For Pavel and Six Million
He saw the last, one butterfly,
a flutter of gold, gone
like hope. Here it died, and blue sky
was a tale—once upon,
Yet still, his soul demanded write–
witness, record despair,
and soul-sighs, but also brief light
a flash in ash-filled air–
For dVerse, a very difficult form called the memento. You can read about it here. Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I felt I needed to mark it, especially now as authoritarian regimes are rising–and there are people in the US government who support them. There is a famous poem “The Butterfly” written by Pavel Friedman in Terezin. He was a young man born in Prague, January 7, 1921, and murdered in Auschwitz on September 29, 1944.
All my grandparents immigrated to the US from Belarus and Ukraine before WWI. I know my mother’s father had half-sisters in what became the USSR. They survived WWII (he didn’t know till afterwards). They immigrated to Israel in 1990.
This is meaningful and beautifully penned, Merril. Thank you for writing it and sharing it with us.
Thank you very much, David. That means so much. 💙
I keep thinking about your grandmother.
This is beautifully done, Merril. A most difficult “holiday” to write about and you captured Pavel’s poem so well.
It’s amazing how two such different translations were done.
Thank you so much, Dale. It is so difficult.
I was surprised, too. I think the second one is the one I’ve seen most often.
I bet. I had never seen either and I thank you for the link.
You’re welcome. I think I first read it in a Passover Haggadah.
You would be in a better position than I to know this one 🙂
Beautiful and moving remembrance dear Merril.
Thank you very much, dear Holly Rene. 💙
A meaningful tribute to your ancestry, Merril
Thank you, Derrick.
And for your friend who survived through the Kindertransport. The rest of his family did not, I think?
His father disappeared into Auschwitz; his mother escaped to Australia – she and my friend’s aunt and cousin, the only ones left, lost their sanity. I am grateful that you remember them, too.
You’re welcome. ❤️
Reblogged this on https:/BOOKS.ESLARN-NET.DE.
My pleasure, Merril! Enjoy a beautiful weekend! xx Michael
You as well, Michael! 💙
A heart touching remembranceand tribute also to your ancestry, Merril. Best wishes, Michael
Thank you very much, Michael.
Best wishes to you, too.
Thank you for this, Merril. Not too long ago, I finished listening to Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder. The history of Belarus and Ukraine and so many of those countries treated like sandboxes by Stalin and Hitler is devastating. Their history deepens the horror of the Holocaust. That horror was unimaginable and yet 💔
Thank you very much, Marie.
It was only a few years ago when they discovered a mass grave in Belarus during a construction project. And the slimy scum here celebrate the dictators. Of course most of them also no nothing about history and don’t care.
So true. They should change their name from the House Freedom Caucus to the House Fascism Caucus. Did you know that Ron DeSantis, current fascist governor of Florida, started the so-called Freedom Caucus? Ugh.
Ugh. He is so awful. I imagine he’ll be setting up a Ministry of Truth soon.
No need. That’s what he’s turning the Dept. of Education into 😡🤢
and soul-sighs, but also brief light”
So beautifully penned, Merril.
Thank you very much.
This is both uplifting and sad (rightly so), Merril.
Thank you very much, Ken.💙
A beautiful sad remembrance of a horrific atrocity on mankind! Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute!
Thank you very much, Dwight, and you’re welcome.
Powerful and moving tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. 🤍
Thank you very much, Jay. 💙
Very moving imagery, Merril.
Thank you so much.
Very beautiful and captures the horrific tragedy in such a few words and focus on one viewpoint. It brought to mind also the book by children of the Holocaust: I Never Saw Another Butterfly.
Thank you very much, Luanne. It’s such a difficult topic to write about because of the atrocity and the scope.
I believe that book includes the poem.
Poems and artwork by the kids. When I was in grad school I wrote an article for Studies in Jewish American Literature about Holocaust poetry. I was shocked by how little criticism had been written about the poetry of the Shoah. Here’s the beginnings of it: https://www.jstor.org/stable/41205814
Thank you for sharing.
I imagine more has been done since then.
Haha, I would sure hope so. 30 years ago!
We must never forget – well said, Merril!
Thank you, Ingrid.
Reblogged this on The Wombwell Rainbow.
Thank you very much, Paul.
Nice one Merril. Thanks for dropping by my blog
Thank you, Gillena. 😊
This is a very moving poem, a fitting tribute to all who lost their lives for being born who they were. We must never forget.
Thank you very much, Liz. I agree.
You’re welcome, Merril.
Thank you, dear Rene.
Delicate and heartbreaking–but also poignant and hopeful. There really are no words, but still you have given them a voice. (K)
That is the best compliment, Kerfe. Thank you so much.
Nice verses, Merrill. Literally they read well, my mind jumped in your first verse to the Butterflies abandoned in glass jars by children. Thank you for linking to the Butterfly poem, will check it out. I knew a young lady back when I was single, Jewish, she went to live in Isarael back in the early 70’s. We haven’t communicated since she left, her aunt kept me posted for a while.
I haven’t done a DNA check but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Jewish showed up, Austrian/German (Habsburg), an ancestor was disowned because he married “out of favor”. There was some reparation involved but my mom wouldn’t take any of their proffered money.
Thank you for reading, Jim. I’m pleased my poem sparked some memories.
How very touching and moving Merril. I am always interested to know about your family history and this one hit a nerve. Happy weekend.
Thank you very much, Grace.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend, too.
I love the background, and indeed we wrote about the same remembrance which is why I thought it was the best way to write for the prompt.
Thank you, Björn. Yes, we must remember this horror, its victims, and survivors.
Such a heart-stirring remembrance and tribute this is, Merril! Sending hugs 💜💜
Thank you very much, Sanaa. 💙
Amazing writing, Merril. A wonderful “write–
witness, record despair” tribute.
Yes, the uglies are mushrooming, again.
It blows my mind how history repeats. Lessons are learned, and forgotten.
I’m also aware that Ukraine is in massive crisis, which extends to all of Europe, and to the world in general.
China is advancing its wants in the South Pacific.
Sounds like a different version of the conditions leading to WWII.
Hey… look how easily your words got me to dig.
Thank you for your poem!
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Resa. Yes, the uglies are definitely sending their spores out. 😡