'Do Not Ask': a poem to mark Holocaust Memorial Day
Today – 27 January - is Holocaust Memorial Day. The Holocaust Memorial Trust (HMDT) encourages remembrance in a world scarred by genocide, remembering the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution and in later genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 27 January marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.
Write Out Loud has chosen to share this poem via the Holocaust Memorial Trust today. It was written by Avram Schaufeld, who survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, and died in 2017. It is published with the permission of Avram's wife, Vera Schaufeld.
DO NOT ASK
Do not ask
How did you survive?
Because this is a question that causes me pain
and brings back memories …
I know that you mean well and are sympathetic
and would like me to talk to your youth group
or your son who is writing a paper on the Holocaust
and I could help him with the subject which is part of his exams.
You add with a smile, that no amount of reading is the same
as talking to a survivor.
From your eager expression I can guess
what you expect me to tell him.
About our bravery and how our faith in God
helped us to survive.
I lie and say I am too busy
that I have other commitments
and quickly take my leave and turn away
So that you cannot see the hurt in my eyes
Do not ask me why …