I will not use your name

I listened when you spoke for so many

You were a child in Auschwitz-Birkenau

You spoke of how you survived

Brief references

No details

You spoke of your grief

The overwhelming feeling of numbness

To the brutality

The realisation that death was imminent

Every second minute every day

Because you were a Jew

The tattooed numbers remained

You became a psychologist

You taught me how to reach

The young who felt lost.

 

You have no name

I knew it once

I worked with you in a steelworks

I didn’t understand your accent

Your way of speaking

You explained you were a child in Birkenau

Taken there from Belgium

After telling me of your life

A day or so later you disappeared

No reasons were given or left.

 

You were an old quiet man

I sat with talking over quiet pints

Stanislaus your father was a baker

And you delivered bread to the SS

And smuggled what you could

To the Jews facing the risk

On discovery of certain death

After liberation the communists took over

And you fled to make a home in this country

Late in your life you were honoured

By Poland for your heroism

Your humbleness weighing each word

What choice do you have

You can’t do nothing

So many did they have to live with themselves

And the choices they made

Once for a year you pretended

To be my father

So that we could have free coal

When we had no money coming in

You died a decade ago

I honour you and our quiet talks still.

 

© 2017, Rob Cullen

2 thoughts on “Three men

  1. What a powerful piece. I think, in a way, that those who sacrifice so much and show such empathy and compassion for others while they are here are immortalized by those whom they helped, by those touched by those acts of kindness. As long as we remember the heroes, we cab keep their spirit(s) alive for new generations to experience. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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