History is not historical beyond the last instance
Life is happening
History is just outside your reach
the Nazis didn’t happen and then end
in history some nationalist Nazis were defeated in WWII
But Nazis- they didn’t stop happening
They were still Nazis
As a jewish boy the hum of the vow to “NEVER FORGET”
it was in the breeze
in the way we locked our doors.
fades to lower case
then even more
as if a thousand holocaust films would remind us
any more than a grecian urn
NEVER FORGET what exactly?
That there is such a thing as a Nazi?
That people are capable of such atrocity?
That it will happen right before your eyes while you are driving thru Starbucks?
– what would you tell us to do RIGHT NOW?
I was around 10 years old when all of the students at my reformed synagogue gathered in the auditorium for a screening. It was the first time someone told me what the hum was about. The first time I saw a gas chamber. An oven. A mass grave. The yellow stars. Striped pajamas. Piles of starved bodies of my people. The film ended and we were dismissed. There was no discussion. Our parents were waiting outside the auditorium. This is where the discussion was intended to continue. I don’t remember much about that drive home, except that now I knew, and now I was never to forget.
© December 2022