26th Annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Poetry Issue

Send us your poetry. Click here for submission guidelines.

Alan Bern

Retired children’s librarian Alan Bern received an MA in Creative Writing from Boston University studying with poet Anne Sexton. Alan is a Pushcart nominee and has published three books of poetry and a hybrid fictionalized memoir, IN THE PACE OF THE PATHUnCollected Press, 2023. Recent awards include: Longlist, The Bedford Competition (2023); Winner, Saw Palm Poetry Contest (2022). Recent/upcoming writing and photo work include: Third Street Review DarkWinter, Feral, Porridge Magazine, and Mercurius. Alan performs with dancer/choreographer Lucinda Weaver as PACES, is a published/exhibited photographer, and runs a fine press/publisher with artist/printer Robert Woods, Lines & Faceslinesandfaces.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Alan Bern and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

4/25/24 news

on a single inglorious day
in one ear a Pecker
selling out the Trump flab
and his mushrooming down dick schtick
and in the other ear
lawyer Sauer’s voice so disturbing
one cannot listen
explaining why a President
with a very Germanized name Trump
must have immunity
for everything forever on earth
for the 1000 years

Alan Walowitz

Alan Walowitz lives in Great Neck, NY and 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, is available from Truth Serum Press. From Arroyo Seco Press, is the chapbook In the Muddle of the Night, written with poet Betsy Mars. From Red Wolf Journal, download gratis The Poems of the Air.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Alan Walowitz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Order of Things

He leads the seder–he can read so fast,
he’ll get us through safe and in time to eat.
But stops long enough to wag his finger:
In every generation they will rise up against us,
loud and clear and with the passion of our time.
Especially so his lovely little boy can hear,
he whose dark hair falls over one eye,
a handsome peekaboo, a nightshade—
to learn this is the lesson of Pesah.

What about welcoming the stranger, I whisper.
What about loving him as yourself,
for we were strangers in the land of Egypt?
What about leaving open the door
and a place set for Elijah or someone like him?
What do I teach in my silence
to keep peace at the family Seder,
where starvation roils beneath the surface so close
and in the ever-present past of our elders, soon to be gone?
This is how it happened to us instead of them.
This is how the rabbis got shorn.
This is how we were led like sheep.
This is how the six million
and the twelve-hundred on the Seventh
and the two-hundred hostages
we dare never forget, but sometimes do.

I say, just give us the choices that are rightfully ours,
so You, Hashem, don’t have to waste Your power,
or You need to nap having gotten weary of our ceaseless need.
We might tear down the walls ourselves that have suffered us
and free all those who are like we were then.
Perhaps the stranger is only wary.
Give us the means to discern who means us harm
and those who mean none.
With our eyes wide, with our heart,
no matter how hardened in times like these,
let us never wag a finger.
There was no worse time to be born than this,
except all the others.
Remind us of that peekaboo boy,
and his children and their children,
are destined to be here long after we’re done.

Alex M. Frankel

Alex M. Frankel is a Los Angeles writer. After graduating from college, he spent ten years in Spain and returned to California in 1995. He hosts the Second Sunday Poetry Series and sometimes publishes under the name Alejo Rovira Goldner. His newest chapbook is entitled So Many Mouths at the End of All Beauty.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Alex M. Frankel and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Genocide Polka

We stand by as they beat our beloved professor.
With shards they open him up,
they extract his mind, limp and soggy,
and offer it to the mob.
Together let us try to imagine
the might of a celestial being.

*

Bugs unite to sup on cadavers
whose souls have gone and entered the void.
Champagne spills its bubbles on our frontlets.

*

Through a telescope the colonel
studies a dandelion and a praying mantis.
The dandelion disgusts him, he orders it destroyed.
The mantis enchants him, a sanctuary is built in its honor.
The telescope collapses into a flute,
the colonel performs, he’s a flutist at heart.
His hands return to his books
and the art of starving a village.

*

By the lake, thugs mow down
several generations of hill people.
The thugs text their girlfriends to describe the comedy.
They invent feathered words and phrases
for their squeamish ladies in furs.


*

Over a friendly glass of beer
I have a chat with my executioner.
I tell him how hard it will be to enter the kingdom.
He laughs and shoots a pilgrim.
For a nanosecond I hold there is only
the kingdom of the mantis,
the judgment of the mantis
and the empty cup of the mantis.
The mantis lives in a devilish roadhouse
to be fed strong gifts and appeased.

*

Nobody has use for civilization anymore.
Men want hard hands to shake hands with,
as wouldn’t you?
Then their hands return to their faces
and they eat without thinking, as wouldn’t you?
But, just in case, we find a full cup
maybe for heaven’s fingers to splash in.

*

The colonel activates his Dictaphone.
Sixty thousand corpses need instant cremation
but his Diet Coke’s gone flat again!
The speaking tube swallows the colonel
and the cylinder grinds him and voids him.
Bugs unite to sup on the crumbs.

Alyza Lee Salomon

Alyza Lee Salomon is a dancer, poet, writer, and bibliophile who has worked as a tutor and editor. She ascribes her love of words and languages to a trilingual childhood and a European heritage. Alyza earned her M.A. in English Literature from Sonoma State University, where she fell in love with the writing of Virginia Woolf. Her poems have appeared in local anthologies and on the website of United Poets Laureate International. She resides in Hercules, California and has been performing with Natica Angilly’s Poetic Dance Theater Company since 2003.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Alyza Lee Salomon and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Lost Flowering

What did I learn from watching
the Ken Burns TV documentary
that I didn’t already know?
Just this: One in three
of Europe’s Jewish adults survived;
but only one in ten Jewish children
survived the Holocaust.

My parents were seventeen, sixteen
years old when they were rescued
out of Vienna, no longer Austria,
late in 1938 for Otto,
early in 1939 for Melly,
to British Mandate Palestine.
Are they counted as children?

My mom lost her mother.
My dad lost his favorite cousin, Gerda.
These two losses are among
the hundred or so listed
in my family’s genealogy record
of relatives who perished
too soon during World War II.

How unfathomable is the acute pain
of those who remember lost loved ones.
How incomprehensible
is the slaughter of fellow human beings.
The flower of European Jewry!
Daddy used to say,
emphasizing the three salient words.

By the time I was twelve years
old growing up in Seat Pleasant,
Maryland, I understood
the unfathomable, untranslatable
grief that this expression
for the lost six million strained
to enumerate, to enfold.


(Previous versions of this poem were published in the Benicia Herald  and on the website of United Poets Laureate International.)

Anita Lerek

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it (George Santayana). History has posed a challenge for Anita Lerek. Born into a war-scarred family, the arts have saved her life, and enabled her to reach out to others. Some recent poetry publication credits include Silver Birch Press, Jerry Jazz Musician, Cultural Daily, and Beltway Poetry.  She was nominated for Best of the Net, 2022. She is author of chapbook, Of History and Being (2019). She is co-founder of a women’s poetry group: Change Artists. She lives with her archivist husband in Toronto, Canada.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Anita Lerek and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Mother Mud

Although I wasn’t hungry, I ate and ate, for my mother had told me to eat.

1
You are a tiny fish
trapped in vast dry lands
of hospital stretcher and wires,
face yellowed, undressed,
no lipstick, delicate earrings, or shimmer.
Hoarse winds shudder through you,
remember your performance—

at 24, running away
from the Nazi labour camp.
Black ravens encircle you
pumping their wings as if enemy,
pinpointing you for execution.
A massive weight drops on your feet—
striped fur flesh, gaping mouth,
eyes pierce you. The cat
follows your every move
like the Polish antisemites,
who pursue local Jews,
and blackmail or turn you in.

Fields of mud poked with wires and debris
or soft, glistening ground?
Springtime, you sing to your mother mind,
you are still alive.
A solitary cat, you shelter
in night mountains of rubble,
stalk uncharted tire tracks,
crawling, running, sobbing.
A lone truck doesn’t stop.
Your hunger roars, disabled.
You feel for your mother’s keepsake,
jagged hardness pushes you on.

2
Smoke rises, is this a dream:
a dump site, a tiny wooden shack!
An old man with a long stick
beats a stray cat pleading at his doorstep.
But you – he will seize and cash in,
the prize Jewish fish.
Decisions, decisions. Your hand tries
to read the mother gem sewn inside you.
Song crashes in your belly.
You must come forward.

But I looked and felt pitiful. I started to sort out pieces of cloth, and used them to clean my boots. I was able to make them presentable, and then I straightened my hair and scrubbed the mud off my hands. I wore only my hand-knitted sweater and a skirt, which were still fairly decent-looking. I felt terrible leaving my coat behind, a nest of twigs and mud . . . but it was only a piece of cloth after all.*

3
Bound, cold,
unable to fix yourself,
you stare up at the drop sky
of hospital tiles inlaid with fish
that seem to leap out of frames,
streaming everywhere.
You swim with the memory
of a wildflower
emerging from mother mud,
a beauty that aches,
petal by petal dying each night,
then pushing to reawaken
above water. Roots destroyed,
the seeds sing on and on,
performing in the landscape
that is who you are.

Bleed of loudspeakers, codes,
screams,
..sorry,
……….….sorry,
…….sorry
You hold still at last.


Author’s Note: The excerpt and incidents, poetically interpreted by me, come from my mother, Wanda Lerek’s privately published memoir, Hold On To Life, Dear (1996). Wanda was a young adult during WW2, and she lived to the age of 93, when she passed away on the operating table undergoing heart surgery.

Original version of poem appeared in Silver Birch Press online.

Annette Gagliardi

Annette Gagliardi’s poetry has been featured online and in printed journals, newspapers and anthologies in Canada, England and the USA. She has won numerous awards for her poetry and the PenCraft Book Award for Literary Excellence for her historical fiction, Ponderosa Pines: Days of the Deadwood Forest Fire. Visit Annette on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Annette Gagliardi and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

After Hearing About the Holocaust

My ears hurt with the weight of their words, the bitter end of innocents, the inhuman treatment of honorable men and women, without a backward glance of what our part might be, or could have been if we were to care at all.

My nostrils are filled with the stench of victimization, the miasma of brutality by those who carry no shame for their deeds; my eyes bleed the witnessed atrocities of physical deprivation and more I cannot name.

And now, what am I to do with this guilt, this deafening sound shutting out the light my ears want to hear, are searching for in vain, without a whisper of hope. I am blinded by the inexcusable, senselessness of it all.


After hearing about the Holocaust, won 3rd place, Cracked Walnut Award at the LOMP convention, October 22, 2017.

Bruce Strand

Bruce is a Canadian poet from Red Deer, Alberta. He was fortunate to grow up on a farm, which helped foster his interest in photography and where the shapes and colours in the landscape began educating his internal world. He likes to write about the myths and illusions we create for ourselves in order to survive life’s realities. Some of his poetry has been published in literary journals and anthologies, as well as broadcast on CBC public radio. He is also an English and French instructor.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Bruce Strand and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Clean-up

To make a lot of people disappear
try the magic of the H – bomb
to pull down the sky and reshape it
into a mushroom cloud that glows
rainbows for weeks.
It might leave an imprint on concrete,
the shape of a woman caught by surprise.

Try chemicals – they are usually green –
coloured for the environment,
a slower disappearing act that burns lungs black;
or take a double helix coil linking feisty amino acids
set adrift in warm water aimed at the dark of cells:
Flesh will begin to consume itself.

Or make a speech to unleash passions,
broadcast on the weather channel,
interrupt a sit-com for effect,
inform the viewer of the frailty of banks:
The tragedy of money will incite a riot.

Just add steel-belted tracks,
a diesel engine, and a tube that squeezes out
the exquisite jewelry of the sun:
Testy lines will form at night to define borders.

Or give each child a headdress,
make them memorize the same refrain,
give them an eye for their eyes,
and sharpen their wits with uncanny mathematics
to decipher the sins of their neighbours.
Or best of all just close your eyes.

Carla Schwartz

Carla Schwartz’s poems have appeared in her books, “Signs of Marriage,” Mother, One More Thing,” and “Intimacy with the Wind.” Learn more at  carlapoet.com, or wakewiththesun.blogspot.com or find her on Twitter, Instagram, Threads, Bluesky, or YouTube @cb99videos. Recent curations include Banyan Review, The Ear, Channel, Cutthroat, great weather for MEDIA, Inquisitive Eater, MacQueen’s Quinterly, New-Verse News, Paterson Literary Review, Remington Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Silver Birch Press, Triggerfish, The MacGuffin, Verse-Virtual, Worcester Review, and Leon. Carla Schwartz is a 2023 recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant. She won the 2023 New England Poetry Club E.E. Cummings Prize.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Carla Schwartz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

2020

You would have sat down at the kitchen table
with my father that January night,

might have been the one to cook dinner for him
and even though he was not feeling well

he might not have been so indifferent
as to wear his pajamas to dinner.

