to kill us Jews.
But, this time, they’re set on
Attacking everybody.
Bubba remembers all of this
From back when she was
Little more than a toddler.
“Remember this,” she says,
“The Holocaust is never-ending.”

Darrell Petska

Darrell Petska is a retired university editor. His poetry and fiction can be found in 3rd Wednesday Magazine, Nixes Mate Review, Verse Virtual, Loch Raven Review and widely elsewhere (conservancies.wordpress.com). Father of five and grandfather of six, he lives near Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife of 50 years.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Darrell Petska and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

(Three Tanka)

midnight in Auschwitz
piled shoes groping in darkness
to find their missing feet

dreams sunder like shoelaces
when morning tears you from bed

 


stumbling in darkness
six million shining stars
stricken from the sky

lighting candles one by one
to see where we must walk

 

 

Holocaust—
the unmoored boat
drifts toward darkness

Minecraft, Fortnite, Pokémon
anchor each daytime hour

Dave Ludford

Dave Ludford is a writer from Nuneaton, England. His poetry has appeared at Poetry Superhighway, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis and Leaves of Ink. In addition to poetry he writes short works of horror and science fiction which have appeared at a number of locations online, including Sirens Call magazine and 365 Tomorrows. His day job is shopping mall janitor.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Dave Ludford and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Lament

I’ve heard tell there was a concert hall in the old part of the city
A long time still and silent, dust-covered with the accompanying smell of neglect,
And on its stage instruments mute, waiting: violin, piano, cello, harp.
An elderly musician sat alone, motionless, head bowed, but as if poised
For a prompt to recommence playing.
Which he would, after the passage of many years,
Grabbing his violin and playing a lament of such powerful intensity the
Music soared towards the very heavens. It was all there: the pain, misery and suffering
Greater than any human soul could bear, but underscored with the one thing that sustained
The elderly musician throughout those long years, and this was hope.
There was no audience to acknowledge or give due praise for the music when it had once more ceased.
But witness there must have been, for we can tell the tale.

David Swan

A poet, a writer and solitary pilgrim along life’s path living in Campbeltown, Scotland. Visit David on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by David Swan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

I Am

I am small but can be tall.
I am fat, thin, black, white.
Funny and sad.

I am the sun rising early in the morning
Then descending slowly till I am the night.
I am the love your mother gave you, but
I am the hate that made you fight.

I am the sex that makes love to you sweet and light.
I am WAR. A seed hidden deep within you.
Stripping you bare with all my might.
I will give you the strength to build yourself up.
And with a single word bring you crashing down.
I am fear.
I am thunder.
I am a rainy day.
I am a sunray.
My storms have wreaked havoc across continents.
Rendered countries helpless. Thousands dead.
Children motionless with despair.
My wars have taken humanity to
The darkest regions of its soul.
I am Holocaust.
I am Atom Bomb.
And when the world finally collapses to its knees
Unable to witness its own destruction.
I will come.
For I am hope in the distance.
Coming out of the darkness into the light.
I am God, but the Devil too.
Do not try to understand me for
I will turn you insane.
Trust in me.
I am out there but in here.
I am the Universe and beyond.
I am all.
I am everything.
But most importantly of all,
I am nothing.

Dina Elenbogen

Dina Elenbogen is author of the poetry collection, Apples of the Earth (Spuyten Duyvil, NY) and the memoir, Drawn from Water (BkMkPress, University of Missouri.) She has received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and the Ragdale Foundation. Her work has appeared in magazines and anthologies including City of the Big shoulders (University of Iowa Press) Beyond Lament (Northwestern University Press), Lit Hub, Bellevue Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, december, Woven Tale Press, Patterson Literary Review, and many other magazines and anthologies. Dina teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago and lives in Evanston, Il. Visit Dina on the web at www.dinaelenbogen.com

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Dina Elenbogen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

We Built a House

Sarah Weil writes to her husband the painter Shraga Weil at the end of his life

*

We built a house out of everywhere
because nowhere was safe except the place
our eyes met—even as yours looked west to Budapest,
and mine gazed east toward the dream.

We lived in the places our fingers joined.
Your other hand forged documents
so Juden could move invisibly through cities.
My left hand sewed lead from your pencils

into the hems of our coats, just in case.
We built a house out of just in case.
We ran with blueprints in our mittens, back
and forth to Slovakia, until we were caught.

They thought they could keep us apart
in the Hungarian prison but we still had the insides of your pencils.
I will never forget the words we wrote, one at a time
on scraps of paper, the words we rolled into balls and left

on courtyard sills. When they took us
on separate strolls, I saw your face in the distance
as you unrolled my gift. The smile that only I understood
bloomed in the house we built of secrets.

Alone I imagined your hands,
the lives you saved with your signature.
When I heard stories of others with yellow stars
my nights were the color of ash.

*

We believed the sea would free us
as we sailed toward Palestine. We built
a house of water in our ship of orphans.
When we were captured again in Cyprus

your canvas held the blue of the Mediterranean.
For nine months you built structures
with the children, out of wooden blocks.
When we reached the shores of Tel-Aviv
a tent was already pitched for us on Kibbutz.
Our visions mingled with the soil that kept us.
Our hands, sticky from orange groves, were
always entwined. You called me

your muse and sketched faces of halutzim
the miracle of daily life, the way you once drew the faces of evil.
You made Hebrew signs and painted
pomegranates, phoenixes, and rams.

They built you a straw hut for your paintings.
Laughing, we called it the Louvre.
When you looked back, farther back than Europe,
you painted Jacob, Joseph and Abraham

who sacrificed his son.
I don’t know when the colors
in Joseph’s coat became black and white stripes.
The haunted face of the prisoner sits on the edge

of your canvas, My love. We built a house with our hands
our words and our silence..We built a house
of forgetting.


This poem is based on a photo of the Weils when they were young
 as well as an interview with their daughter

“We Built a House” from New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust (Vallentine Mitchell), forthcoming, used with permission.

Don Krieger

Don Krieger is a biomedical researcher (University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA) whose focus is the electric activity within the brain. He is author of the 2020 hybrid collection, “Discovery” (Cyberwit), the 2022 hybrid chapbook, “When Danger Is Past, Who Remembers?” (Milk and Cake Press), a 2020 Pushcart nominee, and a 2020 Creative Nonfiction Foundation Science-as-Story Fellow. His work has appeared in Seneca Review, The Asahi Shimbun, Beltway Quarterly, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, American Journal of Nursing, Neurology, and others, and has been translated into Farsi, Greek, Italian, German, Turkish, and Romanian. Visit Don on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Don Krieger and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Dear Friend,

If we had sat together
in a Berlin café
on that black election day in ’32,
sharing our art,
laughing and learning,

I know you would have spoken for evil
though the beast and his brown-shirts
were weaker then
than ours are now.

Would you still have spoken so in ’33
when their mad master so like ours
triumphed,

or weeks later
when their Capitol burned,
or the next day
when their Patriot Act passed,
or the next month
when their Manzanar opened?

What say you now, so like then,
just weeks since our President’s darlings,
The Uncolored Beasts,
swarmed our Reichstag?

Which of us will pick up your tab this time
and what will it be?

When is the end of friendship?

Will you speak for the monsters still,
tender yet again
your gaslighting caress
to all of us who love you?

Doris Fiszer

Doris Fiszer has recently published her first full-length poetry collection, Locked in Different Alphabets, Silver Bow Publishing and is the author of two chapbooks: The Binders, Tree Press and Sasanka (Wild Flower), Bywords Publication. Her poetry awards include the 2017 John Newlove Award and Tree Press’s 2016 Chapbook contest (The Binders) which was also shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award. Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies in Canada and the United States.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Doris Fiszer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Słoneczko

I’m fine I always said
whenever my parents asked.
Father held me tight on the bobsled.



Mother’s love, a hefty wool blanket,

that warmed our home.
Still, they couldn’t shield me


from their war-time trauma, though
I wasn’t starved in Nazi camps

forced to labour from daybreak to dusk,



I knew nothing of hungering for a country
or weeping for those who had perished.
Grief shadowed them


from room to room. I’m fine.

Little ray of sunshine—
my mother’s endearment for me.

 

Published previously in the chapbook, Sasanka (Wild Flower), Bywords Publication, 2018 and in Locked in Different Alphabets, Silver Bow Publishing, 2020.

Duane L Herrmann

Internationally published, award-winning poet and historian, Duane L Herrmann has work translated into several languages, published in a dozen countries, in print and online. He has a sci fi novel, seven full-length collections of poetry, a history book, and more chapbooks. His poetry has received the Robert Hayden Poetry Fellowship, inclusion in American Poets of the 1990s, Map of Kansas Literature (website), Kansas Poets Trail and others. These accomplishments defy his traumatic childhood embellished by dyslexia, ADHD and, now, PTSD. He spends his time on the prairie with trees in the breeze and writes – and loves moonlight!

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Duane L Herrmann and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Juden Friedhof

Decades later
the village decided
to give care
to the resting place
of former residents
whose descendents
no longer could.
All were warned,
“Leave NOW!”
And they did
with dignity –
a bright spot
in Dark Times.
Now their cemetery
is maintained
at Reckendorf expense –
Juden Friedhof:
Sacred Place.

 

From No Known Address, 2020, Poetica Publishing

Eduard Schmidt-Zorner

Eduard Schmidt-Zorner is a translator and writer of poetry, haibun, haiku, and short stories. He writes in four languages: English, French, Spanish, and German and holds workshops on Japanese and Chinese style poetry and prose and experimental poetry. Member of four writer groups in Ireland. Lives in County Kerry, Ireland, for more than 25 years and is a proud Irish citizen, born in Germany. Published in over 170 anthologies, literary journals, and broadsheets in USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Spain, Italy, France, Bangladesh, India, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, and Nigeria. He writes also under the penname Eadbhard McGowan. Visit Eduard on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Eduard Schmidt-Zorner and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Bergen Belsen

Barbed wire as bitter ornament,

these butterflies of filament

do not fly away.

Water drops and tears
hanging from the thread.
The poles vibrate in the wind
memorials for the dead.


The ear pressed to the wall.

You hear the shadows in an empty hall?

Was it a sigh? A cry far away?
Above you, shuffling,

beneath you, marching,

never a response, silence is deafening.


Love could not stand it, hatred had nowhere to go,

grief vanished, replaced by woe.
All pleading in vain.


Did you suspect it? Have you been warned?

Were not dark birds on the branches?

Did they not dig a hole for you?
Was there no sign on the wall?

Elisa Albo

Elisa Albo was born in Havana and all of her grandparents were Turkish Jews. A contributing editor of Grabbed: Poets and Writers on Sexual Harassment, Empowerment, and Healing (Beacon Press), her poetry chapbooks are Passage to America and Each Day More (March Street Press). An associate editor for the South Florida Poetry Journal, her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies such as Crab Orchard Review, Notre Dame Review, SWWIM Every Day, and Two-Countries: U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents. A professor of English and ESL at Broward College, she lives with her family in Ft. Lauderdale.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Elisa Albo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Terezin, Czech Republic, 1997

The camp sits empty now. Knots of tour groups peer
into dusty barracks, glance at communal toilets, over
stone walls rising from a dry moat that never defended
a thing or being. Along the paths between buildings,

gravel cracks, crunches. The noise wrecks the air,
my ears, the inner barracks of my heart each time I step
like stepping on bones, graves—who knows in this dust
what remains? Ushered into a low building we scurry

through a long, narrow passage and abruptly out to,
the guide informs, the very spot where people were
shot. I look down to my feet. I want to rise above
the ground, to not step anywhere. During the war,

did Red Cross workers who visited this model camp
an hour east of Prague believe the Nazi propaganda
film, makeshift stores, soccer games and cheering
crowds were real? Stopping at a memorial that holds

a fistful of soil from other camps, Sara, a young woman
from New York, bends down for a stone to place on
the marble and in a parallel gesture, I bend with her,
as I’ve done at my grandmother’s grave, to remember…

yisgadal, v’yisgadash, sh’ may rabo… the Kaddish
spills from my lips, first lines, all I recall of the Hebrew
prayer for the dead. I rush out of the compound—
past rows of bright white crosses, Stars of David,

bunches of red carnations like thousands of small
explosions or individual burning bushes in front
of each unnamed marker—into the parking lot
past food stands, tourists eating candy and rapidly

dissolving ice cream, cameras strung from their necks.
The floor in the Terezin Museum is carpeted, voices
hushed. Galleries split with partitions display pictures
and papers—an edict, a warning, several orders, plans,

charts, drawings, photographs, records, so many careful
records naming victims, giving them faces, people who
passed through trains to Belzec, Chelmo, Majdanek,
Sobibor, Treblinka, and Osvetim, Czech for Auschwitz,

everything typed up, written down, catalogued, thoroughly
documented, as if someone someday would need to know
exactly to whom, precisely when, where, how many…why?
On a monitor in several galleries, an elderly woman recounts

her days in Terezin, her words close captioned in English
for the multitudes of foreign tourists, many of whom sigh,
having had enough of death and despair for one day. But
the videotape is on a loop—she cannot stop telling her story.

