Arbeit Macht Frei

by Sarah Lamstein (Newton, MA)

Too weak for work
I go to the showers.
Death cradles my skull like Leah,
who stroked my thin hair
on a barrack’s shelf.
Skeletal, she picked at lice.

Leah, I am clean.

“Arbeit Macht Frei,” a poem from Sarah Lamstein’s new poetry chapbook Breathless (, was submitted in response to Janet Kircheimer’s Jewish Writing Project post on her film about poets’ responses to the Holocaust.

Sarah Lamstein’s children’s books include Annie’s Shabbat and Letter on the Wind/A Chanukah Tale. She lives in Newton, MA.




Filed under European Jewry, poetry

3 responses to “Arbeit Macht Frei

  1. Sarah, I am honored that my writing has inspired yours.

  2. Thank you, Janet and Jacqueline both, for your inspiration.

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