You would have been there when his knees folded
under as he tried to stand up,

might even have caught him, or you’d have driven him
to the doctor that day, or you’d have had more sense than him

to stop the both of you from driving by then.
You would have had a smart phone

would have taken it in hand
punched up an Uber,

and when my father recovered, you’d sit calmly
discussing whom to vote for—Bernie, or Kamala.

When the pandemic shut everything down you would have both worn masks
among strangers, maybe taken strolls around the block.

But when you’d learned about George Floyd and Breonna Taylor
you’d remember the Nazi soldiers with their guns bursting into your home,

would have mourned for lives lost, mourned
for being too old to stand and protest.

The two of you would have kept company. You’d have handled the technology,
ordered meals, played the piano, video-chatted with your friends.

But by then you were long dead
and when my father’s knees buckled him to the floor

as he lay there unable to rise, he might have looked up
and heard you call to him when the ambulance came.


An earlier, and somewhat different version of this poem appeared as “2020, Were you to have Lived” in “Signs of Marriage,” (Finishing Line Press, 2022)

Carol Lynn Grellas

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas lives in the Sierra Foothills, Ca. She is a recent graduate from Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing program with a masters degree in Poetry. She’s a twelve-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a seven-time Best of the Net nominee. In 2021 her book Alice in Ruby Slippers was shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize in Poetry. She has served as the Editor-in-Chief for both the Orchards Poetry and Tule Review. In addition to her own writing, she enjoys working as literary consultant. Visit her on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Carol Lynn Grellas and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Shviger (Mother-in-Law)

What I remember most is the way she spoke
of her childhood in the old country,

her ‘v’s replacing ‘w’s in her strong Hungarian
accent. The way she’d become excited

and start to speak in Yiddish, which
at some point, I could almost understand.

How she always ended her sentences
with, Thanks God. Thanks God for her life

and all of us. How she reused everything,
even her collection of tinfoil, shiny wrinkled sheets,

cleaned and wrapped carefully one over the other,
forming a large silver ball stored in the kitchen.

Everything that could be saved, saved, in case
the war began again, decades after her long journey

to Ellis Island. And when she’d speak of hiding
from the Nazis, she’d pause, taking a slow

difficult breath, then tell the horrors of her adolescence,
when fear became the emotion that permeated

her existence. Sometimes she’d abbreviate
the details just to get through the parts

that made her shudder. And when she finished,
she’d hold up her left hand high over her tiny

five-foot frame, and wave it around the room.
Her hard-working hand that adorned a large

yellow diamond in a platinum setting, like a medal
of honor or souvenir for bravery. The one that was

traded for all that was left of what her father
owned after the holocaust. The diamond she’d hid

under her tongue on the voyage to freedom.
The diamond that soon became her wedding ring,


the one she wore for the next sixty years,
the one she died wearing before her son removed

it for her burial, which somehow seemed sacrilegious―
as if someone else in the family could ever retell

its whole story, carry its legacy, someone else who
didn’t have to schlepp to the other side of the world

just to make a new life, someone without
the chutzpah, or any finger worthy of that stone.

Chloe Liddle

Chloe Liddle is a current Highschool student in Upstate New York. She spends her time acting in drama classes and sings in multiple choirs. She has a love for writing and connecting with fellow readers and writers and enjoys sharing her work with others. Chloe wrote her poem on the holocaust which is meant to be interpreted by a child in a concentration camp, it was inspired shortly after reading the Boy In the Striped Pajamas written by John Boyne.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Chloe Liddle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The last Reaping Day

Child cut, child cries
no more pain but Father lies.
Behind the fence a child lay
Bare bone and skin, it all in flays.
Burns among his mother’s face, his empty belly,
Lost in Space.
As Fury calls, he hears a cry,
The end of time for Jews to die.

Christine Griffin

Christine lives in Gloucester UK. Her poetry and short stories have been widely published in local, national and international journals. She has featured in the Cheltenham Poetry Festival and has been a regular contributor to local radio poetry programmes.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Christine Griffin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Lest we Forget

Somewhere there is Kwai
lingering in a handful of deep scored memories,
hidden in tomes with unturned pages,
ignored by the careless glance of youth.
And somewhere there is Auschwitz,
a monstrous blister in scarred Polish fields
crying out to be remembered,
helpless against the deniers.
The names drop like stones
into a filth-infested pond spreading
lethal ripples through the years.
Vietnam, Mau Mau, Hiroshima,
Biafra, Darfur, Syria, Mariupol
a litany of shame.
Civilisations crushed, cities
crumbling to dust. Holy wars
land wars, I hate you ‘cos you’re different wars
I want what you’ve got wars.
………….no-one is listening.

Christopher Bogart

Christopher Bogart’s chapbook, 14: Antología del Sonoran, was awarded third place in The Poetry Box Chapbook Contest and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his poem, “Abraham Morales Hernandez.” In 2020, The Poetry Box published his chapbook Breakpoint about America in the era of Donald Trump, a book of poetry about Central American migration, The Eater of Dreams; and This Conversation, a conversation between two strangers about race in 2022. His latest books are Bards of Passion and Mirth (Blast Press, 2023) and соняшники/Sunflowers, a book about the war in Ukraine, illustrated by Beata Kurkul (Penguin Book Writers, 2024).

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Christopher Bogart and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Price of Silence

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies,
but the silence of our friends. —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Silence is the real crime against humanity —Nadezhda Mandlestam

Silence is sometimes defined as
The absence of sound.
………….But silence is really
………….The absence of action.

Silence however is always profound.
………….It punctuates,
………….Communicates
………….Sometimes in pages,
………….Most often in volumes.

Silence counts its victims
………….Not in hundreds,
………….Or thousands,
………….………….But in hundreds of thousands –
………….………….………….In millions.

Silence has forever been complicit
In the silencing of the voices
Of millions of souls
………….In Uganda,
………….Rwanda,
………….In Cambodia,
………….Armenia,
………….………….In Auschwitz,
………….………….In Dachau
………….………….And Bergin-Belsen,
………….………….In Babi Yar.

Silence is cowardice.
Its lips sealed as
Our most basic freedoms
Are held hostage to
………….The absence of protest,
………….………….The absence of action. –
………….………….………….The absence of sound.

Silence is all of these –
………….But most of all,
………….For all of these,

Silence is consent.


“The Price of Silence” was first published in Breakpoint (The Poetry Box, 2020)

Claire Drucker

Claire Drucker is a Jewish lesbian mom, educational consultant, teacher, poet, and identical twin.  Her first book-length collection of poems, The Life You Gave Me, was published in 2023 by Kelsay Books. Her chapbook, The Fluid Body, was published by Finishing Line Press. Claire’s poems have also been published in numerous journals, including CA Quarterly, Jewish Literary Journal, Rust & Moth, Young Ravens Literary Review, Epiphany, Puerto del Sol, and Women Artists Datebook. She lives in Sebastopol, CA.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Claire Drucker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Life You Gave Me

……………for my grandfather

It could not fit in a velvet box with a
velour ribbon tied twice nor could it be worn,
an evening gown blue as the generous, sad sea.
Not a stone, not a car, not a dog with pleading
eyes to please get the bone before it’s gone forever.
It wasn’t green, it didn’t sing but started quiet,
as an egg splitting in the waters. Not chapped hands
in winter, not webs behind the bed, not the pitch
perfect way oaks whip in a storm.
Listen to this gift burn. Air coming and going
in a nostril. Upper eyelid drooped and creased,
a delicate gate. The way I open the door with my left,
close it with my right. Footfall on tile. You watching me
in my dreams, reaching your eyes out as if to say
take it, I don’t need it where I’m going
arms laden with white roses, one for each year
you lost, one for each of mine.


From The Life You Gave Me, published by Kelsay Books

Craig Kirchner

Craig Kirchner thinks of poetry as hobo art, loves storytelling and the aesthetics of the paper and pen. He has had two poems nominated for the Pushcart, and has a book of poetry, Roomful of Navels. Craig houses 500 books in his office and about 400 poems in a folder on a laptop. These words tend to keep him straight. After a writing hiatus he was recently published in Decadent Review, Wild Violet, Last Leaves, Literary Heist, Cape Magazine, Young Ravens, Chiron Review, Valiant Scribe, Unlikely Stories, Yellow Mama, The Argyle, The Main Street Rag, and several dozen other journals.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Craig Kirchner and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Kremlin dream

He’s dancing alone, naked,
but with helmet and bayonet.
The music is loud, like Polka.
The ballroom is full of gawking,
pinstriped figures,
barefoot on the hardwood floor,
but he’s twirling,
too fast
to see their faces.

He bolts, ashamed,
booted now and fatigued,
down a Persian-rugged hall,
to steps that get steeper,
as his legs shorten
and the music fades.
He comes running,
too quickly
to a gold-gilded roof,

where chilled with a surge
of cool night air,
silver with smoke,
sweet with the smell of rotting meat,
the bends suck the oxygen
from the blood in his head,
leave it stagnant,
too heavy,
like limp, slaughtered flesh.

The gristle binding his bones,
melts, feigning marbling
in fine beef, pretends
it will make savory the aging,
but collapses him quickly,
to skin-dotted, full-dress bones,
open-mouthed, thick with crazed flies
too fresh,
from shaven Dachau dancers.

Dale Tushman

Dale has been a psychotherapist for over thirty years which provides her with opportunities to know how much of a kaleidoscope life is. Carl Jung says that each of us carries the collective, so her is writing an acapella chorus. She has been published in a variety of journals, a fact that astounds and thrills her. It started with letters to Santa, a big deal for a little Orthodox girl. She recently turned eighty and is hopeful her parts will allow her to continue to be amazed by this life. She lives in Brunswick, GA, a story of its own.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Dale Tushman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Diaspora Redux: Carl Jung Was Right

“The world will ask you who you are, and if you
don’t know, the world will tell you.”
–Carl Jung

I am the first iteration of relentless shtetl lineage
who escaped pogroms,
stayed in lines,
got new names,
made new lines
and chose to raise children
who did not speak a mother tongue
unless it was English.
Dayenu.

So I am 9,
and all of a sudden
my father starts living in front of the Zenith,
like it was holding the Torah.
“Are you or have you ever been…”
No blessing I know,
and I knew a lot for a girl,
according to Rabbi Shubow.
Who are these Rosenbergs?
Are they in the family?
According to my father, yes.
Those voices and faces were in our apartment
more than the cousins.
My father sat with a whiskey and a cigar;
my mother stood in the hall,
crying softly,
with her arms wrapped in her apron.
We are chosen my father says;
for what, I always asked?
Suddenly, fat suitcases appeared under the beds.
Dayenu.

I learned to live in my room
if I wasn’t in school.
I read all the time.
The Boston Globe. Nancy Drew.
I am sent to a Hebrew high school;
I debate the boys and win.
Shanda, this from my mother,
who pinches me when no one is looking,
shame on you, shame!
Who will marry you? She cries.
Do I care? I’m going to be a lawyer,
so why will I need anyone?
I ask questions. Too many,
this from the rabbi to my father.
From my father to the temple:
new windows, new siddurs,
and flowers for high and low holidays.
Do you know what you are costing?
This from my mother.
Dayenu.

My life of diversity ends in a marriage
to a Russian who speaks six languages
which he offers to Uncle Sam
who relocates us to a federal campsite
ensconced in the buckle of the bible belt
where primo condos are built in Jewtown.
(MapQuest, chapter & verse, renamed for sales).
In this America, I,
the rare bird whose six-pointed star shines day and night,
am routinely invited
to follow the light, accept the truth,
and explain any position Israel takes
as if my uncle is the prime minister.
I tend to think of it as job security.
Friends tell me I’m missing the point.
Maybe Woody Guthrie didn’t come far enough.
Dayenu.

