Tag Archives: Yom Hashoah

Standing in a Boxcar at the US Holocaust Museum

by Mel Glenn (Brooklyn, NY)

The walls seem so barren here.

     I cannot see the sky.

The car is standing still.

     We have been riding for two days.

I am alone in a cattle car.

     I cannot see my father.

I can step out at any time.

     Bodies are pressed against me.

I am in the Holocaust Museum.

     I am in a concentration camp.

I took a shower this morning.

     I am ordered to take one this evening.

Later I will go out for lunch.

     I haven’t eaten all day.

My parents are back in New York.

     Where are my little sisters?

I am 75 years old and retired.

     I am fifteen years old and scared

Nothing really bad has happened to me.

     Please, what will they do to me?

I am alive in Washington, D.C.

     I am dead in Auschwitz, Poland.

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 the YA anthology, This Family Is Driving Me Crazy, edited by M. Jerry Weiss.

If you’d like to learn more about his work, visit: http://www.melglenn.com/

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Filed under American Jewry, European Jewry, Jewish, Jewish identity, Jewish writing, Judaism, poetry


by Nina Gold (Waterville, ME)

On Holocaust Remembrance Day,
Yom Hashoah in Hebrew,
he told her he was human
he understood what it was
to fear long walks, gas, and G-d—
but he felt, too, the hot terror
in the shoulders of a bare-faced teenager
wearing a uniform starched by his mother,
taught to hate, given orders, and handed a gun.

All the while, she was gathering things:
a few shirts, underwear,
sewing jewelry in the hem of her coat, snatching
sacred photographs and stuffing them
into hidden pockets. Just as he finished talking
about how organized religion was the man-made cause
of nearly every war and nearly
everyone’s hatred,
she slipped away and could never reply
that in this case, yes, religion was
inextricably bound to death, to

Those who gave their lives

but Hitler had nationalism in mind.
When she disappeared, his heart
shattered like glass.
He raised their children Jewish.

Nina Gold was raised in Newton, Massachusetts and is currently a student at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

She says that she wrote about the Holocaust because she’s interested in young people’s relationship to anti-Semitism.

“Some students I know see anti-Semitism as a real, contemporary issue—something that has a place in their lives—while others consider it foreign or anachronistic. When I hear Jews my age say, ‘I’m not really Jewish,’ or ‘my parents are Jewish, but I’m not anything,’ I sometimes fear we may be our own worst enemies.”

You can read more of her work on her blog: http://minibeastspeaks.blogspot.com

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Filed under Jewish identity