 

Published in the author’s chapbook, Each Day More, Main Street Rag, 2014

Elsa Fischer

Elsa Fischer lives in Bern, Switzerland but was born in the Netherlands in 1940. Always a lover of poetry she started writing her own poems after retirement. She has published in magazines and anthologies in the UK, Ireland and North America. She has two chapbooks and is working towards a collection. Her poem  “shoa” was inspired by the Stumbling Blocks of the German artist Günter Demnig. They can be found, set into the pavements of many European cities but specifically in Berlin.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Elsa Fischer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

shoa

brass squares set into sidewalks 

four by four inches   Here Lived

your eyes stumble    Here Lived 

six million names  vanish unless 

you remember   bow your head

bring a rose a stone Here Lived



After Günter Demnig’s « Stumbling Blocks »

Franci Levine-Grater

Franci Levine-Grater is a lifelong poet. She has worked as a freelance writer, editor, teacher and fundraiser with a focus on using language and storytelling as a tool to advance equity, celebrate beauty, and promote self-actualization and the common good. She enjoys yoga, gardening, playing with her dogs, and spending time with family. Visit Franci on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Franci Levine-Grater and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

At Babi Yar

At the park on Sunday
full of people playing ball, tossing discs, walking dogs,
riding bikes, climbing, laughing, screaming, eating, happy
in this sunny moment,
I am listening to the names of the dead
murdered at Babi Yar

I am struck
when there seem to be twins with the same family name and birthday, murdered together
and when I hear the name of someone I know
and when I hear my own name
and when someone murdered at Babi Yar is the same age as
one of my children or one of my parents
and when an infant’s name is read
and when the person’s first name last name birthdate or age is unknown
and when all the information is unknown
and all we know is that a Jew was murdered at Babi Yar

A particular Jew among the 33,771 murdered
over two days in 1941 at Babi Yar

A particular Jew who may have loved to bake, who may have been athletic,
who may have been shy, or watched birds, or loved city life,
or suffered from illness, or dreamed of a great love, or had a great love,
or lost a great love, or believed in God, or did not

This particular Jew was murdered at Babi Yar
33,771 Jews were murdered and their descendants, the lost tribe,
are not sitting in sunny parks today

So we, the living, read their names
we listen to their names
we exalt in their 33,771 names
one after the other
through the night and into this glorious day
to honor the lives they lived
and the lives they did not
because they were Jews
murdered at Babi Yar

Germain Droogenbroodt

Germain Droogenbroodt, is a Belgian poet, living in Spain, translator and promoter of international poetry. He received many international awards and is yearly invited at the most prestigious international poetry festivals, nominated in 2017 for the Nobel Prize of Literature. He wrote 15 books of poetry published so far in 28 countries. The Indian poet-publisher Thachom Poyil Rajeevan compared his philosophical poetry with the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore whereas in Spain his poetry has been compared with Juan Ramón Jimenez. According to Chinese critics his poetry is TAO and ZEN. Visit Germain on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Germain Droogenbroodt and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Fugue of Death

Death, we drink you,

we drink you with our eyes,

we drink you with our ears

we drink you day by day

Dead, no time is left to say goodbye,
no time to dig your graves,

the leaders paved the road

with hypocrisy and dazzling lies.

Death, we drink you,
we drink you with our eyes,

we drink you with our ears

we drink you day by day.


Todesfuge (Fugue of death), famous poem by Paul Celan 
about the extermination of Jews by the Nazis

Greg Bell

Greg Bell has written all his life as a necessity.  It took a critical illness to waken him to publishing in 2013.  Since then, he’s found homes for some of his work in anthologies & literary journals—as well as his mother’s piano bench—and was 2020 recipient of The Kowit Poetry Prize.  He’s author of hybrid poetry collection Looking for Will: My Bardic Quest with Shakespeare (Ion Drive Publishing, 2015) and two award-winning plays.  He currently leads Green Poets Workshop @ Beyond Baroque and says: “We are the witnesses, the Jiminy Crickets, the agents of change; let’s go!”

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Greg Bell and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Lest We Forget

Stone on stone we piled to make a monument
stone on stone to vow: Never Again!
Babi Yar

As in Never Again shall the Nazis kill en masse
As in Never Again shall Masada fall
Babi Yar

But now the Russians come to remind us of Holodomor
and bring us again the great emptiness
Babi Yar

They bombard us and blast us to topple the stones we piled
and shoot the people left to die in the ditch
Babi Yar

And now we’re left to remember this Never Again
and Never Again arises to say what it says:
Babi Yar

Gregg Shapiro

Gregg Shapiro is the author of eight books including the poetry chapbook Fear of Muses (Souvenir Spoon Books, 2022). Recent/forthcoming lit-mag publications include The Penn Review, Book of Matches, Sangam Literary Magazine, Exquisite Pandemic, RFD, Gargoyle, Limp Wrist, Mollyhouse, Poetic Medicine, Impossible Archetype, The Pine Cone Review, and POETiCA REViEW. An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBTQ+ publications and websites, Shapiro lives in South Florida with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Gregg Shapiro and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tattoo

My father won’t talk about the numbers. 3-7-8-2-5
between the wrist and elbow, blue as blood on his
left forearm. Instead, he spreads himself over me
spilling his protection, like acid, until it burns.
I wear him like a cloak, sweat under the weight.

There are stories in the lines on his face, his
bone-crushing hugs, the nervous blue flash
in his eyes. I am drowning in his silence,
trying to stay afloat on curiosity. Questions
choke me and I swallow hard.

We don’t breathe the same air, speak the same
language, live in the same universe. We are
continents, worlds apart. I am sorry my life
has remained unscathed. His scars still
bleed, his bruises don’t fade.

If I could trade places with him, I would pad
the rest of his days. Wrap him in gauze and
velvet, absorb the shocks and treat his wounds.
I would scrub the numbers from his flesh, extinguish
the fire and give him back his life.


(Previously published in various anthologies and textbooks.)

Greta Ross

Born in Australia, Greta Ross now lives in Canterbury, England, and is an active member of SaveAs Writers. She is currently completing an MA in Poetry Writing from Newcastle University. Greta’s poems have appeared in anthologies, and won prizes in international and national competitions. Her poems respond to the natural world and the effects of social and political events on people and places, drawing on her experience as a doctor and traveller in many parts of the world. She enjoys taking risks with her writing and experimenting with poetic form.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Greta Ross and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Codes of Being

I.
Berlin
He shaved his beard that summer and removed the locks.
She asked was it too hot for beards. He said, you know.
I do not recognise you, she said.
This is just the beginning.
No, she said, it is the end.
It is a matter of survival he said, and went to open the door.

Krakow
She sees the blur on the horizon, knows it is not fog,
feels its smell on her skin.
Is this the end or the beginning, she asks.
She keeps pointing at shadows
but others see nothing and say nothing.
You know, she said, it is hard to know what is and isn’t.


II.
London
He grew a beard that summer.
She thought it was too hot for beards.
I do not recognise you she said.
This is my beginning.
No, she said, it is your end.
Mine is not a question of survival, he said and closed the door.

Raqqa
He sights along the horizon’s blur, hears the smoke,
feels bitterness enter his skin,
sees rage stalking the hills, the streets.
He points out shadows, smells flesh
but others see nothing and say nothing.
You know, he tells them, it’s hard to know who is and isn’t.


[Commended in Poetry Space, 2017]

Hanoch Guy

Hanoch is an emeritus professor of Jewish and Hebrew literature in Temple University.He has taught poetry and mentoring at the Muse center. Hanoch has published his poetry in the U.S,England,Wales Greece and Israel.He Is the author of  twelve collections of poetry;One Hebrew collection.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Hanoch Guy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Faint souls

Blinding electric fences
striped skeletons
on narrow straw planks

Faint souls flicker
between phosphorous
fumes.

Baracks fall into
hell’s mouth
on victory day.

Harriet Booth

Unofficial Poet in Residence providing poetry in not-so-random places in and around Lancing, UK.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Harriet Booth and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Revisiting Vienna at 88

We eat rich ice creams
shaded from the August heat
people bustle past

Up that street is where the Gestapo took my father – he was released because his good friend held a higher rank than the arresting officer

My mind lurches thrown
by luck determining fate
cold stark randomness

We spend a morning
walking round her synagogue
saved by narrow streets

They couldn’t burn this one down – it’s too close to the cathedral. We played in the galleries during the Shema

I imagine her
running above the rabbi
blonde blue-eyed carefree

Not far from here I was taken from the park – my mother spent the day trying to get me back. I don’t know what happened to my friends

We do not go there
memory shattering time
she clasps her fear close

Before packing up
we find the former ghetto
facade unaltered

I’m still here – that’s what I have to say.

Henry Greenspan

Henry “Hank” Greenspan  of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a playwright, oral historian, and psychologist, emeritus at the University of Michigan. He has been interviewing, teaching about, and writing about Holocaust survivors since the 1970s. Along with two non-fiction books and multiple scholarly articles, his essays and poetry have appeared in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Tablet, The Forward, Times of Israel, the Jerusalem Post, the Boston Globe, and the Detroit Free Press. His plays have been produced for NPR and at more than three hundred stage venues worldwide. Visit Henry on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Henry Greenspan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Chang and Eng

Hometown, ghetto, Auschwitz, Los Angeles, the whole megillah.
They sent a wonderful kid to get me and Gigi on the tape.
This girl says we’re amazing, all the survivors, not just Gigi and me.
We really want to help her.

So I’m reading a book, PT Barnum: America’s Biggest Showman.
PT Barnum had Siamese twins, Chang and Eng. Everybody knew them.
And the book says, this I remember exactly, the book says,
“Chang died first, to the horror of Eng, who managed, for some hours, to live on.”

I say to the girl, I say, “See? That’s it. I’m Eng. I’m Eng.”
Fifty years. I’m stuck to the corpse.
Stuck to Chang. Stuck to Chang.
He’s my corpse. And I live on.

Igor Goldkind

Igor Goldkind is an author, poet, and independent scholar.  At the age of 14 he met Ray Bradbury, whom he asked for advice about becoming a writer. In 2016, his award-winning multimedia novel IS SHE AVAILABLE?, broke ground in combining Poetry, Comics, Jazz, and Animation setting a new bar in electronic publishing. He continued to blend poetry with art in his new  work TAKE A DEEP BREATH, Living With Uncertainty, an illustrated collection of essays, poetry, and short stories confronting the pandemic in personal terms. Igor writes and lives in the San Diego, California but misses the UK. Visit Igor on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Igor Goldkind and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

I Belong in Auschwitz

I am in Auschwitz
Where I belong
I have a nostalgia for the present That is escaping Over the razor-wire’s edge.
I pass bread to children,
Stolen from others’ open mouths
I have a nostalgia for the moment
As it whips me by.
Thrash and hold me,
With this and that.
Count my spectacles and stack my shoes:
Everyone and everything in its place:
A place for everything,
Everything is in its place.
Because this is that
And all you know is history.

Like a shrinking womb
Or Regret folding in on itself
Disemboweled like an exploding flower:
Leopold Bloom . . .

I’ll line you up against the wall of your elocution
Then leave you to bury the mountain of your body
In the mud, shit and snow.

I am in Auschwitz
Where I belong.
I have a nostalgia for the present
From which there is no escape,
Not even into the long shadow of history.

Ivan Klein

Ivan Klein published Toward Melville, a book of poems from New Feral Press, in July 2018. Previously published Alternatives to Silence from Starfire Press and the chapbook Some Paintings by Koho & A Flower Of My Own from Sisyphus Press. In 2021 The Hat and Other Poems and Prose was published by Sixth Floor Press.  His work has also been published in the Forward, Urban Graffiti, Otoliths, Leviathan and numerous other periodicals. He is a regular contributor to Arteidolia, an online magazine of the arts, being featured most recently in this month’s issue.  He lives and works in Manhattan.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Ivan Klein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Toward 3 Definitions

1. Judenhut (Jew Hat)

The sculpture of the Wandering Jew on the shelf above my desk models just
such a hat. — Pulled over the ears and well down on the forehead, it almost touches his unfortunate abraded nose. A bit like a dunce cap, but self-demeaning, so that walking about in real life the wearer shows himself to all the world as harmless to the limen of the invisible.

The terrified living
breathing Yid

beneath his shabby cap
of submission,

fashions of himself
a nullity

As he sleepwalks
the nightmare street
of his stricken soul.

I pray for him and his kind
to turn the corner,
get blessedly home,

Declare themselves alive against all comers.

2. Luftmensch (en)

An impractical person with his head in the clouds according to Webster’s — Lit.: Air Man. — Perhaps in contemporary usage closer to “air head.”

The Yiddish term encompasses, moreover, the paradoxes of exile and the yearning for the eternal.

The well-known early twentieth century Anglo-Jewish writer, Israel Zangwell, saw “the peculiar aloofness” of the luftmenschen as a barrier [shield?] that “prevented them from ever facing the realities of life.” — A whole class of indigent students, ghostly rabbis and misfits haunting the Jewish ghettos of the world.

Spiritual castle in the air
the dwelling places for
the luftmenschen among us.
Those brothers too freighted
with a holy lightness
for the leaden descent
to this devouring earth.

3. Jew Bastard

Rootless / gutless
and no heart at all.
Without a father in heaven
or on this very earth.

Deep down,
not true to himself or his fellow man
in whatever land he has found and lost himself.
Not ready to stand his ground anywhere,
at any time, is what it comes to.

“Jew bastard!” — The deepest and most contemptuous
of the epithets heaped upon us.

Blood sucker and kin to Jesus.
A stain on their Savior that they loathe in
themselves / as well as in us.

“Jew bastard” — that crack in
the smooth array of the universe.
__________________

Out of the dark tunnel of fear and humiliation,
the judgment of empty bastardy
screams out at me;
the nightmare sleepwalks of
the forebears
screams out at me.
Resolve to defend body and soul
with knife and gun.

Remember that, if nothing else,
we have insisted that there is
           at least 
      a father in heaven, 
      however difficult
          He may be.     

J.R. Solonche

Nominated for the National Book Award and twice-nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, J.R. Solonche is the author of 26 books of poetry and coauthor of another. He lives in the Hudson Valley.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by J.R. Solonche and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

At The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

1.
Getting off the crowded elevator at the top floor,
our group just about to start the tour
in the dark, narrow hallway,
the narrow darkness which will follow us for three hours,
a tall woman in sandals and shorts says,
Are we supposed to look at both sides at once?


2.
Three hours later, on the street in front of the entrance,
the summer sun so bright it is painful, a little girl,
not more than eight or nine, on a class trip, says,
They were very bad people weren’t they
for God to punish them like that?


3.
That evening after dinner and a walk around
the Reflecting Pool, on the train going to the hotel,
I answer, Yes, if you don’t look at both sides at once
you will miss all the evil in the world.
I answer, No, they were not very bad people,
it was God who was very bad, he did not look at both sides at once,
he missed all the evil in the world.

Jake Aller

Jake Cosmos Aller is a retired U.S. Diplomat who served 27 years in the U.S. State Department in over ten countries during his career. He served in Korea, Thailand, India, Barbados, and Spain. He served in the Peace Corps in Korea and taught overseas before starting his diplomatic career. He was graduated from the University of Washington with an MPA degree and a degree in Korean studies.  He grew up in Berkeley, California. Furthermore, he blogs at https://theworldaccordingtocosmos.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Jake Aller and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Thoughts on Visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC 

San Adams  
Had never been  
To the Holocaust Museum,  
 
Despite the fact  
He had lived  
And worked in DC for decades  
 
One day after he retired 
He said to himself 
It was long past time  
To finally see the holocaust museum 
 
He went the week  
After Charleston,  
When the mob had chanted, 
 Jews will not replace us.  
 
The museum affected him deeply 
He had just confirmed  
Through DNA  
 
That he had at least 10 percent 
Jewish ancestry 
Among the 18 other nationalities 
Swirling among these bloodlines 
 
Sam Adams was concerned  
Those elements of antisemitism  
We’re emerging among  
The MAGA crowd. 
  
But he dismissed 
 The fears that Trump  
Was another Hitler  
As liberal hyperbole 
 
It could not happen here 
A new holocaust  
Would never happen 
But now he was not so sure 

Jan Chronister

Jan Chronister lives in Maple, Wisconsin and enjoys retirement by writing more, gardening, and worrying less. She is the author of two full-length poetry collections and five chapbooks, one of which focuses on the Holocaust.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Jan Chronister and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

How to Remember

Build an Anne Frank bookcase
in your new house,
teeth your babies on bagels,
commemorate Kristalnacht
celebrate Hannukah.

The present situation
pales when compared
to the Holocaust.
Masks and isolation
won’t wipe out
entire families.
It’s been two years
not six, not forever.

I almost forgot,
didn’t want to write
another poem about it.
Four posts on Facebook
in less than ten minutes
made me do it.

Jay Passer

Jay Passer’s work has appeared in print and online publications since 1988. He is the author of 12 collections of poetry and prose. He has been a cook, housepainter, courier, barista, warehouseman, bookseller, soda jerk, and mortician’s apprentice. Curiously, his written work has not yielded him any remunerative employment status. Passer lives and works in San Francisco, the city of his birth.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Jay Passer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tour de Infinity

like an earthquake, or a volcano,
a hurricane or tsunami-

it could happen again.

so learn to hover, and burrow,
and swim like Moby Dick.

you have to get out in front of it.
pen a Pulitzer Prize-winning
comic strip.

woe the human race;
too unconsciously,
too smoothly imitating nature
to notice how easily one can get used to

walking backwards.

JC Sulzenko

Canadian JC Sulzenko’s  poetry has appeared in anthologies and journals and online, either under her own name or the pseudonym, A. Garnett Weiss, used for her found poems and award-winning centos. In July 2021, Aeolus House released Bricolage, and her work figured in the Art of Conversation exhibition. Point Petre Publishing published South Shore Suite…POEMS in 2017. She has written six books for children and families, plus a play on dementia. JC curates the Glebe Report’s “Poetry Quarter” and selects for bywords.ca. Her life is governed by triangulation: Ottawa, Prince Edward County and Toronto call to her. Visit JC on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by JC Sulzenko and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Panorama

At seventeen, she claims a starched maid’s uniform
Packs, sits up days and nights on a train
Arrives after dark, impatient for that first view
  of “Perfect Lake Louise”

The next morning, mist rides the mountains
  a tease of milky jade where the lake should be
She walks the lobby — walls of windows
  brocade chairs — her summer domain, six days a week

A rag in one hand, a bag for ashes, butts and gum
  in the other, she vacuums, dusts the high halls
Scrubs sinks, floors, toilets
Forgets to watch the georgette greens of the water

All day, people stream past, sit, take photos
  the same as gift shop postcards
Sometimes they say hello, offer a tip
Otherwise, she feels invisible

Mid-August, the lake turns emerald, clear
A bus belches blue-rinse women asking for igloos
  and one man in brown chequered shorts
Chewing a stogie, he approaches

You have a lot of Jews here! his voice polite
Heat rises up her neck, fills her throat
He smiles! Smiles!

She cannot breathe or take one step
How can you tell? Her voice quiet

You can smell them! He smiles again

She stares.
Smell any now? No?
Well, here’s one!
She points to her heart

He opens his mouth.
The cigar drops to the floor

She bolts through a mirrored door, stumbles
down hidden corridors to her one friend
that glacier season

She trembles in his arms —
the first time afraid for who she is


[This poem first appeared in the Canadian Jewish News and then in the poet’s debut collection, South Shore Suite…POEMS]

Jen Schneider

Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Jen Schneider and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

to never forget

to never forget
requires
     that one
         & all
always remember
           revisit  
re-see
                    all
                    that one (& all)
wish
to never know
as truth

Joan Annsfire

Joan Annsfire is a retired librarian who lives in Berkeley California. Her poetry chapbook, “Distant Music” was published by Headmistress Press. Her poetry has appeared in Sinister Wisdom, many issues and “To Be a Jewish Dyke in the 21stCentury, Rising Phoenix Review, Birdland Journal, in anthologies 11/9: The Fall of American Democracy and awarded a prize for “Under Siege,” by “The Times They Were A- Changing, Women Remember the 60’s and 70’s,” “The Queer Collection,” “99 Poems for the 99 Percent,” “Milk and Honey, a Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry, The Harrington Lesbian Literary Quarterly among many others. Visit Joan on there web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Joan Annsfire and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Ghosts…

People who don’t know me
Point with sharp fingers
Unable to see my ancestry,
Say something about the color of my paper-white skin,
while denying the facts of my history.
It’s not my blood, or DNA,
that leaves them blind,
but the lost ability to see into my past
to align the chronology of my heart, my experience
with their mistaken assumptions
that penetrate the guise of justice and
whitewash my soul with lies like acid rain.

My people struggled against genocide
The dead of my past are not
meaningless, empty shells
existing only mathematically in false equations,
They are a line of proud fighters
standing in truth, in bold determination,
recounting in their own words,
their fading, poignant story.

I cannot hide in shameful silence
My aging, queer, semitic soul outpaces rhetoric.
To know me as I truly am,
call me by all my names:
Jew, Lesbian, Warrior,
Survivor.

Until we learn the lessons
of all our ancestors.
Their sagas will remain cloaked in falsehoods,
rheir struggles defiled by lies.
They stand unflinchingly
beyond fragility’s borders,
Unbowed by time’s relentless glare
Haunting all of us with righteous memories,
plaguing us with dismembered dreams.

Joan E. Bauer

Joan E. Bauer is the author of two full-length poetry collections, The Almost Sound of Drowning (Main Street Rag, 2008) and The Camera Artist (Turning Point, 2021). Recent poems have been published in Paterson Literary Review, Slipstream and Chiron Review. For some years, she worked as a teacher and counselor and now divides her time between Venice, CA and Pittsburgh, PA. where she co-hosts and curates the Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series with Kristofer Collins. Her new poetry manuscript, Fig Season, is forthcoming from Turning Point in May 2023.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Joan E. Bauer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Why I Remember Fiorello & His Sister Gemma

Because he was ‘the Little Flower,’ his name from Italian.
five-twot 2 & New York’s greatest mayor.

Because he built airports, the West Side Highway,
parks & playgrounds, subsidized housing.

Because during a newspaper strike, he read kids the Sunday
‘funnies,’ Dick Tracy, on the radio.

Because he opposed Prohibition. I am certain the good Lord
never intended grapes to be made into grape jelly.

Because he loathed mobsters & put Luciano in the slammer.
Because he was Republican but an FDR ally.

Because he was fiercely anti-Hitler. Stubborn & tireless.
It makes no difference if I burn my bridges. I never retreat.

Because his older sister Gemma, teaching in Budapest,
married her Jewish student. Because Eichmann ordered them

arrested so he could hold her as a hostage. Because
at Ravensbrück, Gemma was a ‘prize’ & so spared forced labor.

Because she taught the women English & they called her ‘Mutti.’
She didn’t know her daughter & grandson were

also prisoners at Ravensbrück. Because as the war ended,
Fiorello was directing UN Relief & Rehabilitation.

Because he wouldn’t bend the rules to bring his family quickly
to America.

Because when they reached New York in ’47,
La Guardia was dying of cancer. Because he installed them

in a Queens housing project. No other provision.
Because in ’62, Gemma died in Queens at Elmhurst Hospital,

but not before writing of the the children wearing rags
at Ravensbrück. ‘The little skeletons.’


– Previously published in Muddy River Poetry Review

Joan Magiet

Joan Beverly is a former Assistant Professor of Englilsh, adjunct faculty at SUNY, Nassau, an award winning magazine article writer, journalist and poet. She is a founding member of PPA, former contest judge and editor. She has hosted monthly poetry readings on Long Island and in Sarasota, Fla. She is the author of four  books of poetry. Her book, Tender Chains is available on Amazon.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Joan Magiet and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Coming Home

1939

While my parents married in New York,
you fled with yours from Poland to Toshkent,
lived in rooms once frequented by rats,
walked shoeless to school wearing
borrowed clothes from neighbors like you
escaping death in a Nazi prison camp.

1945

While I studied ballet, modern dance,
you played with paper planes,
slept in rooms where blankets were beds,
ate soup from potatoes and water,
anticipated a weekly slice of bread,
felt poverty spill over you like cold rain.

1949

While I learned algebra, French, biology
you sat in a London classroom,
listened to unfamiliar words,
carried books you couldn’t read,
walked up five flights in wordless joy
to your mother, father and new brother.

1951

While I attended birthday parties,
summered at mountain resorts,
you arrived in Manhattan, Pier 44
eager to open like morning eyes to America.
The majestic lady in the harbor erased
heavy memories written on your skin.

1960

While I pledged a sorority, planned dates,
you rode the subway from day and evening
college classes to endless hours of work
in a stale pharmacy, studied on the long ride home,
imagined the time you would hear
the sound of your heart
attaching itself to mine.

John Anthony Fingleton

John Anthony Fingleton: Was born in Cork City, in the Republic of Ireland. Has lived in many countries including the UK, France, Mexico as well as six tours to different states in Africa, during service with the French Armed Forces Now living in Paraguay South America.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by John Anthony Fingleton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Track

There is silence now
Not even night owls hoot,
The track does not betray past sounds,
It has been like this since 1945
When the last cattle truck
Rumbled over this awful cursed ground.
With noises hidden by its rattling wheels
The dead motion of the train
Mixed in with this confusion
The sound of human pain.
Despair mixed in with Kaddish prayers,
Cries representing every single scope –
Pleading, fear and anguish-
But nowhere was heard – one single cry of hope.

