Click on the pictures to see enlarged versions of the images.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Scrawled in Pencil in a Sealed Railway Car

(The Refugee by Felix Nussbaum, 1904-1944,
German-Jewish Expressionist painter murdered
at Auschwitz)

Today marks the anniversary of two very significant events in the twentieth century. This was a century “when evils were most free,” as the Hungarian writer George Gabori titled the account of his life in both Hitler’s and Stalin’s camps.

The first event took place on November 9, 1938, when Nazi Germany exposed to the world its true intentions. That night, Hitler’s thugs destroyed many synagogues and Jewish businesses in a
progrom that came to be known as Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass, after the shattered glass of countless windows they left behind.

The second event took place only 21 years ago, on November 9, 1989. That day, television cameras showed the world the hundreds and then thousands of East Germans climbing the Berlin Wall into the West, into freedom. The Iron Curtain was finally torn asunder.

To commemorate these anniversaries, I have chosen two poems written by men who witnessed first-hand the horrors of these twin lunacies, National Socialism and Communism.

Today’s poem, marking the anniversary of the first event, was written by Dan Pagis (1930-1986), a Romanian-born Israeli poet, who survived the Holocaust by escaping from a Nazi concentration camp in Ukraine.


here in this transport
i eve
and abel my son
if you should see my older son
cain son of man
tell him that i

No comments: