One Holocaust Movie Too Many

by Mel Glenn (Brooklyn, NY)

How many times can you see
the broken bodies piled high
at Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen?
How many times can you stare
into the vacant eyes of prisoners
crammed into three-tiered bunks?
How many times can you cringe
at the frightened people wedged into boxcars?
Apparently there is always room
for one more picture of piled shoes,
pajama-clad skeletons, empty suitcases.
I say this sitting comfortably
at a cafe in a Jewish neighborhood
where I can see a young man
wearing Sandy Koufax’s #32 baseball jersey,
knowing that the world seems safe – for now,
knowing, too, that I do not hear the awful trains
rumbling towards their final destination,
except in a generational memory
never to be ignored or forgotten.

The author of twelve books for young adults, Mel Glenn has lived nearly all his life in Brooklyn, NY, where he taught English at A. Lincoln High School for thirty-one years.  Lately, he’s been writing poetry, and you can find his most recent poems in a new YA anthology, This Family Is Driving Me Crazy,  edited by M. Jerry Weiss.

If you’d like to learn more about his work, visit:


Filed under American Jewry, poetry

2 responses to “One Holocaust Movie Too Many

  1. I lived in Germany for almost 20 years, married a German and had a German child. I learned to speak German fluently enough to make a living translating it. Part of the time I lived in Berlin, where the Holocaust was as prominent and as invisible as the billboard over the subway station that you never notice. The rest of my time there I lived in a small town in Bavaria, about an hour’s drive from Hitler’s mountain sanctum called the Eagle’s Nest. In Berlin, I couldn’t understand how the Holocaust had happened. In Bavaria, I learned – from an old woman whom I sat across from at a farmer’s market open-air cafe. She struck up a conversation with me, noticed my accent and asked where I was from. When I replied, “Amerika,” she was amazed that I could live so far from home. “I once went on vacation,” she confessed to me, naming a town about 20 miles away. “But I didn’t feel comfortable there. It wasn’t my home.” For this woman, who was probably a teenager during WWII, sameness was life’s sole comfort. Difference was the threat. In the end, I couldn’t stay there any longer. I didn’t go home myself, because I can’t anymore, but I went to the closest thing I could find. It’s a place where difference is not only not threatening, it’s one of life’s thrills. I thought I could live anywhere, but I was wrong. For too many Germans, there have been too many Holocaust movies.

  2. Mel, I am not Jewish but so admired your post. I have not seen all of the Holocaust movies, I avoid them on purpose. My heart breaks and I don’t sleep for days. But I did happen to see Sarah’s Key; a wonderful piece dealing with France’s treatment of the Jews. Yes, if broke my heart but I don’t regret a moment of the beautiful movie. It showed no violence, very little death, no concentration scenes. Just truth, a truth I never even knew. That, in and of itself, was horrid beyond a minds comprehension. This past must be remembered always … by everyone. Thank you for sharing. I invite you to read one of my posts, View from a (non)Jew.

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