Friday, April 29, 2011

Holocaust Poem of the Day: Sabbath Gassing

“I went to the pillar near which the girls had talked to me. There I found the girl Yana who had asked me to take off her necklace and give it to her lover as a last keepsake. She lay where she had said she would. I took off the necklace, pocketed it and left the room.” – Filip Müller

They walked through the doors
with their right hands raised
looking to brush their kissed fingers
against the mezuzah that was not there.

The showers were used in solitude.
No guards in the room.
This was their time to destroy silence.

The sun set with the
latching of the double doors.

The Sabbath greetings began.
“Shabbat Shalom!”
Voices repeated,
muting the constant echoes.

The dialogue ceased as
the air became thick and
their bodies remained dry.

The pipes did not
flush with water –
they hissed with gas
as the screaming began.

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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