Carl Jung and I have concluded
that here is merely a Jungian shadow.
We came without jobs,
we will always be on tour.
Perhaps I shall finally get an armband tattoo;
how nouveau of me.
Nu, so yuden, what is new?
I’m not anymore.
I had hoped some things would be finished by now,
like settlement real estate and holy wars,
inside the pale or out. We are in America,
still pushing at the barricades.
But hey,
what’s another fifty-seven hundred years in a lifetime?
A fifth question at the Seder? Who gets to ask?
Dayenu.

Daniel S. Irwin

Daniel S. Irwin hails from Sparta, Illinois.  Artist, actor, writer, soldier, scholar, priest he has been published in over 100 magazines, web sites, anthologies.  His writing is mainly irreverent underground humor.  Here he, for a change, goes serious.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Daniel S. Irwin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

So Proud

So proud, those who say
They saved Jews during

The Holocaust. And yet,
We find that the majority
Of the persecutors were the
Neighbors, the countrymen
Willing to point the fingers,
To load cattle cars, or to
Pull the riggers. But,
That’s over. It wasn’t you.
Pride tainted with shame.

Deborah Leipziger

Deborah Leipziger is an author, poet, and advisor on sustainability. Born in Brazil, Ms. Leipziger is the author of Story & Bone, published by Lily Poetry Review Books. Her poems have been published in eight countries in such magazines and journals as Pangyrus, Salamander, Lily Poetry Review, and Revista Cardenal. Deborah is a 2023-2024 Community Creative Fellow selected by the Jewish Arts Collaborative. She is the Poet-in-Residence at the Vilna Shul in Boston. A resident of Brookline, MA, she is the Founder of the Lexicon of Change, a web-based platform devoted to the words we need for ecological and social transformation. Visit Deborah on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Deborah Leipziger and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

4711

My father tells me about working in the family perfume factory in Rio de Janeiro.
How he mixed essences, glued labels on bottles, and packed crates.
There were no petals or flowers.
Essences arrived ready to be mixed: lemon with bergamot in lavender.
Alcohol arrived in drums.
My grandparents fled Germany for Brazil by boat.
My Omi Gertrude sold their house to the Nazis and left from the town of Beuthen.
People always need perfume.
Their Brazilian perfume was modeled after cologne 4711 from Koln. (4711 got its name from the street number where they made this “miracle water.”)
In the busy season, my Omi would help in the factory, quickening the process by drying the caps in the oven.
What kind of courage does it take to sell your home, with two small children, to leave your birthplace?
People always need perfume.


Note: This poem was previously published in Call Me to Celebrate, Spring, 2023.

Diana Rosen

Diana Rosen is an essayist, flash writer, and poet whose Los Angeles backyard is the 4,200+ acre Griffith Park, the largest urban green space in the country. Her first full-length flash and poetry book is available from www.thetinypublisher.com and titled “High Stakes & Expectations”. When not penning posies, she writes about spices, teas, honeys, coffees, and all things delicious. To read more of her work, please visit authory.com/dianarosen

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Diana Rosen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Past Will Be Remembered

Lucie escorts 90-year-old Colette
on a long-resisted visit to the camp
where her brother, Jean-Pierre, died.
For 70 years, Colette tried to forget
the rubble of her life:

her brilliant sibling’s unrequited life;
the stabbing of her mother’s
Why wasn’t it you?

Today, Colette walks by the detritus
of utter horror, debasement, death,
and yet … birds sing! She asks Lucie
if it’s a composition of our sorrows?
Echoes of the departed?

I don’t know, Lucie responds,
but
the past will be remembered.

To seal this intent, Colette offers Lucie
Jean-Pierre’s ring. Wear it around your neck,
feel it over your heart so that when you, too,
are 90, you can say,

I was here.

 

The heavily paraphrased dialogue of this refection is from Alice Doyaard & Anthony Giacchio’s short documentary, “Colette,” which captures a visit to the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp in Germany made with Lucie Fouble, age 17, who works at La Coupole Museum which documents French deportees to Dora. She escorts Colette through the camp where Jean-Pierre Catherine, a brilliant mathematical mind,  was murdered by the Nazis in 1945, just weeks before U.S. troops liberated the camp.

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 30 years and is a proud Irish citizen, born in Germany. Published in over 200 anthologies, literary journals, and broadsheets in USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Austria, France, Bangladesh, India, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, and Nigeria. He also writes under his penname Eadbhard McGowan.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, 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 dark butterflies of filament
do not fly away.
They stay.
Eternally, forever.
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 see the shadows in an empty hall?
Was it a sigh? A cry far away?
Where are they gone?
Above you, shuffling,
beneath you, marching,
never a response,
silence is deafening.

Love was not present,
no empathy,
hatred everywhere
grief vanished, replaced by woe.
All pleading in vain.

Did they suspect it?
Have they been warned?
Were not dark birds on the branches?
Was there no sign on the wall?

Eileen Hugo

Eileen Hugo is a poet, retired and doing all the things she loves. She lives in Stoneham, MA., and Spruce Head, ME. The Austin International Poetry Festival was one of her favorite places to listen to and read poetry. Four of her poems were chosen for the Di-verse-city Anthology. Her poem Grandfather’s Passing won Honorable Mention at the Austin International Poetry Festival. Eileen is in the anthologies Heels and Souls, Southern Breezes, and The Baby Boomer Birthright. She spent time as a Poetry Editor for The Houston Literary Review. Her poetry book Not Too Far was published in 2015.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Eileen Hugo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Humiliation of the Bathers

Look at the pile of clothes
left by naked inmates.
Those clothes were all they had left
suitcases gone, Jewelry gone, shoes gone.
Everything they brought with them to survive
slowly stripped away until naked.
See their hands reach to cover the last of their privacy
as they moved to the shower room.
Some accepted, not sure about the shower.
Some struggled sure about no shower
only to be moved along by dogs and soldiers.
The pile of clothes mounds higher
with the next group of bathers.
the shower changed to an oven
as acrid smoke filled the sky.

Elaine Mintzer

Elaine Mintzer lives in Los Angeles. Her work has been published most recently in Anacapa Review and Shiela-Na-Gig. Her work has been featured on Moontide Press poet-of-the-month page, Cultural Weekly, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Beloit Poetry Review, Panoplyzine, Slipstream Press, Silver Birch Press, Gyroscope Review, Last Call, Chinaski, and Lummox. Elaine’s first collection was Natural Selections (Bombshelter Press 2005).

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Elaine Mintzer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Run

Elsa, my father’s mother for whom I was named,
died running for her life across a field broken
with tufts of weeds churned by tank treads,
sour grasses crushed like so many unlucky clovers.
Rocks fixed in the earth welcomed her.

The sound of her body falling.
Hers for a few last moments.
A woman who would never.
Hold the child of her own child.
Whose face looked like mine.
Eastern Europe in our eyes and brows.
Who taught me how.
How to run
fast. Fast
enough.

Francesca Hunt

Francesca lives in rural Wales, close to Welshpool. She is a keen poet who has won minor competitions, been short listed for a first collection, published in anthologies and in Reach magazine. A book of her poems will shortly be listed on Amazon UK.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Francesca Hunt and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Unspoken

Hollow howls unheard against swastika tankards,
once respected, now a creed scum under click-heel boot.
Lesion cuts, experiment victims under microscope eye,
ovulation, final solution raw against breast.

Closed hearts blackened from Mein Kampf arrogance,
arteries cut, no link of soul to beat of decency.
Unclean plod silent to showers, no time for prayers.

Survivors too few; time revisited as again
the world forgets, atrocities resurge across raped globe.

Franci Levine-Grater

Franci Levine-Grater has been writing poetry since childhood. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College and has studied with the poets Alicia Ostriker, Ron Padgett, Elaine Equi, Todd Colby, Louis Asekoff, Martha Rhodes, and many others. Franci earns a living as Director of Development and Marketing at Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative, where she uses storytelling to effect equity and social justice by bringing community-driven improvements to the built environment in under-resourced neighborhoods. She believes deeply that language has the power to shape our lives and our shared world.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Franci Levine-Grater and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Holocaust 101

During the Second World War,
Nazis murdered nearly six million European Jews.
This genocide is called the Holocaust.

Nazis did not act alone, but relied on the complicity
of hundreds of thousands of people.

They used antisemitic legislation
alongside vicious propaganda
to create a culture of segregation and hostility.
Nazi execution squads
supported by local collaborators
massacred over a million Jews.
Millions more Jews were deported
to death camps and concentration camps.

Nazis perpetrated this process,
but they did not act alone. They relied on the complicity
of hundreds of thousands of people.

The Holocaust was an attempt by Nazis
to murder all the Jews in Europe
with the complicity of hundreds of thousands of people to do so.

Don’t only think of the wretched living skeletons
saved a breath from death. Don’t only think of Nazis.
Think of the hundreds of thousands of collaborators and head-turners.
Don’t be one of them.

Geoffrey Heptonstall

Geoffrey Heptonstall’s fourth collection of poetry, A Whispering, was published by Cyberwit June 2023.  His first collection, The Rites of Paradise, received critical acclaim when first published in 2020. Sappho’s Moon and The Wicken Bird followed. A novel, Heaven’s Invention, was published by Black Wolf in 2016. The Queen of Alsatia, a novella, was published in Pennsylvania Literary Journal in 2023. A number of plays and monologues have been staged, broadcast and/or published. He is also a prolific short fiction writer, essayist and reviewer. He lives in Cambridge, England.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Geoffrey Heptonstall and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

In a Viennese Café, 1938

Shadows cast in the morning light,
flicker on the window pane,
the trees swaying with the news
carried from the borderlands.
Urchins make faces, but are ignored.
An entering patron ushers them away.

The doctor’s coffee cools
as he reads of the signs of storm
when all minds will be in conflict,
and a wound in the soul opens.
Escape and exile approach
as deftly as sycamore seeds.

A dog barks in the street,
causing a horse to rear.
A woman with a basket screams,
and an old man utters a curse.
The doctor views the scene with concern.
In a pocket his passport is secure.

Glenn Wright

Glenn Wright is a retired teacher living in Anchorage, Alaska with his wife, Dorothy and their dog, Bethany.  He writes poetry in order to challenge what angers him, to ponder what puzzles him, and to celebrate what delights him. His work has appeared in Rumen, Muse, Literary Hatchet, Amethyst Review and other journals. This poem was published in Modern Literature on November 1, 2023.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Glenn Wright and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Field Trip

I am not a Jew.
I have not fought a war.
Blessed by a birth in a lucky time and place,
I have only experienced cruelty vicariously.
And so I was unready
to meet evil so intensely.
To make it worse, I was the teacher in charge
of the field trip to the Holocaust Museum.

We’d visited the website,
and read Wiesel’s Night,
But the smell of leather, sweat, and misery
in the room of stolen shoes was too sufferingly human.
Some of the exhibits
of sadistic medical tortures
were so obscene that they were placed in bins.
You had to be adult height to look down on them.

A harder test for me
Was the gallery of drawings
Made by children in the hellish camps—
pictures of brick walls in black and rust,
with, sometimes, a stick-child
or two pressed against them.
Did drawing repeated rectangles numb the terror,
a rosary of bricks instead of beads?

The hardest challenge there
was the gallery of toys, mostly broken,
furtively spirited out, or lovingly fashioned
by parents who could not otherwise give comfort
to their doomed children.
Did they lie to them, too?
Did they tell them it would all be made right?
How could they do it? Yet, how could they not?

I gathered my students
I had no words with which to help them ask
the questions that the ordeal forced from us.
I wondered whether their parents, if they knew
what their children had seen
and how they had been troubled
would flock in anger to the next school board meeting
demanding that no future class of teenagers
would be forced to struggle
and be made uncomfortable
by the bothersome truth that God, to get our attention,
lets the Devil teach the rest of us compassion.

Harriet Levin Millan

Harriet Levin Millan is the author of three books of poetry, The Christmas Show, which Eavan Boland chose for the Barnard New Women Poets Prize and also received the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, Girl in Cap and Gown, a National Poetry Series finalist, and My Oceanography. She is also the author of a novel, How Fast Can You Run, originally excerpted in The Kenyon Review. A 2023-24 Stein Family Foundation Fellow, she holds a MFA from the University of Iowa and teaches writing at Drexel University. Visit her on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Harriet Levin Millan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Green Fox Fur

(I recently learned about Frieda Neiman’s heroism upon reading an entry in the Ozeryany Yizkor Book. Ozeryany is the town in Western Ukraine where my grandmother’s family lived before WWII. Numbering in the thousands and originally written in Yiddish, Yizkor books have only recently become available in English due to the efforts of a dedicated group of translators.)


