Memories of Neisse (for Hanna)

Traditional Seder plate

Looking back, it began slowly.

Happy memories of sacred Friday rituals
Mama lighting the Shabbat candle
Everyone singing songs in Hebrew

Relatives visiting on significant holidays
Passover in Neisse, their little town
Up and down streets, the strings of

small shops owned by proud families
Wandering Jews who’d settled so long
they felt like indigenous Germans

Then, change in the air, a foul stench
as demons plotted in biergartens
with one who had a Master Plan

First is was spittle on Father’s shoes
as they walked to temple
Elaboration: Book burning

Brecht, Freud, Dos Passos, Proust
Einstein, Kafka, Joyce, Helen Keller
Genius flashes turned to ashes

Artwork was destroyed, replaced by
white marble gods and goddesses:
The. Ideal. German. Is. Not. A. Jew.

Young Hanna was told to leave school
and never come back. She glanced
over her shoulder fighting back

bitter, Jewish, no-longer-real-German tears
as a swastika flag was affixed above
the entrance to her (no-longer-her) school

Their summit was yet to be reached
The nadir of Hanna’s life as they
boarded the train for…

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For The Sunday Whirl: Goddess, String, Elaborated, Flags, Sacred, Visit, Demons, Summit, Rituals, Significant, Intentions, Indigenous. Also for dverse Open Link Night.

Dedicated to Riley’s Oma (“grandma” in German), Hanna Weinberger, who escaped Auschwitz two weeks before the Liberation, emigrated to America, married, and had two sons.   Also dedicated to the man she married, Leonard Weinberger, and their sons, Rob and Roy.