Saturday, April 30, 2011

Holocaust Poem of the Day: Rachmones III

“It took some time before I began to realize that there were people lying there at my feet who had been killed only a short while before.” – Filip Müller

Their pressed uniforms
stood out like blood on
a veined marble head stone.
The ash and snow mixed
under their feet. Each soldier
weighed more than two
or three prisoners combined.

Tissue stretched taut between
bones – he no longer knew
how people could still be alive.
The line between life
and death began to fray.

Singed with the scent of silence.
Pink skin now gray ash.
The smell of blackened flesh
turned his barren stomach.

After months of touching
the hands of the dead
he began to envy those
he saw gasping for air.
He wished it would be over.

He could no longer remember
what fresh air tasted like.
The air would forever remain
dry and thick in his lungs –
this is what it is like to taste sorrow.

Haunted by the whispers only
G-d was meant to hear.

When he was younger,
he used to be afraid
to go to sleep; now
he was afraid to wake up.

About Filip Müller

Deported from Sered, Czechoslovakia, Filip Muller (#29236) worked for three years as a prisoner in the “Sonderkommando” in the gas chambers and crematoria of Auschwitz. Every day he saw the flames extinguished of many, now forgotten, candles. Frequently writing notes about his experiences, Müller spent years after his liberation trying to educate all those who would listen to his account but he did not compile and publish his testimony until 1970 under the title Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (Ivan R. Dee, Publishers: Chicago (IL), 1979). Müller has lived in Western Europe since 1969.

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