Joy Gaines-Friedler

Joy Gaines-Friedler is the author of three books of poetry, her most recent Capture Theory (Kelsay Books, 2018) is a Forward Review Indiefab Finalist, and an Edward Hoffer Award, Finalist. A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, her work is published in over 80 anthologies and literary magazines including The Bloomsbury Anthology of Jewish American Poets, and 101 Jewish Poems for the third Millennium. Her chapbook Stone On A Stone is a 2021 winner of The Friends of Poetry Chapbook Contest. Other awards include, The Litchfield Review Poetry Prize. Joy teaches creative writing for non-profits, and communities at risk in S.E Michigan. Visit Joy on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Joy Gaines-Friedler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Jerusalem : At the Market in The Old City

A small woman
In the clothes of Poland
Before the darkness
Before the heart tattooed
    with its grief
Schmatas
My mother calls them
Ragged, patched together,
Reclaimed.
She is wearing her exile,
Her lost mother’s
Memory, her flag of
Small comfort.

Whatever happened—
Keeps happening.

Keeps her from escaping
The night howl of train whistles.

Her smile keeps clean
The golden stone of Jerusalem.

She is holding
A single bill in one hand
Buying macaroons.
Something sweet for the table.

 

(Published in Writer’s Digest, 2010 as 6th Place Writer’s Digest Contest winner.)

Judith R. Robinson

Judith R. Robinson* is an editor, teacher, fiction writer, poet and visual artist. A 1980 summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, she is listed in the Directory of American Poets and Writers. She has published 100+ poems, five poetry collections, one fiction collection; one novel; edited or co-edited eleven poetry collections. Teacher: Osher at Carnegie Mellon University. Newest poetry collection is “Buy A Ticket,” WordTech Editions, 2022. Newest edited collection is “Speak, Speak,” poetry of Gene Hirsch, Cyberwit.com 2020. Visit Judith on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Judith R. Robinson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Skinless and Boneless

for Dora Iwler

Skinless and Boneless
is how they wanted you.

Heartless and Gutless
is how they were.

To gorge themselves
on the flesh of your people

Was the method they used
to feed their rage.

Vilified victim,
chosen again,

you chose survival.

Butchering, baking,
bearing corpses and ashes

they have goosestepped
into history.

Skin, bones, brain
and screaming soul,

you are still here.

 

(first appeared in chapbook The Blue Heart, 2013)

Judith van Dijkhuizen

Judith van Dijkhuizen has published in Snakeskin, Atrium and Graffitti magazines, and has won prizes in the Ottaker and Faber and Gloucestershire Writers’ Network competitions. She writes poems about the Netherlands in WWII, based on her mother’s experiences in the Dutch Resistance.  She enjoys the rich cultural life in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Judith van Dijkhuizen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A House by a Canal

Utrecht1955. England 2011

Playing with my cousins;
Aunt Riet baking cakes;
My uncle, in the background.
Mum, watching me.

When Mum died, I found her pass.
German text, two fingerprints,
address: 28 Jutphaseweg.

The canal that Mum and I had walked beside to go to school
held the bodies she’d pushed in.
Our floorboards had concealed my uncle, and the family’s stock of guns;
my attic bedroom, searched for Jews;
the dining room, abandoned when the food ran out.

My images are sharper now.
I see Mum, keen for us to play;
my uncle, silent;
Aunt Riet feeding us,
growing fat because she could.

Judy Lorenzen

Judy Lorenzen is a poet, writer and an English teacher from Central City, Nebraska. She has been published in numerous literary magazines, journals, newspapers and on websites. Visit Judy on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Judy Lorenzen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

When Envy Burns in a Human Heart

that person could snuff
another’s life out,
and that envy can set the world afire.

When man kills,
man kills his brother—
Cain killed Abel
over Cain’s jealousy
of Abel’s offering to God.
Abel’s murder
was a catastrophe,
but life went on,
and generations later,
a few survived
a world-wide flood,
and so did jealousy,
which taught us,
again,
a lesson we did not learn
even millenniums later
that jealousy’s flames leap
higher and wider—
over simple words like
God’s chosen people—
and burn hotter
in crematorium fires
burning whole families
and a whole nation
in a Holocaust.

If we cannot learn,
let us never forget.

Julie Standig

A lifetime New Yorker until three years ago, Julie Standig now resides in Doylestown, Pa. Julie has been published in Alehouse Press, Sadie Girl Press, After Happy Hour Review, Schuylkill Journal Review, US1 Poets/Del Val as well as the online journals, Silver Birch Press and MacQueen’s Quinterly. Her first chapbook, Memsahib Memoir was released by Plan B Press in 2017 and a full volume collection, The Forsaken Little Black Book will be released Fall 2022 by Kelsay Books.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Julie Standig and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Grand Prix Chromonica

Supershiny chrome, impressive for its years,
and trimmed in dark burl wood—Aunt Ray’s
German made M. Hohner harmonica.
Like so many of her proud possessions,
she stoutly believed German goods
were the only way to go. Replacements
for what was ravaged from this Warsaw woman.

Now the other items, like her cherished Eberthal china
or Fisher stereo console made sense,
(would have been a German car if either of them drove),
But a harmonica—one that could possibly pre-date WWII
and commemorated the Grand Prix races Hohner won?

Did Ray or Abe play harmonica? Not likely. And like them,
how did this particular treasure survive Auschwitz?


(This poem will be published in Julie’s upcoming collected Fall 2022, The Little Forsaken Black Book by Kelsay Books.)

Karen Webber

Karen Webber, from Baltimore MD is a liturgical,  teaching and performing artist who employs theatre, visual art, and spoken/sung word to promote wellness, lift spirits and  teach Torah. A cantor since 1990, Karen has served congregations large and small in all four quadrants of the United States and currently appears on Bimah’s in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Her poems and essays have appeared in chapbooks and magazines such on line: Haikuniverse, Voices of Eve, Poetica, Jewish Poetry Project, Lilith and in print in the Torrid Literature Journal and in the upcoming Haftarah commentary Prophetic Voices published by CCAR press.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Karen Webber and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Promenading Shoeless

Moses removed his shoes at the burning bush because he knew it was holy ground.
~Exodus chapter 3

The mermaid
who once lifted triads
on a blue breeze, saw mothers
and daughters walk arm in arm, heard
gypsy bands play, now slumps song-less,
hearing screams and shots and watching the river
flow backward.

toddler
mother
banker
forced to remove
bootie
slingback
oxford
at waters edge.
When the soles were too worn
they shot them with their shoes on.

Roped in trios revolving,
only one bullet per waltz.
1 dead, 2 alive as they fell to freezing
waves. The Danube turned red then,
like the first plague against the Egyptians.

Sixty pairs of rusted shoes line, now, the holy ground
of the riverbank.
Pumps and peep toes overflow
with pebbles
placed, purposefully
overlooking the river
turned tomb


‘Shoes on the Danube Bank’ was erected in April 2005, a memorial to Jews shot into the the river by Arrow Cross Militiamen between 1944 to 1945.

Kashiana Singh

Kashiana Singh (http://www.kashianasingh.com/) calls herself a work practitioner and embodies the essence of her TEDx talk – Work as Worship into her everyday. Her chapbook Crushed Anthills from Yavanika Press in 2020 is a journey that unravels memory through 10 cities. She proudly serves as a Managing Editor for Poets Reading the News and her voice be read and heard on various international platforms. Kashiana’s first poetry collection is called, Shelling Peanuts and Stringing Words. Her newest full-length collection, Woman by the Door has just been released with Apprentice House Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Kashiana Singh and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Echoes

screams
his blistered skin
in orchestra

first bloom
the yellow settles
into ash heaps

tombstones
erupt into lanterns
falling skies

whirring dragonfly
another blast opens
new wounds

tiny fingerprints
on train windows
erasure

explosions
women holding skies
with blooming arms

an opaque sky
the ground swells
in chorus

Zealously
foreshadowing
zeitgeist

forgiveness sunday
dreams exiled inside
bomb shelters

Katrenia Busch

Katrenia G. Busch is an entertainment writer for Heart of Hollywood Magazine, journal reviewer for The American Psychological Association and federal grant reviewer for the Department of Justice. Her work can be found in Bloom Magazine, Police Writers, The Trouvaille Review, Westward Quarterly,  50 Give or Take among others. Her piece, “Saturn’s Reign” is set to appear in Qua Literary and Fine Arts Magazine. You can find her on Publons here: https://publons.com/researcher/3521538/katrenia-busch/

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Katrenia Busch and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Lamentations of the Holocaust

Though— by brutal force and callousness
With ideations of Race and Space
An act that was most murderousness
Against an ancient race—

The lamentations heard on high
From young to old— they cried—
To a world— with no reply—
As they died from deep inside—

My hair be of ebony—
Salient and lethal here—
For my tears— most prominently
Give away my fear—

My heritage— a Jew by nature— born
A life— a world I lived in
A life— a world— worn
Destroyed and over— turned

May our soules find rest and peace
And by memory live on— here
In a world— to whom I hereby release
Lamentations of the Holocaust to hear

Kriss Nichol

Kriss Nichol was highly commended in The Federation of Writers’ Scotland 2013 Vernal Equinox Poetry Competition and won third prize in Scottish Association of Writers’ Write Down South Poetry Competition in Nov 2015. She has published two novels, In Desolate Corners, Shadows Crouch, 2012, and Monsoons and Marigolds, 2017, which won 3rd prize in Luke Bitmead Awards 2016, and three poetry pamphlets of her published work, The Language of Crows 2012, Between Lands 2013, and A Suggestion of Bones 2017. Her latest book, a sequence of haibun, Ancient Anchors, was published November 2020.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Kriss Nichol and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

We Were Not The Only Ones

to jostle along paths walled with woods
or through open blades of meadows
fear creeping with pointed teeth
devouring hope
air swollen with gunfire
bodies restructuring landscapes
in the amber wash of fading sunlight

we were not the only ones
listening to the clack-clacking of tracks
suffocating      sardined in small enclosures
fighting for window space
gulping inhalations of passing landscapes
then crumpled like paper bags
at our final destination
in wind-whipped nights

we were not the only ones
to feel the bite of betrayal and jackbooted
hatred     hear screams reach like imploring hands
then turn to ashy voices
borne away on the wind like smoking ghosts
as silence stretched her legs
and the world grew quietly
monochrome      against a vivid pink sky

we were not the only ones


(Previously published in Dove Tales anthology 2019 Bridges or Walls?)

Larry Bubar

Larry lives in Presque Isle, Maine. he writes poetry, children’s books, short stories and one novel. His interest range from the sweet to the dark side of the mind. His poetry style is unusual because he uses little if any punctuation It is different but he believes one should read as one speaks. Using the reading cadence to decide.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Larry Bubar and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Thirteen

Thirteen bodies
six adults seven children
dead and rotting
bodies riddled with holes
clothes soaked in blood
body parts severed
flesh torn away
by crows hawks eagles wolves
maggots slither in and out
of blood caked openings
eating away the innards

an old man’s teeth gone
for the gold
an old woman’s finger severed
for the diamond ring
two men
penises chopped off severed breast cover their faces
two women
breast severed penises in mouth

three girls naked most likely raped
before or after they died unknown
two boys castrated
while alive likely
two babies heads bashed
remaining facial features skewered
torture a certainty

those that pass bye stare
some weep others say prayers
none dare stop
fear of being the next corpse
drives them on

comrades of the atrocity perpetrators
spit and laugh at the carnage
many wish they had been the
rapist and murderer
in retaliation
they prod beat kick
those they herd

if the herd knew
their awaiting fate of
suffocating from poison gas
shot for dropping a glass
to be stripped naked and
in dimly lit barracks
passed around to be rag doll sex toys
to sate the animal impulses
of barbaric bastards
would they rather
choose to join the thirteen

the thirteen remain
through the seasons
a pile of mangled carnage
upon which the birds insects wolves feast
their flesh stripped from their bones
leaving small minuscule pieces
to dry in the summer sun
into leathery beef jerky bits

the ignorant hordes gawk at
the ravaged bodies
soon to be only bones
scooped up and dumped in a pit
of a hundred thousand plus
bones and
naked bloated rotting bodies
to be limed and covered in tons of dirt

unaware
people will picnic children will play upon
the spring grass hiding the misdeeds
and when the last witness is gone
the thirteen will
be remembered only
as part of the six million

Linda Crate

Linda M. Crate’s (she/her) is a Pennsylvanian whose works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of ten published chapbooks, four full-lengths, and three micro-chaps. She has a novella, also, called Mates (Alien Buddha Publishing, March 2022).

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Linda Crate and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

the souls we never got to know

when i think of anne frank,
i cannot imagine such
bravery and courage at
such a young age;

i cannot imagine having to
hide with nothing but hopes and
prayers and the goodness
and compassion of others to spare
you from death—

to have hopes and dreams you
could not pursue

because you had to remain safe,

i cannot imagine how terrifying it
must’ve been to know that your life
would never be the same the moment
all of this began and you never truly knew
when it would end;

it breaks my heart how many lovely souls
we never got to know because a cruel man
decided their lives didn’t matter.

Lollie Butler

Lollie is a lyricist and poet living in Tucson, Arizona.  After receiving a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, she taught English and Writing to women inmates of the Arizona State Prison.   She has practiced Hatha Yoga for many years and her lyrics and poems are published widely.  Che counts as her greatest accomplishments four children and nine grandchildren.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Lollie Butler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Living and the Dead

It was the first of my gifted years.
One war lit the night sky with its exit,
another was stacked kindling
waiting for the flick of a match.

Hitler was the bad shepherd
leading his flock over a ravine,
the scene framed in red rain
when a blade of lightening slashed
through the metal railings of my crib,

and I saw with new eyes the millions marching,
on blood-baptized ground, now sacred
where the mud-sunk footprints of the naked
followed boot prints to the camps.

Between the bars of my crib, I saw them;
sundered men and women wrapped in the rags
of their flesh, ghostly in desperation,
slogging past me without destination,

without feathers of hope on their shoulders,
blackbird eyes flown; lips caked with soot,
they were to me finger shadows
played on the wall above my bed,

and I didn’t know the living from the dead.

If only my tongue had taken early steps
to speak of it; the march of the millions
lined along the walls of my little room,  
                                   entering 
                                         and departing, 

shuffling forward across my little room,
their shaved heads reflecting weakest light
from the window, ears filled with sirens,
the skeletal machinery of fingers,

men with the stubble growth of death on their chins,
bloodied milk dripping from the women’s breasts

 

2.

Out of the small Polish towns, Czech villages,
out of the rainy streets of Paris,
from Germany’s own, they came

flushed from dank hiding, out of the gates
of ignited factories, from firelight families,
the universities with half-burned books,

with babies in arms or locked in wombs,
from pounded down doors, blinded windows
in the early morning’s wail, clicking boots on the stairs,
out of the black-barred houses in ghettos
                                  onto the rigid streets,  

under the gun, under fire, within the hammer’s reach,
limping, leaning toward home,
leaning toward the fractured windows of temples defiled,

mothers, fathers, children filing along barely-lit streets,
without papers, without passports
                             without favored birthrights 
with stars on their chests—Stars!

If only you had seen them, bodies
turning to smoke, slogging past my nesting crib,
my mother’s rocker in the corner, creaking
its woodiness,   
                     back 
                          and forth
with the footfalls of the masses passing
through my little room with moans and screams
                          crashing

through the ceiling, carried from bird to darkened tree
and roosting there as the millions dragged their shadows
onward,
                          empty boxcars waiting,
                                       engines steaming
like stallions before the run.

                          Halt!
The poison eyes of the uniformed, scraping
the masses. The armed, uniformed hissing


3.

their contempt, flags fluttering from black sedans
                                       ringed fingers dealing
with the final solution.

Even now it is said,
one couldn’t tell the living from the dead

From the long past, into the long present,
this generation wanders past
The International Institute of Remembrance.

The year was 1941, during “the war to end all wars”,
                          I had a vision from my infant’s bed

and at times I still don’t know
the living from the dead.

Lou Ella Hickman

Sister Lou Ella has a master’s in theology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and is a former teacher and librarian. She is a certified spiritual director as well as a poet and writer.  Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and four anthologies.  She was a Pushcart nominee in 2017 and 2020. Press 53 published her first book of poetry entitled she: robed and wordless in 2015. She lives in Corpus Christi, Texas 78413.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Lou Ella Hickman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

in memory of the white rose society martyrs

. . . a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does.
I choose my own way to burn.
~sophie scholl


sadly
their deaths changed nothing
as if falling white petals
could turn summer to autumn
or more so brutality to peace
yet there are times
like theirs and ours when
changing nothing changes everything
for courage is its own weapon:
the choice the heart makes
in beating to its own drummer

 

This poem was first published in Prism: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Holocaust Educators, Spring 2019 Volume 11.

Lynda Turbet

Lynda Turbet lives in rural North Norfolk after decades of teaching in Yorkshire and Scotland. She has published poetry in print and online.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Lynda Turbet and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Survivor

(Jerusalem, ‘68)

She wears her past on her arm –
the number a grid reference
for what and where, not why.
How many times each day
it snags her eye, demands
another second of her life?
It will not fade – nor would she want it to.
In a blue bus on a white dust road
we’re oven-hot; her bare skin
catches breeze from windows,
breathes a free rush of air.
She knows the smell of burnt flesh,
and how her own burned under the needle
branded, thankful to be chosen.

Lynn White

Lynn White lives in Blaenau Ffestiniog, north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud ‘War Poetry for Today’ competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Consequence Journal, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Gyroscope Review and So It Goes. Visit Lynn on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Lynn White and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Never Again

Never again
the holocaust
of Jews,
of Slavs,
of dissenters,
of the mixed
or mismatched
ethnicity.
Gassed
starved 
beaten
enslaved
dying.

Never again
the swarms
of refugees 
left behind
fleeing
dying
pleading 
to be let in anywhere
dying
unwanted.
Never again.
That’s what they said
then.


First published in The Piker Press 2018

Lynne Bronstein

Lynne Bronstein is a veteran poet, fiction writer, and journalist. She has published five books, including Nasty Girls from Four Feathers Publishing. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in everything from Playgirl to Chiron Review, from underground newspapers to National Public Radio. She writes the column Show Biz Cats, seen on Facebook. She wants to return to Paris because she didn’t see all the museums last time around. She lives in Van Nuys.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Lynne Bronstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Little Extra Things

Some things are not necessities but
Life seems more exciting with them.
Clara’s husband must have thought so.
It was 1939, in Paris.
He stepped out one night
To buy a pack of cigarettes.
Hours later, he had not returned.
Days later, he did not come through the doorway.
Clara wondered if it could really be
That the little extra thing, those cigarettes,
Could overwhelm him, make him forget her.

When the Nazi occupation
Became the new way that life was,
Her Gentile friends offered
A basement, a bed,
Visits with food and other supplies,
In this way, Clara survived the occupation
And the war.
Paris, with all its charms,
Was a world outside.
Her world was a couple of dingy rooms,
A piece of bread, rusty running water. These
Were greater luxuries than the jewels
Her husband had sold in his shop.
The greatest luxury, companionship.
Was not even to be thought of.

At the Armistice, Clara did not know
That a company of American G.Is
Were on their way to Paris.
My father, Clara’s cousin, was among them.
He had heard through a relative that Clara was alive
And determined to visit her with gifts.
He told his comrades and they chipped in
Their cigarettes, chewing gum, soap,
Those little extra things,
As presents for a woman
Who was happy to breathe the air outside.
The division was re-routed and never entered Paris.
Clara never received the gifts.

She came to the U.S. and lived with relatives in Detroit.
In her dreams she saw her husband,
Coming back with that pack of ciggies,
Or coming back from a camp, wasted but alive.
He never came back
And Clara was left to contemplate
The high price of those
Little extra things
That simply must be had
No matter what.

Lynne Schmidt

Lynne Schmidt is the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor, and a mental health professional with a focus in trauma and healing. They are the winner of the 2021 The Poetry Question Chapbook Award for their chapbook, Sexytime, and the 2020 New Women’s Voices Contest for their chapbook, Dead Dog Poems. Other chapbooks include Gravity, and On Becoming a Role Model. In 2012 they started the project, AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans. Visit Lynne on Facebook here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Lynne Schmidt and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Remains

At the edge of the building,
there is a waist high mound that from a distance

resembles a pile of tree branches
gnarled together in grey and white.

When you look closer you realize it is ash.
You wouldn’t be able to tell what was burned

to create a mound so large.
You could easily suspect timber,

trees, wasted paper, perhaps old furniture.
But when the crematorium empties again,

the bones that weren’t incinerated
are added to the ash.

Magdalena Ball

Magdalena Ball is a novelist, poet, reviewer and interviewer who lives in Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia. She is Managing Editor of Compulsive Reader, and also runs Compulsive Reader Talks, a podcast of author interviews.  She is the author of several novels and poetry books, the most recent of which, The Density of Compact Bone, was published in 2021 by Ginninderra Press. Visit Maggie on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Magdalena Ball and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

News from the Old World

The city had begun
to invade her dreams

air tasted of black pepper
sunlight burnt her skin.

In the morning
she did not recognise
the spaces she had inhabited at night
singing a new song
high pitched
against the roar of the streets

the shock of slippage
the world moving
suddenly, unaccountably.

In the beginning there were letters
carefully written script
in the old language
tissue paper, held together by tears

gedenk mikh
remember me
an old fashioned hand

they had no space for their own family
but she said come
there is a home here for you
Mame, bitte kumen.

She sent money, little but regular
letter after letter
no one came
other than a stream of unknown immigrants
filling the building, Yiddish, Italian, Irish
but mostly Yiddish.

She could close her eyes and imagine
she was in the stetl
talking to the old man across the road
pants tied with string
her own children shaking their heads
speak English, Ma.

The words had a logic, like time
a progression which could be
counted on the fingers
flipped through on a paper calendar
a boy yelled out the news.
One war over, another begun.

Remember me.
She did not have enough fingers
to count the dead.

Margaret Beston

Margaret Beston, Tonbridge, is widely published in magazines and anthologies, most recently, Of Some Importance, 2020, Grey Hen Press and New Contexts 2, 2021, Coverstory Books. She is the author of two collections, Long Reach River, 2014, Timepiece, 2019, and a pamphlet, When the Ground Crashed Upwards, 2020.  She is the founder of Roundel, a Poetry Society Stanza based in Tonbridge. Visit Margaret on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Margaret Beston and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Even from Golden Houses

Because she was born in France
Because she was a wealthy aristocrat
Because her brother died in the Great War
Because her father donated artworks to the State
Because she lived in Rue de Monceau not Le Marais
Because she didn’t identify with those who still observed the Shabbat
Because she was now a Catholic
Because she rode in the Bois de Boulogne with a German officer

she thought that she was safe               but

Because they knew her Sephardic heritage
Because she let her voice be heard
Because she dared make a complaint
Because her precious Renoir was stolen
Because Mrs Goering had a penchant for Impressionists
Because no one was allowed to question the regime

she was herded into a cattle truck with the rest – 
families from Le Marais, 
             mothers, fathers, children

Because they only saw her yellow star

Margaret Boles

My name is Margaret Boles and I have been writing poems since 1995. I have been lucky enough to have had my poems published in the little magazines worldwide, although of recent years I have neglected to send poems out – partly due to Covid and to family commitments – since we’ve had 6 grandchildren since 2013.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Margaret Boles and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Twenty Years In A Gulag

Twenty years in a Gulag
For the words ‘Invasion’
Or ‘War’
The dictator dictates
As Düsseldorf is a place
Of safety for a Ukranian Jew.

While Russia’s bombs damage
Kiev’s Holocaust Memorial
Echoes and Ironies as Putin talks
Of de-Nazification of Ukraine
   A country whose President
Is a Jew.

Maria DePaul

Maria DePaul is a Washington, DC- based writer whose work has been extensively published, most recently in Enchanted Conversation.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Maria DePaul and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Retracing the Steps

A sunflower field
Covers a trail
Of bloodshed
Long overgrown
But not forgotten
Cries for justice
Echo past voices
Silenced by gunfire
Lost loved ones
From a past war
To another now
Retracing the steps
Of those forced
To walk miles
Headed nowhere
Decades before
A hurt long buried
Erupts again in
Tears of torment
The pain revisited
As history epeats
In marching jackboots
Missiles soar overhead
The firefight’s smoke
Screens out sunlight

Mary Langer Thompson

Mary Langer Thompson is the founder of The Poemsmiths of the Mojave High Desert and the author of Poems in Water and several poetry chapbooks through Local Gems Press. She was named the 2012 California Senior Laureate and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Visit Mary on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Mary Langer Thompson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Pantoum for Dorothea Alma Elsa Apfel

I search her surname again and again.
My German father dearly loved our Aunt Dora.
She married a Jew. Became Mrs. Apfel.
Mr. Apfel was a furrier and they thrived in Leipzig.

My German father dearly loved our Aunt Dora.
No! “Revoked German Citizenship and Property Seizures.”
Mr. Apfel was a furrier and they thrived in Leipzig.
She lost everything. What became of her?

No! Revoked German Citizenship and Property Seizures.”
The USS Liesel to Palestine was a ship turned away.
She lost everything. What became of her?
Her nationality nullified by Hitler’s Regime.

The USS Liesel to Palestine was a ship turned away.
She married a Jew. Became Mrs. Apfel.
Her nationality nullified by Hitler’s Regime.
I search her surname again and again.

