Christina A. Sharik

SPRINGTIME IN AUSCHWITZ

Auschwitz
Auschwitz: Electrified corridor that separates the camp and freedom

Auschwitz
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The sun sets in the same place
that it has always set;
morning trains spew forth their cargo
The day’s the same, and yet

there’s something different
in the air
that air, with ashes thick:

The wind carries a hint
of Spring
the promise of new life
the greening of a barren stick

a little patch of violets
blooms beside the post

a post where wire is still attached:
where lives were lived and lost.

The earth lives on without us
it renews itself each year
It doesn’t dwell on sorrow
it doesn’t know that we were here

But we need the earth and nature
we need to know
the sun will rise and set –

With us or without us,
the grasses grow and yet

When springtime comes to Auschwitz,
violets bloom in Birkenau again

They mark the site of horrors,
as living memorials to men.

Author’s Note: On the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz/Birkenau

Dearest Christina,

Your poem is truly a powerful image of the terrible horror that was Auschwitz. Each blade of grass is a commemoration of the life, and a memorial to the death of an individual. Their deaths will never be forgotten while the contrast between the evil of the man-made abominations of the camp can be diluted with the beauty of God’s hand even for a moment, so that we are eternally reminded of God’s power over Satan’s temporary successes. The flowers and greenery remind us that the beauty of each human being who was murdered in that place and places like them will always remain more important than the brooding barracks, the killing walls, and the mass burial pits. Man’s evil will always be overshadowed by God’s glory and the contrast so provided by God, will always remind us of that fact.

We must revel in God’s goodness, which will always overcome man’s evil greed and thoughtlessness. It is the goodness of those who were the victims that permits the flowers and grass to be so starkly contrasting to the manner and place of their death. Your poem provides hope where hope was absent and where hatred was the bitter fruit of closed and damned minds!

Anthony W. Pahl
January 28, 2005