Frieda Neiman refused to give
her green fox fur coat to the SS
who burst through her door. “Better to die
in it than to let them have it,” she said.

Its ermine eyes kept watch, it’s throat,
a growl, she set it around her shoulders,
as three heavy-booted SS, raised
their pistols, dragged her between them,

so that only her toes touched ground,
and ordered her to keep walking over the thin spines
of leaves, their smell gone to musk
to a forest where other Jewish men and women

were rounded up. Some of them stood above
a pit, the earth still sweet, and others inside it,
their corpses “stacked like wood,”
a squad leader later testified.

A solider aimed and ordered her to step
on a plank and strip. As if the springs on a trap flew
open, she leapt forward, knocked the pistol
out of the soldier’s hands, fired back.

Another soldier swung his knife.
She grabbed it, stabbed him in his palm and ran
to the pine trees that crouched nearby,
waving to her with their arms open

when a pistol’s deep hollow click entered her spine.
Then she fell. It snowed all night.
Her brother Avram lay on top of the fresh
killed with the vision of his sister,


in the moment before she was shot,
wrapped in her fur, running toward the pines,
coating his body, torn at the seams, until dawn,
when he dared to take his first dazed steps.

**
Quilted, hooded, drawn in at the waist,
a fox fur hangs in my closet,
soft enough that I can stroke
the bellies and touch
the tapered hairs of the hundreds of animals
it took to make it.

Long ago, a boyfriend
bought it for me at the Goodwill to survive winters.

The immense racks filled with coats.
The screech of hangers.
The mirrors held us
as I twirled front to back
in fur after fur.

It was green, a color I had never seen
on a fur, green as sea waves
from a plane’s window and wind
and bright green crickets.

Green gone to seed,
a fallow field
ready to be sown again.

If I met you, cousin,
would we share a resemblance?

My great grandmother,
Malka Majmann,
who stood rubbing the tip
of her boot in mud,
was the only one of seven siblings
to flee Ozeryany in time.

Ozeryany, a town known for its bookbinders,
glass blowers, cattle herders, poultry breeders,
weavers, tailors, tanners, a thriving market town,
on the limestone banks of the Dniester
where fish fossils trace back to the Pleistocene.
Each time I move
I reconsider
whether I should carry it along.
Prodigal, it summons
the body’s wildness,
the material revealed.
I lift it off its hanger
and bury
my face in it.

**
The black leather cover on the Ozeryany Yizkor Book
is embossed with an eternal lamp. Painted red,
it glows from a top shelf. With a librarian’s help,
I am permitted to take down and hold,

etch with my finger and read the words
Frieda’s brother Avram, conveyed to a handful
of landschaften, in that moment when he shook
off the snow that covered him to touch

the first spring sprigs that felt like hair
connecting him to what once was: the pastures, the bending
riverbank—that moment flows
through time to me. How else to describe

keypads installed on pre-school doors.
The anger of men who smashed a hundred gravestones

at Mt. Carmel, killed eleven congregants
at a synagogue baby naming. I thought

I wasn’t being in the world anymore,
no being in the world or being of the world,

only hunted, so that space becomes a crosshair,
filled with the smell of smoke, no pretending to avoid it.

**
The library shelves shake,
the floor slopes,
the room is swirling,
ablaze in ultraviolet light.
The buttons on my blouse pop open,
my chest exposed.
My hands grow cold
to be given—what?—
the wind’s crash?,
the creak of barn
doors back in Ukraine?
I hear a sound from far
away. It’s horses’ hooves.
They sound giddy,
thudding against the earth.
The horse hooves come
closer, bringing with them
the scent of smashed
gooseberries. I panic
and fall forward. My head hits
the library table,
but I don’t feel any pain.
I’m numb all over,
like I’m about to give birth
and my perineum is stretched
so large its tearing. She is in my body.


Originally appeared in Hamilton Stone Review

Icegayle Johnson

Icegayle Johnson is the other of The Key- Poets Wear Prada -2012, TV Poems – edited by Joel Allegretti -2015, and edited Room 1408 in 2017. Icegayle has performed across the country and is published widely.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Icegayle Johnson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Holocaust Memory

I want to say I know why my father
was buried in the basement of the church
in Vilnius Lithuania…. separated from

Six brothers and sister… they migrated to
South Africa, and then to Los Angeles
the priest liked my father, so he buried him

While the Nazi came through Vilnius
he wound up in Chicago, married to my
mother, never spoke about any more then

What’s written here…. We did know he was
married, I think she came with him. In Jewish law
if after 5 years there’s no children, divorce is eminent

I remember they constantly fought, I think my father
would go to visit her… Charlie worked as a night watchmen
his boss came from Vilnius too! My father didn’t have papers

It’s always been a mystery, of how he came to this country
was Charlie Levin his real name? Why was he separated
from his six brothers and sister, why were they never close

We never knew them! They became a huge success
with a distributing business in bar supplies. In California
TRIPEL L DISTRIBUTERS was the name of the company

I left home very young and never ever knew the answer
to any of these questions, and still curious!

Ivan Klein

Ivan Klein’s most recent collection is The Hat and Other Poems and Prose from Sixth Floor Press in 2021. His other books include Toward Melville (New Feral Press) and Alternatives to Silence (Starfire Press). You can also find his writing in Leviathan, Long Shot, Flying Fish, The Jewish Literary Journal, The Forward, and in the great weather for MEDIA anthology Paper Teller Diorama. He is a frequent contributor to the online magazine Arteidolia.  He lives and writes in downtown Manhattan.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Ivan Klein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Paste-Up

— After Paul Celan’s “Conversation In The Mountains”:

………….Jew Klein meets Jew Gross amid the beauty of nature from which they are chronically veiled.
………….The poor saps have nothing to call their own in a place where they won’t ever belong.
………….………….………..Loathe the little Jew!
………….………….………..Loathe the big Jew!

………….………….……..Who don’t belong,
………….………….………..Who have nothing,
………….………….………..    Who simply offend!

Pure words green & white,
……flow from the glaciers through
………..the center of the mountains.

Pure speech not reckoned for Klein and Gross. — A journey in speech to themselves in the mountains,
…….a journey to the unloved dead
….…..in speech tried & true.

— After Rilke’s “Duino Elegies”:

….….When I had a knife & exhaled,
….….……did the angels tremble?

….…….When I smashed the mirror
….………..of my vanity,
….…………….did they vanish in thin air?


– From the Forward October 10, 2014

Jacqueline Jules

Jacqueline Jules is the author of Manna in the Morning (Kelsay Books, 2021), Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press, and Smoke at the Pentagon: Poems to Remember (Bushel & Peck, 2023). Her poetry has appeared in over 100 publications. She lives in Port Washington, New York. Visit  www.jacquelinejules.com

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Jacqueline Jules and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Where the Bread Tasted Better

At the dinner table of my youth,
Daddy scoffed at the sliced Wonder Bread
Mom brought home from the supermarket.

All his days in America, he longed
for hard rolls and rye.
“Good dense bread, not sponge!”

Every so often, I’d ask him why
he left the good bread in Europe
to live in a small American town,
without sauerbraten or strudel.

His answer was always the same,
delivered with a wry smile.
“The streets were paved with gold.”

A nice fable to feed a child.

I was in my twenties
before I understood the connection
between Hitler and my father’s
arrival in America, how his youth,
unlike mine, was marked by the need
to be one of the lucky ones, to get out
before the Nazis ruined his homeland,
where the bread tasted better
but the streets were paved with blood.


previously published in The Elevation Review

JC Sulzenko

Toronto-based JC Sulzenko’s poetry appears in anthologies and journals in print and online, either under her name or as A. Garnett Weiss. Aeolus House published Bricolage, A Gathering of Centos, a finalist for the 2022 Fred Kerner Book Award. Point Petre Publishing released her South Shore Suite…POEMS (2017). JC’s publications for children and families include a play on dementia. The Ottawa International Writers Festival, County Arts, school boards, municipal libraries, and Alzheimer societies hosted her workshops. A full member of the League of Canadian Poets, she selects for bywords.ca and serves on the Board of the Ontario Poetry Society. www.jcsulzenko.com

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by JC Sulzenko and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

No place safe

It’s a bad time to speak Yiddish,
or to admit you understand it.
Even though bagel, schmooze, chutzpah,
nosh, mensch are part of everyday vocab.

Once again, it’s a bad time to be one,
one of the ‘chosen’ people. Doesn’t matter
what kind. Doesn’t matter where, either.
Any kind, anywhere, will do.

Vilified, demonized throughout history,
never escaping scapegoat stereotypes—
rag collector, scrap metal merchant,
moneylender, taker-over of the world—

now advanced as fact, unchallenged
for what they are: cruel labels meant to
subjugate, to eradicate a belief, a people.

There’s no space for truth in the spiel
Unspooling token progress made, now undone.
Tsuris over what has been lost,
what cannot be regained.

Jefferson Carter

Jefferson Carter has work in such journals as Carolina Quarterly, Barrow Street, and Rattle. Chax Press (Tucson) published his ninth collection, Get Serious: New and Selected Poems, a Southwest Best Book of 2013.  Yesternow (Moonstone Arts Center: Philadelphia) is now available through his website: jeffersoncarterverse.com Carter lives in Tucson with his wife Connie. He taught composition and poetry for 30 years at Pima Community College.  

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Jefferson Carter and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Thin Skin

It’s not the drugs, my doctor says,
it’s my age. The slightest contact
with something sharp & my skin tears.

I’m bad as a bleeding heart, maybe
worse. I can’t finish reading this novel
about Scott & Zelda. When did everything

become so unbearably sad? Remember
when Justin Bieber visited Anne Frank’s house?
He wondered out loud, if she lived, would

she be a Belieber? Twenty years ago,
I would have mimed bashing my head
against a wall or biting my hand to keep

from screaming. Now, dressing
today’s wound, I settle for a bad pun,
Belieb it or not. . . .

John RC Potter

John RC Potter is an international educator from Canada, living in Istanbul. He has experienced a revolution (Indonesia), air strikes (Israel), earthquakes (Turkey), boredom (UAE), and blinding snow blizzards (Canada), the last being the subject of his story, “Snowbound in the House of God” (Memoirist). His work has appeared most recently in The Serulian (“The Memory Box”), The Montreal Review (“Letter from Istanbul”) & Erato Magazine (“A Day in May, 1965”). The author’s story, “Ruth’s World” was a Pushcart Prize Nominee. His gay-themed children’s picture book, The First Adventures of Walli and Magoo, is scheduled for publication. Visit John on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by John RC Potter and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Hollow Cost

As a child I heard this word: “Holocaust”
and mistakenly thought it was: “Hollow Cost”.
Then the images came across the television screen,
a documentary in black and white,
images flickering across the years,
with skeletal figures barely alive,
seemingly sexless, hair shorn, deadened eyes:
a hell on earth, a world on fire, madness.

As a young man I worked with an older woman;
she was Jewish-Canadian and one day told me this:
“Mr. Hitler took all my European relatives from me.”
As she made this statement, across my mind paraded
the ghosts of the European Jews who had perished:
the old and young and the in-between, rich and poor.

A few years later I was in in Germany, and
visited a memorial to the Jewish people.
At the exit there was a book to sign in which someone
had written in German: “Nie Wieder!” (“Never Again!”)

Many years later my professional path took me to Israel.
*Yom HaShoah! **Yad Vashem! ***Balagan (X.VII.MMXXIII)


*Holocaust Remembrance Day
**The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
***A state of chaos, disarray, and confusion

Johnny Depp

My name is Johnny Depp. I currently reside in Atherton, California. I am 24 years old, a college graduate of  Princeton University, with an MBA. I also have 3 awards for poetry competitions from my local poetry contests. I have a very strong passion for poetry. {I would have studied literature if not for my parents telling me to go into Business :)} Thank you so much!

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Johnny Depp and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Whispers of the Vanished

In the stillness of the night, a haunting refrain,
Whispers of the vanished, a symphony of pain.
Shadows of the past, a somber embrace,
Bearing witness to humanity’s darkest place.

Barbed wire and ash, the scars that remain,
Etched in stone, a testament to the slain.
Voices silenced, dreams torn asunder,
A world in anguish, torn apart by the plunder.

