Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Holocaust Poem of the Day: Painfully Numb

“Sometimes I think that my front door is about to open and you will come storming through, and then I am depressed because it was all just a fantasy.” – Hertha Feiner

The Snow flowed
across broken stones,
churning above the rails
with every turning wheel.

Nail heads tore at
the soles of her shoes
as she was slowly
pushed up the ramp.

She was the last to
walk through
the cattle car doors.

Winter drifts jolted the car
around every turn –
she remained on her feet;
one of the few who could stand.

Gripped in her chapped
palm, the pill began to
dissolve in labored sweat.

Thoughts of her daughters
slowed her lips but her
tongue refused to mourn.
With disturbing comfort,
the pill slipped down her throat.

Before the last bitter breath
massaged her lungs,
she regretted not writing
one more letter.

The capsule exploded like
a shattered fountain pen.

As flakes of ice and ash swirled
in the breaths of parched whispers,
Mütterlein lay confined in
sleep’s final iron embrace.

About Hertha Feiner

Hertha Feiner was a divorced (from a gentile) mother of two daughters, Inge and Marion. She was a teacher in a Jewish day school in Berlin before the Nazi’s came to power and taught until she was forced to work elsewhere (she was later assigned by the SS to type the deportation lists). Feiner’s passion was teaching her students but her love was for her daughters whom she had sent to boarding school in Gland, Switzerland (Les Reyons) to save them from the Nazi’s inevitable atrocities. Hertha wrote to her daughters as frequently as she could – many of these letters were collected in the book Before Deportation: Letters from a Mother to Her Daughters: January 1939 – December 1942 (Northwestern University Press: Evanston (IL), 1999). Feiner committed suicide while on a train making its way to Auschwitz.

No comments:

Post a Comment