Michael H. Brownstein

Michael H. Brownstein’s latest volumes of poetry, A Slipknot to Somewhere Else (2018) and How Do We Create Love (2019) were both published by Cholla Needles Press. Brownstein lives in efferson City, NO.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Michael H. Brownstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

US Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds

The day the commandant of the Nazi POW camp called us outside,
he came to our commanding officer and told him to separate the Jews from the others.
Our Christian leader said in a voice steadfast and perfect so we could hear:
We are all Jews here. Everyone step forward.
The Commandant put a gun to his head and demanded: Separate the Jews.
He answered: Sorry, we are all Jews here. See? My men stand with me.
The Nazi threatened to blow his head away if he didn’t do as he said.
He answered I am a Jew. Jews are not afraid of death. Jews are not cowards.
The only cowards present today are those who obey orders without thought or restraint.
The Nazi’s face bubbled over, his lips quivered, his eyes lost control of their sightline.
Then he placed his sidearm in his holster much too hard, turned and told his soldiers:
Get into your vehicles. We are abandoning this camp. Let the Jews starve.

It’s been many years now, I still remember how I stood for something moral and great.
Many times I met with frustration, conflict and life-threatening circumstances.
I would recall his words. Jews are not afraid of death. Jews are not cowards.
A great peace would fall over me. I knew he had said the only truth I needed to learn.

Mike Dailey

Mike Dailey is a poet living in Ocean Isle Beach, NC with his wife of 51 years. His poems have been published in several magazines and anthologies.   He has had three books of poetry published; one on cancer treatments he underwent, one on his 30 years working as a civilian analyst for the US Army, and a book of spiritual poems.  He is putting together additional collections and looking for publishers. Mike Dailey’s poetry can be serious, topical, or very moving but he is known more for his rhythm and rhyme poetry with a twist of humor.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Mike Dailey and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Understanding the Holocaust

They rounded us up one day in the rain
Herded us into a cattle-car train
We were just Jews, it was simple and plain
The pain – you must understand

When the train stopped there were so many dead
Ushered into two groups, tears were all shed
Weak ones culled out and away they were led
That said – you must understand

None of this ever has made any sense
Staying alive in good health our defense
We’d spend every day praying out by the fence
Consequence – you must understand

At night we would gather and in silence we pray
Pray that we make it through one more day
What tomorrow would bring – no one could say
Today – you must understand

Each morning we’d line up; they’d walk down the rows
Deciding who lives; deciding who goes
Each morning we’d pray that we weren’t one of those
God knows – you must understand

And the stench in the camp from the ovens by noon
Reminded us all of our impending doom
Relief from this hell-hole could not come too soon
Repugn – you must understand

There were thousands of us left back in the damp
In our bunks, in the ovens, or the cattle-car ramps
And surviving this ordeal left its own stamps
The camps – you must understand

So each year we gather on Remembrance Day
To honor the loved ones who have passed away
And the horrible price that they had to pay
We pray – you will understand

 

Repugn – to oppose or refute or resist

Milton Ehrlich

Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is a 90-year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published many poems in periodicals such as the London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Milton Ehrlich and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Full Tank of Gas

Father wept in ‘33
when smoke from book burning
wafted down Polack Alley in Maspeth.

He knew the line from Heine:

When they burn books,
they will ultimately burn people.

My family huddled in fear
as synagogues burned on Kristallnacht.
Newsreel Stormtroopers
rampaged through my childhood dreams.

When swastikas were painted
on the front door of our synagogue,
we were dismissed early from Hebrew School,
and, hurrying home I was waylaid
by snarling teenagers
who dragged me into Mt Olivet cemetery,
tied me to a tombstone and spray-painted
a swastika on the back of my coat.

My uncle survived a year at Dachau as a child.
As an adult, he never went to sleep
without a full tank of gas,
just in case he had to be ready to run

Mirela Brăilean

Mirela Brăilean live in Iași, România. She is an expert in the preservation of cultural heritage, also a member of the Romanian and French Haiku Society She discovered poems of Japanese inspiration about four years ago. She competed in her country where she won numerous awards. Her Japanese short-form poetry is published in numerous haiku journals, several online magazines, and books. She was selected to the European Top 100 most creative haiku authors in 2020 and 2021. She has been nominated for Touchstone Award 2021 and 2022.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Mirela Brăilean and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yom Hashoah
grandpa talks in sleep about
the extermination camps
.
Shield of David
over the entire universe
the same God
.
Yom Hashoah
forgiving doesn’t mean
forgetting

Monique Hayes

A recent Pushcart nominee, Monique Hayes resides in Fort Washington, Maryland. Her work has appeared in Indiana Voice Journal, SHIFT, Lucky Jefferson, Midway Journal, Birmingham Arts Journal, among others. She’s a VONA and Callaloo Fellow.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Monique Hayes and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

To Treblinka, 1942

I left behind my Louis Marx train set,
The box car still boxed in quiet Warsaw,
My striped cap resting on a worn mattress,
Hankering to turn on the tiny headlamp
As my ankles ached during the Aktion,
A trembling twelve-year old conductor now
Subject to someone else’s schedule.

The rain falls differently on the ride,
Hurried, with not one patient soul
Gazing at their grade pocket watch
While we stream steadily on tracks
Past destination marker after marker,
The engine seeming to shudder
Like the car’s sole bucket latrine.

Mother mentions the labor ahead
While I mourn my new caboose
So I picture my five frail fingers
Stoking several fireboxes on fancy trains,
Or checking out the crossties repeatedly
With a mind that wanders after my tasks.
But someone says Treblinka is “our last voyage.”

The sealed and silent boxcar slows
To a crawl, and it leaves me cold.
The opening door groans as I grasp
A hidden whistle from home
Which I envisioned blowing well
Past my boyhood, but now I don’t
Know if this trip will be terminal.

Nancy Lubarsky

Nancy Lubarsky writes from Cranford, NJ.  An educator and a retired school superintendent, she holds a Doctorate in English Education from Rutgers University. Nancy has been published in various journals, including Edison Literary Review, Lips, Poetry Nook, Poetica, Tiferet, Exit 13, Stillwater Review, Howl of Sorrow Anthology, Paterson Literary Review, and US1 Worksheets. She received honorable mention in the 2014 and 2016 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, and Editor’s Choice in 2017. She’s been nominated twice for the Pushcart prize. She is the author of two books: Tattoos (Finishing Line Press) and The Only Proof (Kelsay Press).

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Nancy Lubarsky and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Neisners

My father brings us here Mondays
before school — his only day off
after a week of nights, of hot ovens.

We mount red vinyl stools.
The aisles behind us
gated, in shadows.

I can’t see my sister through him,
but that doesn’t stop the random
pokes and hair pulls.

He unfolds the Post, scans the
headlines, reads and rants.
Gert knows our order.

Before we can spin once, two
chocolate milks and a coffee
appear. Her voice is thick.

We can’t always understand,
but my father says it is English
(jumbled with German).

When the food comes, they
kibitz; he turns back to the paper.
Gert wipes the surface, fills

sugars and ketchups for the lunch rush.
His fist suddenly slams the counter;
the plate of easy-overs slides to the floor:

Eichmann, Mengele — safe in South
America, he yells. Those Nazi bastards.
We hope he doesn’t blame her.

Paola Tavoletti

Paola Tavoletti is an Italian artist-writer living in Rome, Italy. She has published poems in English and two short novels, with poems, in Italian. She also works in cross-forms, merging poetry, stories, paintings, illustrations, and graphic novels. Her poetic style is a fusion of realism and abstraction; her themes are memory, roots, identity, family life, and landscape. Visit Paola on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Paola Tavoletti and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Harvest

The earth tinged 
             with their blood
gave the best fruits.
       The knots are solid
like their wisdom,
                the pulp juicy
like their love,
           a flood that inundated
cold lands.
             Uncontainable,
like your love for me. 
                    The seeds grow
from broken stones.

Partha Sarkar

Partha Sarkar writes poems being inspired by his elder brother Shambu Sarkar and late Sankar Sarkar and his friends especially Devkumar Khan to protet against the social injustice and crime against nature.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Partha Sarkar and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Holocaust 2022

Submerged poster of revolution.
Flies the bloodstained agreement to and fro
To be signed as it will not be given much time to be signed.

The cold stares.
The barbed boundaries.
The cold waves of the concentration camps and

(+) + (+) = minus

Takes a turn the chapter.
Though there are the golden letters
For dawn from the birds.
There are the mothers of green leaves
And likes photosynthesis the chapter and will do
Yet there is frivolity of the states.
Flee the children when it sings.
Become rubble the perambulators and
Dust the wombs when it masons the foundation of the peace.

Patrice Wilson

Born in Newark, NJ, Patrice Wilson now lives in Mililani, Hawaii, on Oahu, after a career as an English professor at Hawaii Pacific University in downtown Honolulu. She enjoys volunteer editing for two poetry journals, making jewelry, crocheting, calligraphy and, of course, writing poetry in her now nothing-but-free time. She has 3 chapbook published with Finishing Line Press, and one full-length collection, Hues of Darkness, Hues of Light, with eLectio Press. Visit Patrice on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Patrice Wilson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Unspoken

Fragile. Helpless.
Your fine porcelain
cups and saucers
smashed before
innocent eyes,
before they forced
you away.

Hard. Brutal.
Following their (dis)
orders to the bone–
soft pleas
in stone ears,
turned to stone.

Sunrise?
New world?
Freedom?

How to reconcile
the unfilled spaces
where we hear
your voices speak
some future
shadowless dawn,
some blameless liberty

of children singing
the ruah of beginnings,
some words
“also gesprochen,”
this time not
in terrible vain,
not stripped bare
and smothered.

Patricia Carragon

Patricia Carragon has been widely published online and in print. Her most recent publications include Bear Creek Haiku, First Literary Review-East, I Wanna Be Loved by You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe, Jerry Jazz Musician, MER VOX Quarterly, Muddy River Poetry Review, The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow anthology, et al. Her poem, “For All We Know,” is forthcoming in the 2022 great weather for MEDIA anthology. Her latest books are Meowku (Poets Wear Prada, 2019) and Angel Fire, (Alien Buddha Press, 2020). Patricia hosts Brownstone Poets and is the editor-in-chief of its annual anthology. Visit Patricia on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Patricia Carragon and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Babyn Yar in Tears

Babyn Yar in tears
Natzi soldiers leave death camps
to attack more Jews

Babyn Yar in tears
child given to another
at Nazi border

Babyn Yar in tears
babushka remembers where
massacre happened

Babyn Yar in tears
massive grave site dug in Kyiv
makes way for new one
 
Babyn Yar in tears
Jewish memorial bombed
Holocaust for all

Peggy Landsman

Peggy Landsman is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Our Words, Our Worlds (Kelsay Books) and To-wit To-woo (Foothills Publishing). Her work appears in many literary anthologies and journals, including The Poet’s Haggadah(Ain’t Got No Press), Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press), Poetica, Mezzo Cammin, and Scientific American. She lives in Lighthouse Point, Florida, where she swims in the nearby Atlantic Ocean every chance she gets. https://peggylandsman.wordpress.com/

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Peggy Landsman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Food for the Phoenix

what is preying on us?
the death of the earth is certain
the black-dwarfing of the sun foretold

yet unformed forms are forming

we only get in trouble when we don’t mind
that little boy in the Warsaw Ghetto—
his eyes go on forever

everything is remembered

yet-unformed forms are forming
though the death of the earth is certain
the black-dwarfing of the sun foretold

we only get in trouble when we don’t mind

the nightmare express wrecks
leaps its tracks

are we alive again?

we thank god
even when the inner-light of everyone is cindered
god’s will be done—

the impossible ignition of another six million suns.

 

First published in Mosaic, 1994

Philip Vassallo

Philip Vassallo has written two poetry collections (Like the Day I Was Born, American Haiku), two essay collections (Person to Person, The Inwardness of the Outward Gaze), three drama collections (A Case-by-Case Basis, Questions Asked of Dying Dreams, Hurry Hurry), and three books on work-related writing (The Art of On-the-Job Writing, The Art of Email Writing, How to Write Fast Under Pressure). He received a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, and 30 of his licensed plays have been produced throughout North America. He lives in Sayreville, New Jersey with his wife. Visit Philip on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Philip Vassallo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

At the Dachau Camp

for Evelyn Jagust


Trenches sheltering no one
in the impeccable countryside
give way to barbed-wire fences
near storybook SS cottages,
ovens from Nazi efficiency,
and obtrusive steel memorial

scraping Mein Kampf sky.
This death museum
conceived by what passes
for a free society that never was,
could not be, will not see,
while sweet Arian children play

below the watchtower
as tourists take photos
to remember what we did
before boarding orderly trains
to Munchen, which, since 1945
makes round trips.

You can hear “never again,”
“remember us,” all you want,
but is it true,
can one more Jew
cry, rise in the ashes of a Holocaust?
Are even children guilty?

Raine Geoghegan

Raine Geoghegan, from Hampshire in the UK is a Romany poet, prose writer and playwright, born in the Welsh Valleys, she has been Nominated for the Forward Prize; Best of the Net & The Pushcart Prize, her work has been published online and in print. Her three pamphlets are published with Hedgehog Press and her full collection will be out in June with Salmon Press. Visit Raine on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Raine Geoghegan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Boshamengro – The Gypsy Fiddle Player

(Birkenau concentration camp 1944 – im of Bill Lane)

Hand crafted from spruce and maple,
the fingerboard of black ebony
was once finely polished.