Tears of the lost, a river of sorrow,
Shattered lives, a bleak and uncertain tomorrow.
In the depths of despair, a glimmer of hope,
A candle in the darkness, a guiding light to cope.

Resilience in the face of unimaginable strife,
A testament to the strength of the human spirit,
a will to survive. From the ashes, a phoenix rises anew,
A symbol of hope, a promise to start anew.

May we never forget the horrors of the past,
Lest the shadows of the Holocaust forever last.
A solemn promise, a vow to stand tall,
To honor the memory, and ensure it never befalls.

In the face of darkness, a beacon of light,
A testament to the power of the human plight.
A call to action, a rallying cry,
To ensure that such atrocities never again shall lie.

Whispers of the vanished, a sacred refrain,
A reminder of the lives that were not in vain.
May their stories be told, their legacies live on,
A testament to the resilience of the human dawn.

Amidst the silence, a haunting melody,
A symphony of sorrow, a requiem for the free.
Let their memory be a guiding light,
To ensure a future where darkness never takes flight.

Joseph Caperna

Joe Caperna is a physician in San Diego, CA, spent his career dedicated to HIV. To bring compassion and caring, and listening into my medical practice, he is using poetry with his patients and their families. He has traveled over 60 years to 6 continents. These experiences inspire prose and poetry that he is starting to submit to publish. Visit him on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Joseph Caperna and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Delivering Delerium

Seeing the locals, furnaces for humans
The dark of war, the stench
 
Trucks and trains move bodies to Klepariv , Bełżec, Kleparów, and Lviv  .
Inside–delirious smells of urine, stool, vomit–

Railway to extinction.
Fog clears– on most days, witnesses watch
collecting psychosis
 
I’m hearing things in my head that make no sense today.
What about the Uyghurs in Xinjiang?  The Kazakhs, and other Turkic-Muslims?
Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Colonia Dignidad in Chile, Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba?
Immigration prisons?
Greece’s Aegean islands, Israel’s Negev Desert, in the Australian Pacific Ocean and Mediterranean.
The genocide of Cambodians and Bosnians.
Syrias Savdnaya prisons.
Lybian slave camps of refugees and immigrants.
 
Remember, not relive,
The Yom HaShoah must happen, again and again…
 
The entire world stilled, in deliberate delirium? 
Angels and kashariyots,  save us.

Joy Lebof

A child of the 60s, Joy is a born and bred Londoner. Married, she has a son and a daughter. She is currently living in a village in West Yorkshire. Her penname is Simcha Lebovitch. A teaching assistant by training and of long experience, her poetry began as a vehicle to help her pupils with their understanding of phonics. Joy’s old-time favourite poet is John Betjeman, but she has an ever expanding list of many others. However, her poetic style and voice are definitely her own. Visit Joy on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Joy Lebof and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Again!

They said “Never Again”
but not all meant it

“Context” some claimed
is key to shrieks for genocide
in universities oiled by Deceit’s tongue
where champagne Revolutionaries’ run riot
on campuses set to develop rot
students drip-fed venom’s suck
drunk on despite’s booze
minions bloated on the chaff of ignorance
scorn freedom’s precious values
as blinkered by causeless hatred
mobs are mobilized by New Nazi mentality

They intimidate innocent targets
once again ……clamour for extermination
  ….  of Jews
Ignorant chorus repeats leader’s chants to kill
and there are those who do
based on latest blood libel
the truth an inconvenience
for those who have no wish to still the thrill of rebellion

They issue call for second Holocaust
Jewish students barred from studies
Jewish tutors stopped from entry
anti-Semitic activists display murderous terrorist flags
and at America’s heart of learning
demand Final Solution

Judith Brice

Judith Alexander Brice is a retired psychiatrist, still living in Pittsburgh. Her poetry has appeared in The Golden Streetcar, Voxpopulisphere.com, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and The Annals of Internal Medicine. Judy has received several awards from The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize, sponsored by The Paterson Literary Review and has authored four poetry books: Renditions in a Palette, Overhead From Longing, Imbibe the Air, (all, published by David Robert Books, an imprint of “WordTech Communications”) as well as the chapbook, Shards of Shadows: A Covid Diary (published by “Impspired Publishing”). “A Whisper Branch” also to be published by WordTech, is forthcoming.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Judith Brice and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Questions of Betrayal

I.

For a Jew there is a fundamental question:
“How can I believe in God?”

After Kristallnacht and Pogroms,
After the Boxcars,
After the six million slaughtered,
Snuffed out by tasteless gas,
Swallowed forever by fiery furnaces—
Furnaces belching Jew-dust over sparkling German towns:
(Towns at work to expunge each final smudge of Jew),
Jew-dust to breathe, to exhale, to dust off the mantle,
Jew-dust to contaminate the air.

Was it six million?

How to count each separate shtetl
Deleted from the map?
How to know each shivering woman
Forced naked to her grave?
How to count the Jew-dust flakes
Billowing brown into smoke?

Can we ever know
Each faceless soul,
Each desperate life,
Each girl sobbing in the rain?
How can we feel her, touch her?
How can we make her count?

For a Jew there is this essential question:
“Do I still believe in God”?


II.

For a Jew there is yet another question:
“Can I believe in Love”?

Love for my neighbors,
Love for those I hate—
Members of Hesbollah or Hamas,
Now, during the bombings in Lebanon, Iraq,
And Afghanistan,
Can I feel the compassion and love I lost
After Kristallnacht
After the Boxcars
After my family was betrayed?

Will I listen now to cries of others?
Can I bear to hear their plight?
Dare I glance through rubble and see a mother in panicked fright?
Shall I bear witness to the nameless boy there crying?
Will I choose to make him count?

For a Jew there is still this question:
Will I practice my belief in Love?


III.

For a Jew there is yet the question:
“Can I believe in Light?”

A light for redemption, a light for forgiveness,
A light to shine on enemies and me alike,
To imbue each of us with hope?
For our sake, our world’s sake,
Is there space enough for each
To have a home, a life, a love?
Or must we all continue to betray,
To kill, and all be killed, and all return to dust?

For a Jew there is but one last question:
“Is there a time for God, for Love, for Light?”

——-
This poem, Questions of Betrayal, by Judith Alexander Brice was originally published by Paterson Literary Review, #32, in 2003. Subsequent to this publication, the poem was accepted as part of the permanent archives of the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, MI. It is also a poem in my first publication, “Renditions in a Palette” (published by David Robert Books, an imprint of WordTech Communications).

Judith R. Robinson

Judith R. Robinson is an editor, teacher, fiction writer, poet and visual artist. A 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. Her newest poetry collection is Buy A Ticket, WordTech Editions, April 1, 2022. Her newest edited collection is “Speak, Speak,” poetry of Gene Hirsch, Cyberwit.com 2020. Holocaust Exhibit was “The Numbers Keep Changing,” at The Pittsburgh Holocaust Center, April -June, 2019.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Judith R. Robinson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Blue Heart

For Abraham Sutzkever

The high priest
glimpsed into the
strange blue heart
of everything

and came back for a while,
wretched, walking dead, still alive.

When his beloved’s skin was shed,
one anguished layer after the other,
and all that seemed stalwart
and permanent as the rock-hard universe

simply disintegrated before his
trembling gaze—
cells melting to particulate or fat,

he was not sure—

but there, arranged once more
—just briefly—into those burning green eyes,
that set of tapered fingers!

What courage of the priest
to resist the sheltered road
the beckon to oblivion—

to choose memory over death

to keep breathing, to bear witness.

Judith van Dijkhuizen

Judith van Dijkhuizen writes about love, nature, family tensions, and World War II.  Her writings about the war are inspired by her mother’s experiences in the Dutch Resistance, when she rescued many Jewish children, taking them to safe houses under the noses of German soldiers.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Judith van Dijkhuizen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Navigating the Storm

The Nazis disbanded the Scouts and Guides because they wouldn’t join National Youth Storm, the Dutch Nazi youth organization.

She took her compass,
button-size, edged with gold,
and hung it round her neck
remembering summer camps;
sailing; laughing with the scouts.

Then the burglars came.
She scoured the London shops,
found a compass in a clover leaf
of smooth, shining jade.

She thought of her old compass,
her Guiding days.

I wear it now.
Sunlight on the water,
evening songs at summer camps,
flirting with the scouts.
The soldiers.
The traitors.
The hunger.

Her stories hang heavy round my neck.

Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca

Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca has taught English in Indian colleges, AP English in an International School nestled in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains in India, and French and Spanish in private schools in Canada. Her poems are featured in various journals and anthologies, including the Sahitya Akademi Journal Of Indian Literature, the three issues of the Yearbooks of Indian Poetry in English, among others. Kavita is the author of two collections of poetry, ‘Family Sunday and Other Poems’ and ‘Light of The Sabbath.’ Kavita lives in Calgary, AB, Canada. Visit Kavita on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Questions from a Refugee

Have you forgotten the pogroms
when I was driven out from many lands
forced to abandon my homes, my businesses?
Have you forgotten how I left with nothing?

Was I called a refugee in your lexicon
or was there another word for it?

Have you forgotten the broken glass
my home and shops destroyed
while I made plans to flee
hunted no matter where I ran?
We break glass at weddings, births
We say Mazel tov, a shout of joy
But not that night.

Yellow stars belong to the sky
I had to wear one on my arm.

Would you call me a refugee
If the river and the forest in darkness
Were the only desperate hope
Of hiding my existence?

There were no protests, no hunger strikes
When the water in the showers turned to gas
When fierce dogs tore at my heels
While I stood helpless before my God?

Do you have a name for me
Or am I the number tattooed on my arm
Which the smoke engraved for permanence?

Remember me too in your prayers
as I remember all those I watch
on the television screen
our suffering merges
No history can erase it.

Come quickly Lord
May we all find refuge in you
It’s the only place
I’m willing to live in exile.


Originally published in Verse-Virtual

Lana Hechtman Ayers

Lana Hechtman Ayers, architect of the “Severed Sonnet,” has shepherded over a hundred poetry volumes into print in her role as managing editor for three small presses. Her work appears in Rattle, The London Reader, Peregrine, and elsewhere. Lana’s forthcoming collection is The Autobiography of Rain (Fernwood Press, 2024).

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Lana Hechtman Ayers and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tonight

after watching the Holocaust film Life Is Beautiful

All the cruelties of history
are far away tonight,
though they are not,

nestling beneath our pillows
as they do,

waking with us in the scrambled-egg
and toast light of day

but tonight, neon saxophone
notes float on the wind,

juniper scented, and pearled
with moonlight,

as we walk home from the theater
under furious stars,

that for tonight
have spared us, told us

the beautiful, impossible,
nonsense story

of luck, and we believe it,
because we must if we want to
face each new sunrise.

Lee Varon

Lee Varon is a social worker and writer. She is a co-editor of Spare Change News Poems: An Anthology by Homeless People and Those Touched by Homelessness and author of the children’s book: My Brother is Not a Monster: A Story of Addiction and Recovery published in 2021.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Lee Varon and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Yellow Kitchen

Holding candles lit candles all alive
in a yellow kitchen The next moment shrapnel
encircles it costs them everything.
At least I know what happened. The others not so much…

Any moment across the night sky birthday candles
turned to ash. 45 and counting. Is this where
my long-lost relative is buried? Having survived the holocaust
finding this candle in a yellow kitchen.

I send drips and drabs of money but the old people don’t want to leave
don’t want to move to Israel. They’ve lived their whole lives by the river
the tractors in the field; they grew petunias sunflowers cabbage
potatoes. The wall gone. Bread still in the toaster. At the train station luggage

never to be claimed. Everyone thinks they’re going somewhere
Grandfather left Odessa. Going to meet Grandmother in Bucharest.

Lindsay Soberano Wilson

Lindsay Soberano-Wilson’s poem “Japanese Red Maple” from her poetry book, Hoods of Motherhood (Prolific Pulse Press, 2023) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook, Casa de mi Corazón: A Travel Journal of Poetry and Memoir, explores how her Jewish Canadian identity was shaped by travel. Recent publications include Spillwords Press, Fine Lines Literary Journal, and Fevers of the Mind. Her second book of poetry Breaking up with the Cobalt Blues: Poems for Healing is forthcoming. She is working on a memoir about being a third-generation Holocaust survivor. Find her on MediumInstagram, Twitter, or TikTok. Visit her on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Lindsay Soberano Wilson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Dedicated to the Thousands Unknown at Dachau

……….I really can’t believe what I’m seeing here. It frightens me. My senses are dull. I can’t read or talk and I’m disgusted by the lack of reconciliation or apologies or something. This camp is surrounded by churches. And the camp seems rife with pitiful apologies. Where were those apologies when you needed them? 

