University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
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CHGS

Fourteen Stations Poems

Auschwitz-Birkenau

now the serpent:

I will bring back
their taskmasters
crazy & mad

will meet them
deep in the valley
& be subdued

separated in life
uncircumcised, needy
shoes stowed away

how naked they come
my fathers
my fathers

angry & trembling
the serpents
you have destroyed

their faces remembered
small in your eyes,
shut down, soiled

see a light
take shape in the pit,
someone killed

torn in pieces
a terror, a god,
go down deeper

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Gross Rosen

& naked there among
the swarming things

we saw them
in the dung

bright spots
bright spots

that she did stare at
& would see them burn

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Babi Yar

he was angry
& smelled
like the righteous

slew
the clean & pure
ran over them

& they went down
before us
faint

& streaked
the bars
along the way

increased & multiplied
before our eyes
their place

spread far & wide
was like my spirit
& my word

that made you see

Text by Jerome Rothenberg

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Bergen-Belsen

1

gates
round about me

I knew
& you know

& she had compassion
(alive)

a carcass
a carcass

& a dancing
carcass

2

& I will kill
the fat
& the fat ones

the wicked
the he-goats
your mistress

conceived
like a coat
& torn off

like the twenty
those you ran over
& numbered

& like those
I will kill

Text by Jerome Rothenberg

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Belzec

of those who had escaped
the children foremost,
he would take on as witnesses

*leave me to drink
*among the goats
*that you may eat & be eaten

*when life becomes a terror
*your strength against the children
*& her children blotted out

Text by Jerome Rothenberg

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Chelmno

1

A Chorus of Children:

we dreamed
& he changed
an armed man
but delicate
driven,
someone who touches us,
touches
our thighs,
strips us naked,
to wound us,
a fugitive,
evil,
aggrieved,
who punishes,
slays us
at evening

2

A Chorus of Survivors:

the word
that you feared
like hail
on the mountain
& feared
what would cause it to shine,
to be seen.
like her belly,
like hooks,
like the wheat
on our altars,
all will be eaten,
will not be
a sacrifice
there with the nations,
but a curse
in her womb

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Treblinka

the voices, thunders
& the voices
of our kin
that they will bring in
from the top

the kingdoms gathering
to kill us
& you will wave
o Israel
& will submit yourself

& I will set apart
the sum of them
the thunders, voices
& the thunders
I will watch & will take heed

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Maidanek

1

a thing
spoken
speaks in me

I see
the spoken
thing

a word
hail
pestilence

& from your face
a curse
is poured out

& a bone
is set in motion
spoken

in disgust
to see
the one who speaks it

2

a foreigner,
you say,
the dew like blood

her city
broken
empty for her sake

has blessed you,
seed of them
I will pursue

& you will say
in blood:
leave me alone

Text by Jerome Rothenberg

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Sobibor

1

as he had spoken
from the wilderness:
be fruitful!

(& they were fruitful)

so he could blind them
with a fist
& cut them  --

& she could take from them
the vision of
his cities

2

a skin
harp
& a boil
 
according to its words

how blind
& evil
like its skin

your words
erased

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Mauthausen

your camp
brings me
the war
that bore you

made you inherit
the plague,
your children
torn from you.

your hands that spawned
the offspring of
the nations
a stone against them

from my hand,
my hand against them
& a plague
between us

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Buchenwald

deliver me
from them

your cattle
rising

your assembly
lords of fat

deliver me
from color

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Dachau

heart
dim
& sore

his hands
slow
& heavy

& so he looked,
his glory
weeping

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Stutthof

the evil water
in my dream

has emptied out
their cities

like my mouth
a hole

& in the blood
they burn

they turn them
into smoke

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Ravensbruck

1

in my name she placed
an offering of dust

an offering of graves
where she lay empty

desolate, lay guilty
for her pleasures

in my name, the lamb
approaching

placed the basin
at her neck

throughout your generations

2

For Rachel, twice

she turned aside,
I thought
the weed, the thorns
wounding my thighs

& when they came
& carried her away
he gave them numbers
by the sword

a bell
for those with numbers

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Khurbn Prologue

1

The oppression
will smite

the camp
with thirst

& dust:
the plague

is in your barns
the camp

delivered
to their Gods


2

a wheel
dyed red

an apparition
set apart

out of the furnace


3

from his youth
she bound him

afterwards
they turned aside
& went

his streams
their vineyards

an apparition
that was at the end

sold
in the gutters

"show me"

"I will turn aside"

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