Holocaust Survivor

Marked, by Stephen Herz

(For Anita Schorr)

at nine

you wore the yellow star,

the Star of David

that marked you Jew,

marked you for the cattle car,

marked you Terezin, for Bergen-Belsen,

marked you for Auschwitz

where you lost your name

for a number--



will the tall chimney roar?

will it belch its stench red and black?

ill you go to the showers

that aren't showers?

will you stand without falling

through the long appels?

will you avoid the dogs, the Kapo's blows?

will they take your number

at the next selection?


a girl of fourteen

you say you're eighteen

like your mother tells you,

hiding your undeveloped body,

slipping out of Mengele's hand,

out of Auschwitz

into Hamburg slave labor,

a red stripe down your back,

the errant bomb burying you,

the German soldier

pulling you out, befriending you,

giving you half his sandwich

every day


until the day the cattle car dumps you

into Bergen-Belsen,

into the living dead, the walking dead:

and the flesh of the dead

some are eating

before the British are coming,

and you tell yourself:

I'm going to make it!

willing yourself to survive,

to bear witness

for all of those who lost their names

who lost their lives

simply because

they were marked

like you:



Holocaust Survivor

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