……….I really lost it — my sanity or something — when I saw the face of the gravestone that read, “For the Thousands Unknown.” I can’t possibly comprehend the hell on earth that took place underneath my feet. People just went on living their everyday lives, shopping there, living there, breathing there –right there behind these walls, witnessing our annihilation. 

……….There is still a smell here. Rank. A stench of gas, metal and human waste. And why there are so many strange faces surrounding me, I do not know. They act as though they’ve entered a circus—posing for pictures by the ovens. And then there’s me—re-killed. Death ringing all around me and wringing itself all over me, like a radioactive towel. Unable to wash it off until this day. 

……….There was a moment when I was walking over the pebbles where I thought, “I will not let Hitler continue to kill me.” I will tell people about what he did. And after I recited the only prayer I knew off by heart, I somehow felt lighter—more free: “Sh’ma Yis-ra-eil, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, A-do-nai E-chad.”


Previously published in Casa de mi Corazón: A Travel Journal of Poetry and Memoir (Poetica Publishing, 2021)

Lollie Butler

Lollie Butler, a Tucson “near native” teaches Creative Writing to inmates of the Arizona State Prison and Olli-UA. She joins with other native creatures; the lizard, coyote and bobcat in waiting for monsoon rains which are stalled over Mexico until July.  Lollie is a winner in the Robert Frost Foundation Award and is published in several literary journals, including RATTLE, CHIRON and others.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Lollie Butler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Haunting, 1938

It was my first counted year on this planet,
one war had crashed and lit the night sky with its exit,
another was waiting to take the stage. Hitler, the bad shepherd
was leading the flock over a ravine, the scene framed in red rain,
when a blade of lightening slashed through the railing of my crib

and I saw with skin-peeled eyes the millions of grey bodies
standing in a rain of showers, cleansed to the soul,
turned to smoke signals across the world’s sky,
and there wasn’t room in my mouth for the scream.

Awake or dreaming as I was, I saw the blood-baptized ground,
where footprints of the naked followed boot prints
to rail cars, to ovens, to potter’s field.

Too early in my life for fetal words to find my tongue,
of telling and questioning those who stood like walls
beside my crib. I would wait years until news
proved my night haunt, until the blanket of faith in humankind
was torn from my shoulders.

But I saw them; bodies walking, men and women, children
grey in the rags of their skin, grey in their desperation,
if only I could speak of it to those about me;
those humming, breathing shadows in the early light,
hovering above me, blinking like distant planets,
if only my tongue had taken steps to speak,
of the march of spirits lined along my walls, shuffling
forward across my little room,

entering and departing through the walls of my little room,
their eyes overrun, hands hanging empty, shaved heads
reflecting weakest light from the windows,
ears blistered with boiling sirens,

if only you had seen them; spirits made of smoke and bone,
slogging by my nesting crib, my mother’s rocker
in the corner, creaking in its woodeness, back and forth in time
with footfalls of the masses plodding through my little room,

 

2.

moans and screams crashing through the ceiling,
carried from raven to darkened tree and roosting there
as the masses dragged their shadows on,
death, the stubble growth on men’s chins,
and the bloodied milk in women’s breasts.

Out of the small Polish towns, Czech villages,
out of France and Germany’s own, they came
out of the gates of ignited factories, from the firelight of families,
with babies in arms or locked in their wombs,
out of the dark-windowed houses in ghettos
onto the rigid streets under threat, under fire
under the panther’s claws,

if only you had seen them, marching, limpid, leaning
toward homes raped, leaning toward defiled Temples
with glass-smashed windows, leaning and falling on bloodied knees,
mothers, fathers, children limping along bare streets, witnessed
by jeering neighbors, without papers, without passports,
without favored birthrights, with stars on their chests—stars!

From the present into the remembered past,
branded numbers on their arms, reaching through
the barbed wire of years, reaching toward mercy, if only
you had seen them, dragging their doomed bodies
like frozen farm animals, like stars fallen from their own constellations,
all humanness pruned away, locking the pounding doors,
blinding the watchful windows in the early morning siren’s wail,
thudding boots on the stairs, falling into plodding lines,
railway cars, to starvation camps, from earth to ashes
to ghostly spirals of smoke above us.

If only you had seen them.
If only I had not.

Louise Moises

Louise Moises, a resident of Richmond, California, is a graduate of San Jose State and an award winning poet.  Her works have been published both online and in print by High Shelf Press, A Gathering, California Quarterly, Write Launch, Suisun Valley Review, among others. Her first chapbook will be released in August by Finishing Line Press. Louise enjoys both writing and performing poetry.  Her featured reader performances can be viewed on Youtube. Retired and widowed, she enjoys traveling solo with her cat in her 23-foot RV, exploring places that inspire her poetry.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Louise Moises and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

At the Legion of Honor

A bright day in San Francisco, no fog evident.
I take a break from viewing the art
at the Legion of Honor Museum,
the fine photographs of Irving Penn,
an exhibit of Fashions from a Century past,
to stroll the path along the rim of cliffs
overlooking the Golden Gate.
A crisp wind washes the sky
into a gleaming blue, the distant bridge
glows with pride, the ocean beyond sparkles.
In and out of the shade of Monterey Pines
I wander feeling blessed by the day,
when I come upon the stone-faced man
staring out beyond the barbed-wire barricade,
one hand upon the brutal wire,
behind him a pile of chalk-white bodies
discarded in an obscene array,
bodies thinned by starvation and abuse,
awkward legs and arms.
I stand stunned by this painful,
grey and white memorial to the Holocaust
in stark contrast to this bright afternoon.
I am swept into the history, the tragedy,
the inhumanity, unable to hold back
the tears, the gut-wrenching pain,
visceral and real.
I stand with the silent victims,
while a gull circles above
crying and crying.

Mark Mansfield

Mark Mansfield is the author of four published poetry collections. His most recent collection is titled Greygolden (Chester River Press, 2021). His poems have appeared in The Adirondack Review, Anthropocene, Bayou, Canary, The Fig Tree, Fourteen Hills, The High Window, Iota, London Grip, Magma, Measure, Obsessed with Pipework, Orbis, Panoply, Peacock Journal, Potomac Review, Sarasvati, Skylight 47, Star*Line, Vita Poetica Journal, and elsewhere. He has been a Pushcart Prize nominee and is a retired musician. Currently, he lives in Geneva, New York.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Mark Mansfield and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Herr Rosen

Bear my contempt of oppressors. . . .
Be against all forms of oppression.
―Ezra Pound

6,000,000 was a number
that awed me as a boy
at school, watching a film
where skulls were stacked like toys.

But what part of me never
worked through Arbeit macht frei,
or heard Anne’s playmate, Kitty*
till Mister Rosen’s eyes?

He lived in the same building
as I did in LA
when I played punk, and hatred
fed off my naiveté.

He’d see me coming in
dressed in black and steel,
wearing a swastika,
a puppet to shock appeal.

He always said “hello”
when we passed upon our stairs.
Or shopping at the market,
he smiled. I sneered, or glared.

One day I needed something―
a screw that I had stripped,
trying to force my amp’s
grounding switch to flip.

Wandering down the hall,
I knocked upon his door,
then mumbled why I’d come,
as if speech were a chore.

He asked me to come in,
offering a glass of juice,
while he got a cigar tin
where he kept old bolts and screws.

Some secrets bury lies.
Some secrets bury truths.
Herr Rosen witnessed both,
marked by a crude tattoo.

Yes, I noticed his,
darkly smeared from years.
Then saw within his eyes
the source of all time’s tears.


* Anne Frank referred to her diary as her friend “Kitty.”

Martina Robles Gallegos

Martina was born and raised in Mexico and came to the United States at 14. She earned a Master’s degree from Grand Canyon University after a near-fatal hemorrhagic stroke. Her works have appeared in the Altadena Anthology: Poetry Review 2015, 2017, 2018, Hometown Pasadena, Spirit Fire Review, Poetry Super Highway, Silver Birch Press, OpenDoor Magazine, The Bloom, OpenDoor Magazine, Central Coast Poetry Shows, WFWP: Poetry Festival, Canada, 3Q Anthology, Basta! and more recently, in the award-winning anthology, When the Virus Came Calling: COVID-19 Strikes America, published by Golden Foothills Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Martina Robles Gallegos and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

How Can the World Forget?

When screens are covered with dismembered bodies,
how can the world forget about the tragedies of the past?
When world leaders continue to destroy their neighbors,
how can the world heal from the wounds of the past?
How can the world heal when humans don’t admit their mistakes?
Why do leaders continue to massacre innocent lives?
Where are the leaders who love their people and country?
They seem to have forgotten about their oath of allegiance
to protect, defend, and respect the rule of law.
Who will look after orphaned children whose parents wars
took away?
How many more dreams will wars destroy?
How many more young men will die before leaders will realize
they are not worthy of young men losing their lives for egomaniacs?
Why must mothers bury their sons who fought against
their neighbors and under the guise of deceit?
Who can forget shallow mass graves shown daily on tv screens?
How can people defend themselves against tyrants who
care only about their own personal interests?
The world now lives under the illusion that only the elite
can control and buy justice, and that is what reality is.
The world cannot remember a happy past when there’s
so much evil seeping out of every crevice of the earth.

Mary Anne Abdo

Mary Anne Abdo is an author, poet and photographer. She graduated magna cum laude from Luzerne County Community College with a degree in Human Services. With a background in freelance journalism; she uses her poetry as a source of creative expression.  Her self-published poetry book, “Fractured Lollipop Poems of Brokenness Healing and Hope is now on Amazon. Mary Anne lives in Pennsylvania. Visit her on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Mary Anne Abdo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Markings

Human branding.
Like cattle in a pen.
Shocked to see photos of human beings,
bulldozed into a skeleton dirt pit.
Images from an eighth grade,
library book.
Being accused by older classmates,
it was my faulted German decent,
that my family and I killed Jewish people.
Tears streaming down my red face,
uncontrollably crying all the way home,
after school to my mother.
Asking why humanity is so,
so cruel.
Crying and praying for the Jewish people.
Wondering how many of my newspaper route,
customers lost,
family members,
friends,
and neighbors.
Wondering if they were tortured,
or marked with numbers.
Reading The Dairy of Anne Frank,
my fourteen year-old self,
and Anne loved our families.
We loved to write.
And we were trying to understand,
our adolescents.
I was safe.
Anne was not.
That was forty-six years ago,
and I still cannot fathom hate,
that is steeped in a person’s entire being.
Remembering those cherished,
lessons on the eastside of Scranton.
Contemplating the gorgeous lives lost.
Because of human being’s ethnic birth and faith.

Mary Mayer Shapiro

Mary Mayer Shapiro lived in Covno Cabania, Lithuania. Mary has two children. Her Siblings, Myron (Mike), Abraham, Jake and Freida came over to America. When Mike came, he changed Mayer to Meyer. Mary’s children would not have known this. During WWII, Mary and her children resided in the concentration camps. After the war, my Aunt Sally wrote the Red Cross in hopes that they were still alive. The Red Cross could not find them. Maybe, someone reading my poems would recognize the name. Let us hope for a miracle.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Mary Mayer Shapiro and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Assassins For Hire

To eliminate
To get rid of
Without getting
Your hands dirty
Iran, Iran, Iran
Supporting all the terrorists
First the Jews
Then the Christians
Who will be next
Human life will
Have not meaning
Heads thrown here
Arms and legs cast about
We all cannot
Think alike
We need diversity
Of religion
Agree to disagree
We must come together
To rid the world of terrorism

Melissa Mendelson

Melissa R. Mendelson resides in upstate New York in Chester.  She is a horror, dystopian and science-fiction author. She is also a poet. She self-published a sci-fi novella called, Waken along with two collections of short stories.  She is also the author of the prose poetry collection, This Will Remain With Us published by Wild Ink Publishing. Visit her on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Melissa Mendelson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Mental Health Is Breaking 

My mental health is breaking, 
saturated with the violence on the television set, 
blind stampede, stomping to the beat, 
Hate’s hands clapping with their attempts 
to scream and shout who is wrong and who is right, 
but underneath it all, lies the Hate. 
They don’t care who was taken. 
They don’t care who is now dead. 
They don’t care if they win, 
and we let them win 
because no one is doing anything but watching. 
There are no peaceful resolutions. 
There is no peace. 
There is only the path that if we continue to follow, 
let them lead us with Hate circling around, 
another Holocaust will be lived. 
Maybe, that’s why my mental health is breaking.

