Book of the Holocaust

She pulls the Book that Grandma gave her

From the shelf, the one Grandma started

And gave her to keep and remember

She flips past the carefully sealed and protected,

Yellowed and faded newspaper pages

About Hitler and the horrors he did to the Jews

And the gypsies

And the handicapped

And to Grandma

About what people are doing now to celebrate the liberation

And never forget what atrocities happened to six million innocent people

For twelve long years

She turns over the pages about the publication of ­The Devil's Arithmetic

The United States Holocaust Museum

And the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, just completed

Slips in the newest addition to the Book

An article about music in Auschwitz,

Where they kept Grandma

About musicians celebrating the liberation

Sixty years ago

When Grandma was freed

Their work is controversial


Even appalling to some

"To play beautiful music in the horrid halls of Auschwitz?"

But the music can shatter the

Silence that people thought necessary

When dealing with something like the Holocaust

It can undo the exploitation of music

As prisoners were

Forced to play day and night

As their brothers, as their sisters,

As their fathers, as their mothers

Were sent off to death

She closes up the Book

And goes downstairs to prepare

To go to the synagogue


Without having to worry

Or hide her faith

Sixty years after

Grandma was released.

I wrote this for a competition sponsored by the Holocaust & Genocide Studies department of a local university and thought other might be interested in reading it. Hope you liked it!