Archives for posts with tag: Holocaust

hall of faces, holocaust museum
Walls
by Shelly Blankman

Dedicated to the family of my grandmother, Regina Wallenstein, and the millions slaughtered by the Nazis while the world turned a blind eye.

I’ve walked these halls before,
seen the dimmed faces of those
born to die because they were Juden,
Jews.
Time-tattered images of people
frozen in time, matted on walls
like cheap paper.
Flammable.
Disposable
Eyes of the innocent open.
Eyes of the world shut.
Now I’m left wondering,
in a world once again
infested by
parasites of hate,
if this could ever happen
again.
We cannot forget
those who now live
only on walls.

Previously published in The Ekphrastic Review.

PHOTO: The Tower of Faces — photographs of Holocaust victims — at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (Photo by D.S. Dugan, used by permission.)

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) is the United States’ official memorial to the Holocaust. On Nov. 1, 1978, U.S. President Jimmy Carter established the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, chaired by Elie Wiesel, a prominent author, activist, and Holocaust survivor. Its mandate was to investigate the creation and maintenance of a memorial to victims of the Holocaust and an appropriate annual commemoration to them. On September 27, 1979, the Commission recommended the establishment of a national Holocaust memorial museum in Washington, DC.  Nearly $190 million was raised from private sources for building design, artifact acquisition, and exhibition creation. In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan helped lay the cornerstone of the building, designed by architect James Ingo Freed. Dedication ceremonies on April 22, 1993 included speeches by U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli President Chaim Herzog, and Elie Wiesel. On April 26, 1993, the Museum opened to the general public. Its first visitor was the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

PHOTO: The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC, with the Washington Monument visible on the right. Photo by Timothy Hursley for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When my family visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC a few years ago, I felt like I was walking in the shadow of my grandmother, whose  parents and siblings had been murdered by the Nazis. They were trapped in a world of hatred, where Jews suffered, were punished, and died for being Jewish. This haunts me even more now, as we see an escalation in this country of anti-Semitism, racism, and every other form of hatred that results in despair and death. I left the museum after about three hours. It has never left me.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelly Blankman and her husband are empty nesters who live in Columbia, Maryland, with their three cat rescues and one dog. They have two sons— Richard, 36, of New York, and Joshua, 34, of San Antonio, Texas. Shelly’s first love has always been poetry, although her career has generally followed the path of public relations/ journalism. Her poetry has been published by First Literary Review, Verse-Virtual,  and The Ekphrastic Review among other publications. Recently, Richard and Joshua surprised her by publishing a book of her poetry, Pumpkinheadnow available on Amazon.

hansel-and-gretel
In the Schwarzwald
by Lawrence Schimel

They take her brother to break her pride.
Gretel tears splinters from the barracks bed
to still the hunger that gnaws inside.

Through the iron gate, past the words:
Arbeit Macht Frei, she watches guards
throw loaves of bread to the birds.

Not even famine can make barbed wire
seem a candy house she could devour.
The guard tells her: Child, climb into the fire.

Gretel tells the guard: Show me how.
But the witches were not fooled so
easily in the camps at Dachau.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “In the Schwarzwald” is part of a sequence I’m writing, using that same title as the title for the series, using the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm as the lens through which to explore the Holocaust, both arising from the same Dark Forests of Germany.

IMAGE: “Hansel and Gretel” by Kay Nielsen (1886-1957).

Lawrence Schimel 2014

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lawrence Schimel (New York, 1971) writes in both English and Spanish and has published over 100 books as author or anthologist, including two poetry chapbooks in English, Fairy Tales for Writers and Deleted Names (both from A Midsummer Night’s Press), and one poetry collection in Spanish, Desayuno en la cama (Egales). He has twice won the Lambda Literary Award (for First Person Queer and PoMoSexual: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality), as well as the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Spectrum Award, and other honors. His stories and poems have been widely anthologized in The Random House Treasury of Light Verse, The Random House Book of Science Fiction Stories, The Mammoth Book of Fairy Tales, Chicken Soup for the Horse-Lover’s Soul 2, The Incredible Sestinas Anthology, Weird Tales from Shakespeare, and many others. He lives in Madrid, Spain where he works as a Spanish->English translator.

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Silver Birch Press is pleased to announce the May 22, 2014 release of Black Shroud with Rainbow Fringes: Poems 2010-2013 by Paul Nebenzahl.

“In this impressive gathering of fifty poems, Nebenzahl discovers long-lost relatives that were displaced from World War II and the Holocaust. In this unearthing, Nebenzahl finds himself questioning his past and present to imagine a new future in elegiac dimensions. These expressions intertwine and mediate language as a process for divinity, humor, and truth. The poetry excavates with humanity the trauma of the unexplained and the mystery of creative response as an authentic gesture from the human hand and heart that is writing.” KAREN FINLEY

“Look for the rainbow fringes. At such bright speculative mind-trip edges in these poems, one finds polka dots and moonbeams, the summer of hate, dad’s whiskey spittle on the lapel of a National Guardsman, poems written on A&P bags, Mingus, ice and madness, Freaky Jerry, red diaperism, fly-or-die panic, and people miraculously wearing love like heaven. The whole book is a dreamarium. In a world of jingles written like lead bullets, Paul Nebenzahl’s poems stand generously to oppose them.” AL FILREIS, Kelly Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania, author of Wallace Stevens & the Actual World.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Nebenzahl is a writer, musician, and painter who lives in Evanston, Illinois, and Sleepy Hollow, New York. As a performing multi-instrumentalist, and composer, Paul has created works for film and television, and has performed extensively in theater, stage, and club settings. In 2012, Paul’s poem “Gusen Station” was published in English, Italian and German by the International Committee for Mauthausen and Gusen. His poem “Charles Bukowski” appears in the Silver Birch Press Bukowski Anthology (2013) and “Here’s to the Singer of Songs” is featured in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology (2013).

Find Black Shroud with Rainbow Fringes: Poems 2010-2013 by Paul Nebenzahl at Amazon.com.

Cover art by Paul Nebenzahl