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.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Michael H. Brownstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Gift of A Saved Torah

The Torah was smuggled out of Warsaw
by a NAZI officer who hated what Germany had become–
it made it by foot and car to France and plane to England
and somehow to America where it landed in the Midwest.
When the officer’s act was discovered,
he was executed on the spot and the Warsaw Ghetto
found itself barb wired in, behind great walls,
and all deliveries were blocked. The people
were left to starvation and neglect. 
Many sickened, many died.

The sun came out.

People began to live again growing herbs for medicine,
boxed gardens on rooftops and window sills,
a vast array of vegetables, edible flowers,
blossoms, nuts, seeds and a great many fruits.
What was once weeds became veggies..
Though milk became a luxury, calcium came from pigeons,
chickens and rabbits and the sun graced everyone
with large doses of Vitamin D. Life grew better,
the Torah safe, and the people began to fight back
everyday thanking God for helping everyone thrive.

Nina Glueckselig

Nina Glueckselig is originally from New York now living in Cleveland, Ohio.  She studied writing with Frank Bergon at Vassar College, with Luis Urrea at the Harvard University School of Continuing Education and has participated in Larissa Shmailo’s Writing Resilience Workshop since 2020. Two of her works, “Confessions of a Hoarder of Beauty” and “Julius the dog” will be published in the Writing Resilience Anthology later this year. Her subjects include being the daughter of Holocaust survivors, mental health, motherhood, art, fashion, and food.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Nina Glueckselig and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Ancestors

They stand behind me.
From a different world
of cafes with coffee
served on silver trays
with a small spoon and
a glass of tepid water.
They walked around the
Ringstrasse in Vienna on Shabbat.

I stand on the dusty landing.
outside my grandparents’ door,
Glockengasse Eins.
I sense them like I felt my father’s
spirit whoosh through me after he died.

My grandmother made cholent replete with
beans, grains and potatoes.

If I could travel back in time and
see my aunties and uncles,
cousins and grandparents,
we would light the Shabbat candles,
sip wine, tear a piece of challah
and eat it with butter.
I would tell her how delicious the cholent is.
I would thread my arms through theirs
in bulky coats, wool caps
scarves
and gloves
and take that Shabbat walk.

They tell me
you can go back
to your life of writing, painting,
making jewels,
playing with your dog,
watching Netflix with Bill,
sitting with Audrey and her family
at a table with luscious turkey
stuffing, mac and cheese, asparagus, brussel sprouts
and tart cranberry sauce.
Pies and a blue birthday cake
with butter powdered sugar frosting.
.
We are in you.
You are never alone.
You come from us.

Partha Sarkar

Partha Sarkar, an Indian, born in 1967, lives at Ichapur near Kolkota, writes poems to protest against human’s oddities.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Partha Sarkar and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The sublime radiation and the precious suffocation

The opening bell. The syringe. Takes the smoke the debris out of the long silence.
The poster boy with a spell of rain in the salty sultry museum
And the first fire of the postman:
Have you met another tent fleeing from lunatic congested death?
Nods head the polar bear.

The changing face of the butcher.
The hollow death. The legal adviser at the end of the long silence.
The heated cooperation between two rubbishes by the army.
Have you met the ghoul in the urn?
Resignedly moves the new holocaust.

The new holocaust- the clamor of the development.
Flee the green embryos and the open concentration camp
And the election – the democratic business.
But should there be no propaganda to be sandwiched before postmodern promiscuity?

The hazy horizon. The hazy holocaust. Suddenly everything gets clear-
Holocaust is here, holocaust is there, holocaust is then, holocaust is now…

Patrice Wilson

An expat from New Jersey, Patrice M. Wilson lives in Mililani, Hawaii after a career as instructor and professor of English at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu. Her poetry has appeared in many literary magazines, in three chapbooks (now out of print), and in one full-length collection, Hues of Darkness, Hues of Light (available at Amazon). In addition to writing and reading, she also enjoys teaching a student from the Ukraine, leading a monthly poetry group called Live Poets Society, walking, crocheting, making jewelry, and listening to music.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Patrice Wilson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Dead

“Nazi”
echoes
“Not-see,”
horrific
blindness,
blind guides
leading the sighted
to earthen
abysses,
voids, chaos
that Ruah hovered over
to convert–

but a black-hole
darkness lingers,
hardens hearts,
sends souls
into fire–
theirs,
not ours.

Should someone
send the black-souled
to the River Jordan
or the Pool of Siloam
to cleanse
their mortally
morbid vision,
rub spittle-moistened
clay onto
their eyelids
for a cure,

they would
still refuse it,
these not-sees,
they who die
completely,
thoroughly,
unspeakably
in the dark–
alone.

Richard Widerkehr

Richard Widerkehr’s fourth book of poems, Night Journey, was published by Shanti Art Press, which will also bring out his next book, Missing The Owl, in the fall of 2024. His work has appeared in  Poetry Super Highway, Atlanta Review, Midwest Review, Writer’s Almanac, and many others. An editor at Shark Reef Review for twelve years, he lives near Bellingham, WA.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Richard Widerkehr and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Burning Horse: Beast Of Mercy

When a certain horse of amber resins fetches
this message from our past: cut grapes of wrath,
divide the spoils: This is justice? asks the horse.
You grope blind reins, burn bridges at both ends,
leave us in the middle. We serve you well
with our strong flanks, keen withers, yet you beat
us like mules: you cannot see our haze-green eyes
of flame are speaking: may our coats of roan
unsay this message, the ice in your mothers’
in your fathers’ sacrifice: you leave us
burning, unhoused, and alone.


Written after the Hamas attacks on October 7, 2023

Rifkah Goldberg

Rifkah (Rita) Goldberg writes poetry and aphorisms, and is a long-time oil painter. She has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Cambridge University and worked as a freelance writer and editor. Born in London in 1950, she has been living in Jerusalem since 1975, has two sons, twelve grandchildren and six step-grandchildren; and is married to the writer Shalom Freedman. Visit Rifkah on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Rifkah Goldberg and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Never Again?

Growing up in England with a kinder-transport father
Who last saw his parents at the age of twelve
Sent a telegram by his older sisters who made Youth Aliyah
To say Kaddish for his mother taken out of her bed
From a Vienna hospital and killed by the Nazis in 1941

And with a mother who lived throughout the war
In Alba Iulia with her parents and siblings
Half their home commandeered by Nazis
Her family had to go into hiding several times after
Her father the Chief Rabbi was questioned and beaten

Vowed that I would make my life in Israel
Where my children as proud Jews
Could build safe and secure lives and
Defend themselves against all harm
And my dream largely seemed to come true

Rationalized away cruel terrorist killings and difficult wars
Convinced that the Holocaust belonged in my parents’ generation
Until I was rudely awoken over six months ago
And once again we appear to have no idea how to get out of
“Never again” that has become “ever again”

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro is the author of Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster). Her essays have appeared in The New York Times (Lives), Newsweek, and more. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and once for Best of the Net, her poems and stories are published in such places as The Hollins Critic, Permafrost, and The Indiana Review. She lives in Niskayuna, New York. Currently, she teaches writing at UCLA Extension. https://rochellejshapiro.com @rjshapiro

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Visited

“We’ll take care of the guinea pig,” my kids promised.
Within days, we bought Googoo, a cage, a maze,
and alfalfa hay to grind down his teeth.

Visited upon me were the chores
of cleaning his cage, taking Googoo to the vet
to get his ever-growing teeth trimmed
because he refused to chew the hay.
All day my ears filled with Googoo’s
wheeks, chuts, and whines.
How long could a guinea pig live, anyway?

Then my husband’s uncle, Bernard, visited
from Israel, Bernard who joined the resistance
as a teen, was rounded up, and sent
by rattling cattle car to Auschwitz
where Dr. Mengeles removed his left kidney
for no reason, with no anesthesia.
Bernard sat on our couch cradling Googoo,
laughing as the guinea pig nuzzled
against the blue numbers tattooed
on his forearm.

Googoo gave him such joy.
What gall I had to complain!

I cried when Googoo died.

Ron Kolm

Ron Kolm is a contributing editor of Sensitive Skin. Ron is the author of Divine Comedy,  A Change in the Weather, Welcome to the Barbecue, Swimming in the Shallow End and The Bookstore Book: A Memoir. He’s had work in And Then, The Café Review, Gathering of the Tribes, Great Weather for Media, Maintenant, Live Mag!, Local Knowledge, NYC From the Inside, The Opiate, the Poets of Queens, The Red Wheelbarrow, the Riverside Poets Anthology, The Silver Tongued Devil anthology, Sparring With Beatnik Ghosts Omnibus and the Brownstone Poets anthologies. Ron’s papers were purchased by the New York University Library.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Ron Kolm and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Death is a Soldier

What he really is
Is a middle-aged guy
Wearing camo,
Who reads a lot of books
On military history and dreams
What the World would be like
If Hitler had won the war.
He sits in a neighborhood bar
Hunched over a vodka tonic
Watching TV.
Every time he looks up
At the screen
Something happens:
China sends warplanes
Flying towards Taiwan,
Russia invades the Ukraine
With a hundred thousand troops,
Trump opens his mouth.

Death nods knowingly
And continues to drink
As these disasters occur
In real time.
Even as he stares
At his now empty glass
And wonders whether
He should order another,
His mind is skimming
Over a list of the living
And whenever it stops
On a name that person
Gets instantly infected
With COVID.

This is hard work, he thinks,
Yes, I’ll have one more —
I’ve earned it!

Ruth Holzer

Ruth Holzer (Herndon, Virginia) is the author of eight chapbooks, most recently “Home and Away” (dancing girl press), “Living in Laconia” (Gyroscope Press) and “Among the Missing” (Kelsay Books). Her poems have appeared in Southern Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, Slant, Poet Lore and Freshwater among other journals and anthologies. She has received several Pushcart Prize nominations.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Ruth Holzer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Survivor

She prepares a festive dinner every evening,
sets chairs around the dining room table

for the family she never saw again.
Every night she hears the soldiers’ boots

and their voices storming through the wall.
Every morning she throws the food away.

Sandy Rochelle

Sandy Rochelle is a poet, actress, and narrator. Her poetry has appeared in, One Art, Wild Word, Dissident Voice, Connecticut River Review, and others. She lives in Englewood, New Jersey.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Sandy Rochelle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Refuge

The wandering spirit.
The homeless.
The stateless.
The silent and heroic.
Make yourself at home in me.

The Undertaker.
The undertaker prepares the ground big enough to bury the stars.
It is for the unnamed.
You cannot bury the soul.
The vultures watch, but do not comment.
They know the names of the uninvited.

Sarah M. Prindle

Sarah M. Prindle received an Associates 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 her work published in several literary magazines and websites.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Sarah M. Prindle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

One Woman

When she was rounded up along
with over 1,000 others
that day in Rome,
she might have wondered who among them
would live
and who among them
would die.
How would she have felt
if she had known
that the other women
in the cattle cars with her
would perish?
How would she have felt
had she known
all these mothers, sisters, daughters
would die
while she alone
would live?
That of sixteen survivors of the roundup,
fifteen would be men
and she, the only woman?
No one can imagine the horror of it all,
the utter annihilation
the unanswered questions
that this one woman
might have asked:
How? How many?
How is this possible?
How could this happen?
Why did this happen?
Why?
No one can answer these questions,
but we can honor this woman
this survivor
by not letting a Holocaust happen again.