The Gypsy would tuck the fiddle under his chin,
pick up the bow and play,
stamping on the ground.

He kept it with him as long as he could.
He noticed scratches, dents,
but he held it close, like his own child.

On a cold dark morning
he is ordered to get up,
and follow the line.

With little time,
he draws himself up,
takes the fiddle in its old black case,
places it against the wall, whispers,
   ‘Parruka tute me freno’
As he joins the line, he remembers when he was a boy,
taking the fiddle from his father’s hands,
his heart plucking fast,
as – it – is – now.

Romani words: Parruka tute me freno – thank you my friend.

Previously published online with the Travellers Times, UK on January 2021.

Randi Israelow

Randi Israelow has been an active and featured poet in the Los Angeles area since 2008.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Randi Israelow and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

In the Holocaust Remembrance Room at the Museum of Jewish Heritage

New York City, July 2015


There are large open books here
Too many of them
Books with lists and lists of names
of European Jews killed in the Holocaust during World War II
because they were Jews
Books chin high for children and waist high for adults
Books alphabetical by surname

There are walls with faces here
black and white photographs of faces
on tall panels
dividing the room into angles
faces of babies, and of children, and teenagers, and adults, and of grandparents
faces of families grouped together
tall angled panels of faces
proving
that this room is not square
that this room is not a box to walk into
that this room could never be a square box

I look at the faces
and I look at the open books
and I search for the list
that starts with the first initial of your last name: C
and I flip through the pages
and I find the generations called by the same surname
as you call yourself by
and I don’t know for sure
if those underneath this surname
and underneath my caressing fingertip now
are directly related to you
I just know that it’s oh so very, very possible for them to be
and so I say it now
the word
I say it as a prayer
for your generations
and for all the generations looking at me now
in this room of remembrance
Love I say Love
Love for the babies and the children and the teenagers and the adults and the grandparents and the families
Love for their generations
Love for your generations
Love Love Love Love Love

I step into an emptier room now nearby
and it’s also not a box of a room
but the tip of a hexagon
with large windows at the room’s far point
that offer the afternoon light a safe place to spread inside
and views of the Hudson River a natural place to spread outside
and there are colorful ribbon banners here
that hang all around from the ceiling
above small wooden benches
spaced singular across the room
ribbon banners displaying
a different kind of special word on each
a word that anyone can sit beneath
by choice

I sit on a bench close to a window
and above me now
hangs the word Dream
and I look out at the Hudson River
and I marvel at how the depths of it
though clearly so mysterious
are somehow felt inside me right now
and so I say it again, the word
but this time
I say it specifically for you
Love
Love Love Love Love Love Love Love
hoping that somehow
you will feel it inside you, too, these mysterious depths
this word
wherever you are right now
wherever you are

I sit outside the museum now
on a park bench beside a metal fence
that divides the lower tip of Manhattan from the active Hudson River to the west
and the sunlight shines on my face and into my eyes
so I lift my bare hand to my forehead for cover
as I look out beyond the fence
so that I can watch
as the river water rolls and rolls onto itself
over and over
before me
as if redeciding the answer to a crucial question
over and over
redeciding what answer is real now
redeciding what answer is the truth now

I remove my hand from my forehead
and I rub the new sunlight out of my eyes
and I lean forward on the bench
and I stand up
and I walk closer to the waves
so that I can listen to them
I mean really really listen to them
as they redecide their answer

Love I say now to the waves
Love

And then I walk away alone

Richard Widerkehr

Richard Widerkehr’s third book of poems is At the Grace Cafe (Main Street Rag). His fourth book, Night Journey,will be released in May by Shanti Arts Press. His work has appeared in Writer’s Almanac, Poetry Super Highway, and Take A Stand: Art Against Hate (Raven Chronicles Press), which won the 2021 award for best Washington State poetry book.  He won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan and first prize for a short story at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference.  He lives in Bellingham, WA, and reads poems for Shark Reef Review.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Richard Widerkehr and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Kristallnacht, 1938: Night of Shattered Glass

Even when the sun stops shining, and no one
is left to light a candle for the man who hid his poem
in that cellar wall in Berlin, we do not forget
his night where souls assemble, unashamed,
and when the night cannot forget—
I believe in God, he said, even when God
is silent—let his scrawl in that cellar
not lie on some dank beach, anonymous,
no scroll; as strike showers come, low waves
seething, let them come, let breath, paper,
black rain, chimneys, Auschwitz; white rain,
Majdanek; let them slice down once, twice,
Belsen, and so forth; then, let night rest.


*
(This poem was posted online at Open: A Journal of Arts & Letters.)

Roberta Beach Jacobson

Roberta Beach Jacobson writes flash fiction, essays, and short poems. She makes her home in Indianola, Iowa. Visit Roberta on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Roberta Beach Jacobson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Senryu

hand-stitched
into her memory
yellow stars


Haiku Dialogue / The Haiku Foundation, April 8, 2020 and twitter, April 10, 2020

Rolland Vasin

Rolland Vasin(aka Vachine) , a third generation American writer, published in several  anthologies including Wide Awake, Coiled Serpent, and Lummox, Features at local literary venues including Beyond Baroque, reads open-mics from Coast to Coast, and teaches poetry to prison inmates, middle school students, and others who ask.  The Laugh Factory’s 1992 3rd Funniest CPA in LA, his CPA day job includes auditing child, family, non-profits and Auxiliaries of the California State University system.  A resident of Santa Monica, Vachine plays the guitar, banjo, and ukulele, but not all at the same time.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Rolland Vasin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

You Amsterdam

Children in those cobbled streets jeered, ”Jew-killer!”
German parents held your girly nine-year-old hand,
pretended the hail of Shoah’s shadows did not fall.

You told that fifty-year-ago story
at our Tuesday Witness meeting. I felt
your shame-tears on my hand
during the closing prayer written
by an unknown prisoner in
concentration camp, left on the body
of a dead child:

Let all the fruits which we have bought,
thanks to our suffering from those of ill will,
be their forgiveness.

I abandoned the desire to punish.
You harvested my rain, filled your cistern,
when I cried at the memorial.

New vines curled ’round our legs,
stretched for sunrise.
Lips open, our tongues danced an afternoon waltz.
We slept, nested dolls under silk sheets,
bathed in Hillman, Nietzsche, Carlin and Wilbur.

I cuddled your laughter on my chest,
stroked flaxen hair. We braided songs
from fibers of child-hurt,
I chanted your praise from Proverbs.

My night visits from smoked minions were released
into the custody of your downy-soft ear. Dropped
all inquiries into motive and widened my dawn gaze.
Our entwined selves, like a matted tango
of river reeds, dammed Holland’s tidal flows,
held up against another Shoah.

Rp Verlaine

Rp Verlaine lives in New York City. He has an MFA in creative writing from City College. He taught in New York Public schools for many years. His first volume of poetry- Damaged by Dames & Drinking was published in 2017 and another – Femme Fatales Movie Starlets & Rockers in 2018. A set of three e-books titled Lies From The Autobiography vol 1-3 were published from 2018 to 2020. His newest book, Imagined Indecencies, was published in February of 2022.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Rp Verlaine and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

For Masha Bruskina

Her grim face in
black and white
faded photo paper
looms like any
permanent memory
circumstance dictates
with its unforgiving
favor weighing fate
evil or providence.

A Soviet Jew
a member of the
resistance tortured
and beaten by the Nazis
yet still she refused to name
other resistance members
Well, at least I won’t starve
she said when told
she’d be hung.

In the photo
she is being paraded
through the streets
with a large placard
by Nazi occupiers.
Just 17 years old when
placed on a stool
kicked away, her body left
hanging for three days.

A plaque there honors her
identified for decades
as the unknown girl.
Killed by evil incarnate
that in all its disparate forms
continues to kick away stools
trying still to frighten away
the good in us all.

S. D. Kilmer

S. D. Kilmer – possesses a B.P.S. degree in Existential – Pastoral Counseling and Family Conflict Mediation (SUNY) with a certificate in Jewish Studies. He’s poems have been published in various poetry Anthologies (AuthorHouse 2020, Sweetycat Press 2021, 2022), also in AllPoetry, Spillwords, and other literary ezines. His poetry is also at The Existential Poetry of an Adoptee & Introvert at: SDKilmer.com. He resides in Central New York State.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by S. D. Kilmer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Past Shapes the Future

She had a friend
When they were children.
They met in the Polish forest.
The 1944 Polish forest.
She was running away
From her adopters.

They acted out all the social niceties and appearance
Of being good parents.
But she knew better.
Neither good nor were they her real parents.
She was a child
    Parentless.
    Homeless.
    Disconnected.

Her forest friend
Another child
Another girl.
She had escaped 
Transport to Birkenau.
Her real parents were extinguished there.
She was a child
    Parentless.
    Homeless.
    Disconnected.

Together the two discovered
not freedom, 
but civilization.
Throughout their lives
Neither child would be free.

Both women, years later still remained
    Parentless.
    Homeless.
    Disconnected.
Of the past that shaped their futures.

Sarah M. Prindle

Sarah M. Prindle received an Associate’s degree in English from Northampton Community College. She loves reading everything from historical fiction and memoirs to poetry and mysteries. She hopes to someday publish her own novels and poetry collections and has already had some of her work published in several literary magazines and websites.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Sarah M. Prindle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Hidden: A Jewish Child During the Holocaust

Lock the door, close the shutters
and don’t answer if someone knocks.
Know when to lie, know when to stay silent
the wrong choice could mean death.
Don’t ask about your family
or speak your real name.
Don’t light candles on Saturdays
or ask for Kosher meals.
Don’t make trouble for your hosts
or draw attention in any way.
Pretend to be like other children
who don’t have to watch their words
or live in fear of roundups.
Pretend to be like other Germans
who salute a mass-murderer
and turn their backs on decency.
When the war is over
you can pray in Yiddish; you can sing again.
When the war is over
you can hug your parents; you can live again.
Until then—you must stay hidden.

Shirani Rajapakse

Shirani Rajapakse is a Sri Lankan poet and short story writer. She is the author of five books including the award-winning “Chant of a Million Women” as well as “I Exist. Therefore I Am.” Rajapakse’s work appears in Dove Tales, Buddhist Poetry, Litro, Linnet’s Wings, Berfrois, Flash Fiction International, Voices Israel, About Place, Mascara, Counterpunch, Deep Water, Silver Birch, International Times, New Verse News, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Spark, Lakeview, The Write-In, Asian Signature, Moving Worlds, Harbinger Asylum and more. Visit Shirani on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Shirani Rajapakse and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Shower

She waits for the water
to fall, to flow over and wash her clean
like the day she was born.
Together they journeyed across the land
travelling the distance long and hard.

Some died, crammed like cattle
inside carriages,
trampled on by others trying
to make room, or be comfortable.

But she lived, while they died.

She waits
for the water in that cold hard place.
Shivers run down her back
yet she smiles to herself in anticipation
of better things while all the rest
wait with her, wondering why the water
doesn’t come. The showers have gone dry.
She looks down at the little
child standing
patiently by her side and sees
her smile mirrored with hope.
The future seems fine. They made it after all.
It couldn’t be that bad.

Suddenly the smell of gas.
All around they scream and gag.
She claws the air,
falling, crashing never to rise again,
the smile wiped off her lips
now drawn with pain.


(Previously published in Poetica Magazine, Finalist 2013 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards, 2014, USA)

Stephen Mead

Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer.  Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online.  He is also grateful to have managed to keep various day jobs for the Health Insurance. Currently he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall. Visit Stephen on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Stephen Mead and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Misere Nobis

(Have mercy on us.)
(Ora Pro Nobis: Pray for us.)

Survival was the crime.
At the time there was no knowing & hardly instinct just to persist.
This continued existence was only accidental
when so many loved were shoved to climb on one another
before all were shot.

To push out from the pile, afterbirth-slick, once the S.S. were gone
was the only thing to do if just not to rot.

Guilty, guilty, guilty, ora pro nobis –
so many of the cattle cars, the camps, had the same silent chant.

Why was there not strength to hurl one’s self like beef
on the electric barbed fence?

Starvation, typhus, grieving hatred robbed us, each to each,
as shell-shocked witnesses marrow-drained by sadism
under the big boots to lick before the snapping dogs’ jaws,
the target practice of old ones, monkey-see-monkey-do,
& bayonet-tossed babes.

Achtung vermin-rat-pig, schnell, schnell – listen- we said – catch –
There’s no sneaking of shanks to your own throats here.
That’s up to us via the gas or the med experiments,
those chambers organized before the shoveling oven’ stench.

No wonder to be hung or killed by a single quick bullet,
seemed more merciful & less mess, for us, liberated homeless
thronging ghosts remembering, subsisting symbiotic, not Tikun Olam,
but remembrance the sentence when millions are no longer
anywhere with this tumbling burden
that lost us to loss
without hope of forget.

