Arbeit Macht Frei

Another re-post but I thought while we’re remembering the fallen of various conflicts …


Arbeit Macht Frei

There is the sun.
Still yellowed and faded by the smoke
but there it is
pale in the white sky.

They are here
and does it matter
that they have come too late
for the Cohens and the family Leiberwitz
or Kaufman and Morgenstern,
they are here.

Sarah Stern still breathes
in desperation
raises one skeletal hand
in salute
but the soldier turns away
and cannot look.

We hang our heads
we cannot meet their eyes.
It is wrong to look into the eyes
of the victors
this is the lesson of the day.

And what is free
and what does freedom mean.
A scab, picked from a festering wound
is free
but leaves the septic puss
embedded in the tissue.

The soldier sees our nakedness
and we see his naked pity
Which is more revolting.
Are we to blame for our lack of courage.
Sheep can only bleat
but when the axe falls are silent.

Is there respite?
Those who survived
who turned up their ragged sleeves
to show the numbers to the cameras,
who took the chocolate bars
and did not see the shame
in the soldier’s eyes
will never know
cannot believe that they survived
to tell their story
to a world that has long since
become deaf.

And on another day
will the soldier’s grand children’s children
see the hermetically sealed remains;
the hair, the limbs, the false teeth and the spectacles
and will these generations yet to come
understand, without the smell
the cold, bring them only in winter,
the bitter, sad sounds.

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critique and comments welcome.

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2 Comments on "Arbeit Macht Frei"

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Potleek
Member

Chrissy it seems that one generation past the memories are short lived.
Some don’t believe it even happened.
My Dad was at Belsen when they removed the commandant from his position.
I remember the photo’s he brought back and one story in particular that he told.
Yes the stories have to be told over and over again so it never happens again.
But politics is a strange game, it was then and still is…enjoyed the read…Tony

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