Shai Afsai

Shai Afsai lives in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition to fiction, poetry, and playwriting, his work has focused on the writings of Thomas Paine, Zionist historiography, “the bride is beautiful but she is married to another man” stories, Jews and Freemasonry, Benjamin Franklin’s influence on Jewish thought and practice, religious traditions of the Beta Yisrael community from Ethiopia, Jewish observance and identity in Nigeria, aliyah to Israel from Rhode Island, Jewish pilgrimage to Ukraine, Jews and Irish literature, Dublin author Gerry Mc Donnell, Judaism in Northern Ireland, Jewish-Polish relations, and Micronesian perspectives toward Israel. Visit Shai on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Shai Afsai and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Holocaust Education

And you shall be an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword amidst all the nations where God will drive you. —Deuteronomy 28:37

Are there other parables like this, our catastrophe, that came to us from their hands? There are no other parables (all words are shades of shadow) —Uri Zvi Greenberg, “We Were Not Likened to Dogs”

History has vanished. —Alain Finkielkraut, “The Religion of Humanity and the Sin of the Jews”

After 80 years
it is apparent Jews have been mistaken.

We thought that educating Gentiles about the Holocaust
building museums to be toured
creating curricula for study
designating an International Holocaust Remembrance Day
would make them realize the astonishing horror their animosity wrought
and might protect us in the future from their viciousness.
 
Instead, by encouraging our national catastrophe
to become a moral history lesson for the rest of humanity
we handed our enemies another weapon with which to harm us
an addition to their vast arsenal of hatred heaped up over two millennia—
a new accusation and new denunciation.

The charge has by now
been pronounced so often
for so many decades
and with so much symmetrical certainty
that its perfidy—
the lie Jews have been doing to Arabs
what had been done to Jews in Nazi Europe—
no longer shocks as it should.
 
This prevailing parallel 
of the paradigmatically persecuted, dispossessed,
and oppressed
turning into the ultimate persecutors and dispossessors
oppressing others—
is at once an attack
a defense
a wish
a reflex
on the part of those even slightly hostile to us.

Vengeance and honor and security are for others.
Our role in the story is to be defenseless
hunted, homeless and slain. 
And if we reject that role
we are offered only one substitution:
to be equated with our torturers in Nazi Europe.

Some simply cannot resist proclaiming
this against Jews. The proverb is too perfect:
the victimized become victimizers;
the abused become abusers.
Others leap at the chance.
It cleanses the palate
so that their forebears’ failings seem less sour
and current animus toward Jews is not in bad taste.
And then there are those for whom the Holocaust imparts hope
that if it happened to Jews
less than a century ago,
something similar can be carried out against them again
even more successfully
in the not-so-distant future—
and no one need feel bad. Lesson learned.

Sheila Lynch-Benttinen

Sheila Lynch-Benttinen is a poet who lives in Duxbury, Massachusetts and has been published in several journals and on Haikuniverse. She is a 2024 Pushcart Prize nominee and has degrees from U.Mass Amherst and Harvard University.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Sheila Lynch-Benttinen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Innocent

what would Anne Frank say about
children caught in war?
she speaks from the beyond

the lesson of the Holocaust
should be
to not target
one people
one culture
and
never the innocent
children

lessons from the beyond
from
Anne
that we have
yet to learn

Susan Beth Furst

Susan Beth Furst is an award-winning haiku poet and Children’s picture book author. She is the founding editor of  Word on the Street Haiku, and a certified ukulele teacher and aficionado. She lives in Fishersville, Virginia, in the Shenandoah valley, where she and her husband dance to the music of cicadas, and try to number the stars … You can find Susan on Instagram @sueshaikus and @wordonthestreethaiku. Visit her on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Susan Beth Furst and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Wigs

porcelain dolls …
under the tree human hair
so beautifully braided

Susan Olsburgh

Susan Olsburgh has lived in Netanya Israel for 13 years. She taught Literature and British Culture in colleges and universities in the north east of England. Her parents escaped to the UK from Nazi Germany in 1938. Susan was president of Voices Israel from 2015-20. Now she coordinates the Netanya/Sharon group. She has also served on the editorial team of the Voices Israel Anthology. For 13 years Susan has facilitated a poetry appreciation group, Poetry Please, for Netanya AACI. She has published two volumes of her poetry and been published on PoetrySuperHighway, Cyclamens and Swords and Voices anthologies.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Susan Olsburgh and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Wandering Wayfarers

Do you feel yourself still to be German?
“The Nazis drove the German out of me,”
my elderly Father said to the newspaper journalist.
Yet we were always the Germans.
“The German ladies can make the salads,”
the bazaar chairman blithely said.

Now here in our own land
we are the Anglos-
food, lifestyle, passions, teams.

They left behind the horrors but
Dr Oethker, sauerkraut and punctuality remained.
Nostalgia for Schwazwalderkirsch torte
was more real than English beer or porter.
Cutlery table settings, soup spoon shapes
divulged origins as much as accents.

Here it is expected that you have roots from elsewhere
and oddly, ironically, we are the Anglos;
our British politeness, attitudes and lifestyle shows.

Tamara Hattis

Tamara Hattis is a poet and collage artist in Redlands, California. She has been published in Ghost Town Literary Magazine,The Deaf Poets Society, Incandescent Mind by Sadie Girl Press, Cholla Needles Magazine, Wordgathering, and Pile Press. She was most recently published in Lit Angels. Hattis published Colors of My Pain, her debut collection of poems, in 2019. Her work is also featured on her website Tamilani.com and she can be followed on her Instagram page @tamarahattis.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Tamara Hattis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

I, the Ashkenazi Jew

I am the original witch.
I am the witch you were taught to hate.
I am the reason for all bad things.
I am the enemy.

I am the witch you were taught to hate.
I am the witch you cannot kill.
I am the enemy.
My horns are hard to see with my untamed hair.

I am the witch you cannot kill.
I eat your babies and children.
My horns are hard to see with my untamed hair.
I give you cancer by poisoning your vegetables.

I eat your babies and children.
I give you cancer by poisoning your vegetables.
I hide a hairy magical one that makes me immune to alcoholism.
I can’t get drunk on anything but my own power and evil.

I am the original witch.
I am the witch you cannot kill.
I am the reason for all bad things.
Have you ever seen a witch brown bagging her liquor, drinking herself to death?

I am immune to Covid and the Black Plague,
both of which I brewed in my cauldron,
dark and infectious as mosquitos.

The plague mask was modeled after my own harsh beautiful beak.
My horns are hard to see with my untamed hair.
I plagued the wells.
I can’t get drunk on anything but my own power and evil.

I am the witch you cannot kill.
I lured Hansel and Gretel into my gingerbread house.
Gretel trapped me in the oven, but I dodged it.
The plague mask was modeled after my own harsh beautiful beak.

I am the original witch.
I control the news, the lies, every aspect of your lives.
I am the reason for all bad things.
I can’t get drunk on anything but my own power and evil.

I am the witch you cannot kill.
I control the news, the lies, every aspect of your lives.
I plagued the wells.
I dodged all the ovens.

I brewed Covid and the Black Plague in my own cauldron.
I dodged all the ovens.
I am the reason for all bad things.
I control the news, the lies, every aspect of your lives.

Thea Iberall

Thea Iberall is an author and poet, and volunteers for the Jewish Climate Action Network which works to add a visionary Jewish voice to the climate crisis. Her book of contextual poems, The Sanctuary of Artemis, traces the roots of patriarchal domination. Thea’s poetry has been published in anthologies and journals including in Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust. Her ecofeminist novel, The Swallow and the Nightingale, is about a 4,000-year-old secret brought through time by the birds. A teacher and scientist, Iberall is an inductee into the International Educators Hall of Fame. She lives in Dedham, MA. Visit Thea on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Thea Iberall and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Keeping the Ground

At the New Jewish Cemetery, he cuts the grass,
tends trees, wears a baseball cap
backwards; the sun gets hot under the maples and poplars.
He smokes a Sparta, uses a wheelbarrow
or a motorized cart when there is lots of grass.
He drives along the path, past Leopold Pick 1866-1928,
Adolf Schulz 1867-1938. Does he think, how lucky
these people were, long lives, no torture?
He passes the 1950s, the 60s, the 70s.
He passes the 80s, he passes the 90s. People are still dying.
Anna Antonova 1908-2001.
Even a grave ready for Eva Povoridrova born 1943.
Does he worry whether the cemetery will fill up?

At the east end, the stones lean off,
tired, near the ground, covered in ivy.
An impenetrable word peeks through.
Olga Camperlikova 1878-1942 — Oswiecim
Erich Schild 1930-1944 — Oswiecim
And Ida Mermelsteinova’s daughter, Juditha — Oswiecim

And there his task ends, a pile of grass by the wall, brick
and peeling. He pours the new cuttings over the old
though he knows compacted living material combusts.
When archeologists dig up these graves, what will they think
of the word — a disease perhaps — stamped
on the stones of the young and the old?
When they discover a handful of ashes,
will they say the grass exploded?

Oswiecim is the Polish name for Auschwitz

Published in: Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust (ed. Charles Fishman), Time Being Books, 2007

Forthcoming in: The Auschwitz Poems, 2nd edition, Adam Zych (ed), Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

Tina Hacker

Tina Hacker, a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, was a finalist in the New Letters and George F. Wedge competitions, honored as a Muse by The Writers Place in Kansas City, MO, and twice was chosen as a top ten contender in Poetry Super Highway’s national contests. Tina’s full-length poetry book, Listening to Night Whistles, and chapbook, Cutting It, have been joined by a poetry collection titled GOLEMS and published by Kelsay Books. Tina lives in Leawood, KS, and won a Clarion award in 2023 for her work as poetry editor of Veterans’ Voices magazine.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Tina Hacker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Unaccented

 “Greenhorn, popcorn, five cents a bag.”
Pearl didn’t understand the taunts she heard
at recess, at lunch, on the walk home.
Twelve years old, new to the Illinois farm
so unlike her village in Hungary with a name
these kids couldn’t pronounce, full of sounds
that bumped against each other
like clowns tumbling out of a tiny car.
 
 “Talk American, Ya gotta talk American,”
the kids teased. Within a year the words she learned
could fill her family’s farmhouse.
Maybe Pearl had perfect pitch,
maybe her resolve
equaled the fierceness of the horse
that snapped at her father when he put on the harness.
 
She bit her childhood inflections out of every syllable,
sliced Yiddish and Hungarian plosives from her words,
spit out the foreign tones until all were lost.
Any trace of accent gone, good riddance.
Unlike her cousins who shared a berth
with her on the boat fleeing Europe,
who spoke with rhythms and nuances
that exposed their origins,
she was American.


First published in Cutting It.

Tova Snitzer

This is Tova’s fourth time participating in Poetry Super Highway’s Holocaust Remembrance Day collection.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Tova Snitzer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

One Heart

There you enter a full room
Newcomers to a vast and ancient group
Have a seat next to Ari, Kim, and Ziv
Among those who will be first to rise

Between Tree of Life and Kehilat Yaakov
There is a minyan
Read from the Torah
That we received on Har Sinai
The beginning of the Sinah
That we shall always face
Until the end of days
When only love remains

Vincent F. A. Golphin

Vincent F. A. Golphin’s poetry collections include 10 Stories Down and Like A Dry Land: A Soul’s Journey Through the Middle East. Currently, he teaches and writes in Orlando, Florida.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Vincent F. A. Golphin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Holocaust

Indifference burns white hot
then sears to hatred, blind
to pain, suffering and injustice
that yields Shoah again and again
to those who are different in
faith, skin color, beliefs,
a lesson that remains unlearned
libraries chronicle the dying,
the fears that are spread
the way neighbors become alien
victims are reviled for the
destruction and disruption
for too many people names disconnect
Treblinka, Auschwitz, and dates
like Oct. 7, 2024, fade like morning
mist, depths of evil melt into
memories unattached while
everyday begs us to forget
the Nazi horrors, Middle Passage
Wounded Knee or Rwanda,
wherever and whenever
human harden and the soul melts
in white hot indifference
alibied by hatred and lies

William Heath

William Heath has published three poetry books: The Walking Man, Steel Valley Elegy, and Going Places; two chapbooks: Night Moves in Ohio and Leaving Seville; three novels: The Children Bob Moses Led (winner of the Hackney Award), Devil Dancer, and Blacksnake’s Path; a work of history, William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest (winner of two Spur Awards and the Oliver Hazard Perry Award); and a collection of interviews, Conversations with Robert Stone.  He lives in Annapolis.  www.williamheathbooks.com

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by William Heath and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Simple Story

When the one-eyed SS officer
comes to take away her son,

the woman pleads with him
not to do it. He says she can

keep her precious child if she
guesses which of his eyes

is the artificial one. She
correctly selects the left

and is right. When he asks
how she knew she replies,

“That one looks human.”
He smiles, takes the boy.

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