Holocaust memorial

Museum of the Art of the Children of Terezin, Prague

[Terezin (Theresienstadt) was a Nazi concentration camp outside Prague where  Jewish artists and intellectuals (and many children) were sent]

Memories of the Children of Terezin.

Dogs.

Flowers.

Hopscotch.

Barbed wire.

Gestapo.

Poems.

Ricordi dei bambini di Terezin.

In the adjacent synagogue

Two German boys with earrings

And cutoffs sing close harmony.

Their sweet adolescent chant echoes

In the women’s galleries.

No kites or balloons here

But those imagined or remembered;

Childrens’ games obscured by

Distant clouds.

Beautiful young students,

The language of Goethe and Hegel

On their lips, bright, fresh-faced,

Pass through thickets of gravestones

To see the dead childrens’ art.

Trinnerungen an die kinder von Terezin.

Barbed wire encircles the

Ancient brick walls;

77,000 dead;

tears on stone;

sunlight through glass

on

hopscotch,

a kitten,

children lined up for food,

games never played,

lives never lived.

Les memoirs des enfants du Terezin.

The shamefully beautiful scent

Of jasmine blooming,

A funeral cortege,

Stark floodlights,

A yellow star;

Neither blood nor carnage,

Only the long shadow

Of the distant smokestack.

Memories of the Children of Terezin.

Sleep, children, whisper the echoes;

Dormi;

Schlaf, meine kinder;

Dormez-vous.

Remember, children, sing the birds,

Ricordi;

Trinnert, meine kinder;

N’oubliez jamais.

Peace, children, whisper the leaves,

Pace, bambini,

Shalom,

Friede,

Paix.

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