In Memoriam

My being is engulfed in deep sorrow. The loss of my dear sister Selma Is very hard to swallow.   I am trying to digest the loss, The sadness, pain and tears Which follow. . . . I am trying to reverse this By remembering our growing up together And listening to classical music On the Victrola, Needing winding And changing the recording, We did not bicker What to play We liked the music anyway. It made me remember How we took care Of each other In the Holocaust.   How we enjoyed being alive and hearing that we were free! How we tried...

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A Prayer for Answers

Again and again I reminisce About my life. How can I forget the pain and the degradation which was perpetuated in terrible transgressions upon my soul, my body, and the very depths of my being, causing me horrendous strife in my life. How many years Have gone by And I still miss The ones I loved And lost, Not only that I lost them— But how they died! They murdered them In their prime– And I still Love them All the time! And I have New ones to love And cherish. I cannot forget The ones I loved And lost, And I still mourn And—O, God— I...

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Memories: Auschwitz-Birkenau

Dear God, You let me come To the twilight of my life– This, my life. . . . How many detours I walked— How much pain and suffering I endured. How much pain and suffering Of others My eyes have seen. How many screams I witnessed Of the horrible Agony of dying!   How I prayed to You Not to let me die In this undescribable shame. You heard my prayers And pleading, and, By Your grace, I survived again Against all odds By Your mercies. What a carnage!   God, why did You Let it happen? How can we atone For our sins, Restore our...

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Who Does Not Want to be Perfect?

Perfectionism as a personality trait may have many causes, but only Jews have their tribal history as justification. Rather than power, our neurotic aspiration is towards a semblance of perfection so that we will be endured, accepted, loved. Not by God, but my our neighbors. I myself am helpless against it. Hatred of the Jews had been growing in German soil for long centuries before I came to be, a weed among weeds. Hitler came to power in 1933, when I was barely two, so it is not stretching the truth to say that I grew up knowing that Jews...

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A Good Death

When my mother died several months ago, I was aware of both sadness and a selfish concern over the inevitability of my own death. As I watched her slip away towards the end of a long dying, I saw not my mother, but a corpse struggling to breathe. When at last she lay in morphine-induced sleep, she was fragile and thin, bones I never knew she had protruding sharply from her chest, framing her chin. Her chest heaved slightly with the effort to bring air into her lungs. I saw no other motion. She lay quiet, her body still, her hands finally...

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