Saturday, May 7, 2011

Holocaust Poem of the Day: Liberation

“It was, incredibly, a complete anti-climax. This moment, on which all my thought and secret wishes had been concentrated for three years, evoked neither gladness nor, for that matter, any other feelings inside me.” – Filip Müller

Behind the barbed wire web,
the dead looked more alive than
those who clutched to the fence
with their bruised and bleeding hands.

Rot, feces, ash, and dust
suffocated the stench
of diesel fumes billowing
from the Sherman tanks.

Polish, German, Yiddish,
and Hebrew pleading bled
into the ears of the terrified
and appalled liberators
who could do nothing more
than torture the Jews. 

The soldiers searched one another
for any food they could find –
fresh, frozen, or otherwise.
But before the morsels could be
passed to cracked lips
the allied doctors rushed
to barricade the camp saying,
“Too little food and they die!
Too much food and they die!”

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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