The query: “At Auschwitz, tell me, where was God?”
And the answer: “Where was man?”
― William Styron, Sophie’s Choice
I have lived my life haunted by
The demons of the past, that dark sky
Of Auschwitz- those whistles at the crack of dawn
Mournful, menacing, trying to warn
Each one of us alive that we could be
The next ones to be bailed out of misery..
Since I was spared from the gas chamber
I have lived my life seething with anger
At all of you- perpetrators of those crimes
Where was your conscience at that time?
Were you not an ordinary human being like me?
What made you participate in such a monstrosity?
Oh I know you were supposed to be hypnotized
By your “charismatic” leader, but did you realize
Your role in the widespread carnage then-
There were massacred six million women and men..
I wonder how you wake up every day
And face yourself, how on earth do you pray
To your God- do you also see what I see
In my nightmares, albeit differently?
Do gas chamber for “G” and Zyklon for “Z”
Come to your mind automatically?
Have you contemplated your role
In those crimes, all the innocent souls
Put to rest prematurely while you still live
I wonder if you have an apology to give..
I was quite certain I would not forgive
You, enemies of humanity, as long as I would live
But, as death knocks on my door, I am inclined
To drive away the anger from my mind-
Also with time the understanding has come to me
That while I wake up each day grateful to be
Alive- I know I bypassed death narrowly
You are denied that privilege obviously
A raging insomniac probably you are
Tormented by memories of the world war
And your being complicit in murders of masses
At the end of the day, we both have losses
In another world we both could have been
Ordinary, well-adjusted people, and never seen
Or participated in such heinous deeds
I have scars, but you have guilt indeed
I forgive you finally, no longer do I resent
You, your guilt is a punishment sufficient..
(I have been profoundly moved by the Holocaust and descriptions of the Auschwitz concentration camps. Therefore this poem about a Holocaust survivor who forgives the Nazis on her death-bed.)
2 thoughts on “Forgiveness”
Auschwitz is the shame of the human civilisation.
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Agree- I cannot wrap my head around how it happened- how could six million people be exterminated at the whim of one deranged individual?