Susan Beth Furst

Susan Beth Furst is an award-winning haiku poet and Children’s book author. Susan has published three poetry collections: Souvenir Shop, Road to Utopia, and Neon Snow. Her Children’s books include Humpty Dumpty Cracks and All, Electric Pink, The Amazing Glass House, and The Hole In My Haiku. Susan lives with her husband Herb in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she continues to write, with the most amazing clouds and stars she’s never seen before. Visit Susan on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Susan Beth Furst and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Babylon

The great synagogue
collapsed
in colors of discarded skins,
a skeleton,
eyes hollow
unblinking
at the same blue sky.


full moon we light the candles again


Ekphrastic Poem in response to David Labkovski’s “The Destruction of Vilna ll”
David Labkovski Project, Yom HaShoah Holocaust Commemoration Journal 2021.

Susan Olsburgh

Susan Olsburgh has lived in Netanya, Israel for the last eleven years. She taught Literature and British Culture in schools and universities in the north east of England. Susan served as president of Voices Israel for five years and currently coordinates the Sharon/Netanya group as well as being the organisation’s zoom coordinator. Susan also voluntarily facilitates a poetry appreciation group Poetry Please which has met monthly for ten years as part of AACI Netanya’s cultural programme. She is just about to publish her second volume of poetry Susan@74.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Susan Olsburgh and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Ilse’s Reply

I prepared Kaffe und Kuchen excitedly
and my son Shlomo came over especially.
It was as if we were solving a crossword puzzle:
how were we related exactly,
where did we fit on the Schartenberg tree?

Two years ago I too went back to Zierenberg
as you have done – you told me on the phone.

I recognized that Heinz, such a Nazi then.
“Ilse, Ilse,” he called out cheerily, “Remember when….”.
100 year old Irma came from the old age home
a fossilized version of my former friend,
“We loved you really but there was little we could do
when the hakenkreuz hung in public view.”

I didn’t go to berate them on my pain.
I went back to see my old home again
I went back for my pleasure, to treasure
once more the beautiful portal of our former front door
to show it to my granddaughter, the youngest offshoot
of our family tree with its German Jewish roots,
to visit the cemetery, to see the gentle hills all around
to hallow again what had become unhallowed ground.

Susan Taylor

Susan Taylor is a poet and short story writer living in San Diego, California.  She is a retired English tutor and currently tutors and hosts The Electric Picnic, a radio half hour program about poetry, prose and interviews with poets of diversity.  The show airs on KNSJ 89.1 FM, San Diego community broadcast for opinions, news, music and shows about inclusion and social justice issues.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Susan Taylor and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

2022  Yom Hashoah

Another, most necessary, ever painful memory 
Is the Holocaust. 
Wikipedia, coldly and clinically describes  
The Holocaust, always with a capital H, 
As the genocide of the European Jews by Nazi Germany 
And its collaborators between 1941 and1945. 
My father dropped B-52 bombs on Germany, leaving England, 
After joining the U.S. Air Force, after escaping his strict German-ancestored father, Carl. 
Carl’s philosophy being the Right Way and the Wrong way, the right being the German way 
And the wrong being any other way. 
Dad hated home and Catholic school, though Chicago was all right, especially living  
On Henderson Street, not so far from Wrigley Field. 
He was a patriot, lied, even, about his age of 17, to fight in that whopper of a war. 
Sometime in my early adolescence there was a television program about the Holocaust. 
I don’t think Mom and Dad wanted me to see that black and white footage of emaciated bodies 
Forced to bury their Jewish comrades in deep and unforgiving trenches.
  It was the first time 
I’d heard of the showers, the ovens, and, 
Good God, the lampshades made from human skin. 
Such cruelty in my living room on the T.V. was sickening. 
I remember it vividly. 
April 28, 2022 is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Yom Hashoah. 

We apologize.  We are paying attention. 

 I went on teach the Diary of Anne Frank to eighth grade kids. 
They loved the real Anne and hated Shelley Winters in the movie, the whining, teasing co-inhabitant of the upstairs room. 
The kids longed for Anne and the young man to kiss and live happily ever after. 
In the movie, we heard the screeching of brakes, the Nazi trucks’ sirens’  clutching and wheezing as they  
Paroled the streets and sometimes stopped.  
There.  At that building. 
You probably know the rest. 
We still ask, was Anne Frank sent to Auschwitz or Buchenwald, with or without her father? 
Sometime in that middle school year, an assembly was held for all 8th graders. 
A frail looking woman took the stage and showed the students her tattooed white forearm. 
She was a force to be reckoned with.  The students didn’t know what questions they were allowed to ask her.   
I can imagine what they were curious about. 
I hope those students are remembering that novel and that assembly and what they learned about World War II. 
Some of them are still celebrating Passover now, or finishing up the Easter chocolate eggs, maybe fasting through the days of Ramadan. 
They may remember Krystal Nacht, as they pack up their beloved “books” on small and shiny laptops. 
Maybe they won’t be able to eat lunch and feel the need to take a long jog , fast and faster 
Running until their energy has been used up. 
Some older people will have heartburn, light candles, wear yamakas, and go to Synagogue. 
This Holocaust Remembrance Day will find us Googling the gory details, seeking how many millions died. 
Feeling teary-eyed, and short of breath. We’ll buy tickets to the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles, and eat a deli before going home.. 
 
Certain memories will fade in our lifetimes. 
How many months had we to wear face masks against Covid-19? 
How short was the 2022 baseball season in the end? 
On what day did Ukraine snuff out the Russian invaders and did any country help them do it? 

I don’t want my mind to see those skinny torsos and the gray striped housedresses on the young women in line to who knows where.  The cattle cars, the swaggering Nazi soldiers shouting Heil and Fuhrer. 
But it happened and I’ll allow it in, expressing no schadenfreude.
The Holocaust happened and it was a monstrous shame, then, to now recall and accept as fact.

Sy Roth

Sy Roth lives in Mount Sinai, New York where the tablets lay dormant.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Sy Roth and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Musselmanner

He walked the slimy yards clicking-clacking in his wooden shoes
They made no sound for him
As his flesh ate him inside out,
Dimmed eyes paley agog at the spectacle
Where only sympathetic vibes get lost in their own sewage.

But he kept walking
Making the rounds as revitalizing screams could be heard
Lost in a morass of the end-of-the-line
Where God rested
Needing respite from the beings he had created
Their noise and the silence of the musselmanner blending
In a chaos of the unaffected.

Fallen men arms outstretched pleading for their own respite
But unsure of their own existence in then stink of man
Sliding fault lines of humanity rank in their own existence
Could they have conjured a grosser picture of reality in the land of nodding grace
While the spirits of redemption still breathed?

Last circuit for the musselmann
The mismatched stream of humanity
Yellow, bilious cloud of nothing
And poof
The magic of elimination and he sinks to the ground
Compressed into the earth
Molecules set free.

Tina Hacker

A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Tina Hacker is happy to announce the arrival of her poetry collection, GOLEMS, published by Kelsay Books. The poems are based on the golem character from Jewish folklore. Tina has authored two previous collections of poetry: Listening to Night Whistles published by Aldrich Press and Cutting It, by The Lives You Touch Publications. Since 1976, she has been the poetry editor of Veterans’ Voices, a magazine of writing by military veterans. Tina lives in Leawood, KS, with her husband Lynn Norton who is a sculptor and poet, too.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Tina Hacker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Covenant

I didn’t question its existence
until I heard the rabbi’s sermon.
“G-d broke the Covenant,” she said,
“when the Holocaust occurred.”
No divine rescue.
No sea offering a water-slide escape.
No pillar of fire consuming plans
for the Final Solution.

Like a cauldron overflowing,
the tragedy spilled
doubt over surviving Jews.
Do we continue to trust
in G-d? Think
our connection has value?
The rabbi assured us
an adequate number still believed.
Enough to restore our Covenant.
Restored!

But when I see signs shouting,
“Jews will not replace us”
I wonder what will break it again.

Tony Brewer

Tony Brewer is a poet and live sound effects artist from Bloomington, Indiana. He has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and books include Homunculus, The History of Projectiles, Tabletop Anxieties & Sweet Decay (with Tim Heerdink), and Pity for Sale. Visit Tony on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Tony Brewer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Radnóti’s Wife

Bodies writhe, motionless,
revealed like scalp through hair.
She uses her hands when she gets closer.
She has to see, she has to
use her hands as soft shovels.
There are bones, and there
a face she will not recognize.
There is skin, there are pages.
There are clothes she knows
too big for what remains.
Pushed by pistol barrel till
its mouth exploded in his ear,
he fell face first atop diggers
of a ditch under an iron sky.
Amid tree roots, under broken limbs.
And here his overcoat, here his journal.
The mound of earth grows
waist high. Here a hat, here
a glove with fingers missing.
She finds him in the tangle,
last poems in his pocket,
skin pulled away from his teeth.
She wipes mud on her coat
so to touch him with clean hands,
his skull his thin face.
In the filth seeds are waiting for winter
to end. Into a box she lays
pages she recovers but a portion
of her stays there in the pit.

 

Originally published in Hot Type Cold Read by Tony Brewer (Chatter House Press, 2013)

Tova Hinda Siegel

Tova Hinda Siegel is a writer and poet.  She is also a midwife, cellist, mother, grandmother and great grandmother of many children living around the world. After earning a BA from Antioch and an MS from USC, she began writing and has studied with Jack Grapes, Tresha Faye Haefner, Taffy Brodesser-Akner among others. Her work has appeared in Salon.com, I’ll Take Wednesdays, On The Bus, MacQueens’s Quinterly, Gyroscope Review and several anthologies. Her first collection, “Uncertain Resident” was published recently.  She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Tova Hinda Siegel and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Remember

It’s July 17th, 2003. Babi Yar*. Outside
Kiev. We are 25 women. We stand voiceless.
The moon has broken curfew. It’s early
morning and both orbs light the sky, shine

a pure light. But no shining for those souls
who are encased in mud and blood.
The ravine shrieks in silence.

The morning rests a hand
on the dew drenched leaves
while trees flutter their naiveté
as we walk, Tehillim** in hand.

I sink. I dissolve. Soft blood-drenched
earth sobs still. It trembles. It trembles
just for a moment. I tremble.

I catch a pungent smell wafting on the breeze.
Gun powder and urine and mother’s milk
blended. Memories living in souls
hover, then shadow thoughts.

Blood of 60 years ago soaked
into the ground, crying for remembrance
and justice. Soundless tears flood me.

I think beyond my prayers,
into the dug-out ravine, filled now
with young trees, budding flowers fertilized
by the corpses hidden deep.

It was 1941. The naked bodies, living remains,
walking cadavers were driven into that pit
by dogs and men.    Shnell!    Children clutch

hands seizing the unknowing last touch
as screams obliterate the shots
and thuds and sobs and shoveled earth
covering them whether alive or not.

We are 25 women who stand silent witness.
We are 25 women who stand wordless, breathless.
We are.            Then the silence is pierced
as Miryam, my friend screams into the non-living
ears and hearts buried in these depths. She screams, she screams

“We     are     your     revenge!”

*Babi Yar in the Ukraine is the site of the largest Nazi massacre of Jews during the Holocaust. Beginning September 29, 1941, over 34,000 Jews were murdered in 2 days.
** Tehillim are King David’s Psalms, traditionally said in times of distress.

Tova Snitzer

Tova was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors. Tova enjoys writing both fiction and poetry as a creative outlet. This poem is dedicated to those who were lost before their time.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Tova Snitzer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Shemos

and they travelled through the dessert
600,000 men
a pillar of cloud before them in the day
a pillar of fire before them in the night

and it travelled across the exile
with them in poland
600,000+ murdered in Belzec
a pillar of fire returning them above
returned to the Creator
and the clouds watch over the razed land
bearing witness

Papa Vic

Papa Vic is a carbon-based humanoid lifeform. He is reported to reside in the jungle known as Hollywood.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Papa Vic and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Yom Hazikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah

no birds will fly directly over
they will not perch
on the terrible smokestacks
nor the remnants of wire
nor the wrought-iron gates
where the words mock freedom

their songs are not heard
inside the crumbling brick ovens
inside the showers with no drains
inside the silent screaming photographs
inside the unspeakable laboratories
where lampshades were harvested

but

birds still fly free
they build their nests
all around the world
where in their songs
they will always remember the places
where no birds will sing

Vincent O'Connor

Vincent O’Connor plays with computers for a living but writes for life.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Vincent O’Connor and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Chelmno

December 8th, 1941
a date which will live in infamy

at the cutting edge of
technology exhaust pipes
look like dragon
nostrils

Malthusian killers cosplay
as physicians
stripping men, women, and
children together
while commandeering their
possessions
in the courtyard
of mendacity

one by one they
do the walk of
shame past signs declaring
“To the Washroom”

to the cellar
to a ramp
to the back
of a large, paneled truck

where one by one
terrorized human beings
pass through
confusion and
vomiting and
chest pain and
seizures

ultimately becoming
an adulterated corpse