Poems for Holocaust Memorial Day

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day and I thought it should be marked with some poems.

First They Came by Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me


I Wasn’t There

A poem for Holocaust Memorial Day by Claire Guest

I wasn’t there beside you,

So I didn’t hear their words.

I can’t truly imagine

How much they must have hurt.

I didn’t see them come for you,

And take all you knew away.

It’s not right that anyone

Should have to feel that pain.

Six million; such a number

I cannot comprehend.

Unique, innocent people –

That shouldn’t be their end.

We couldn’t stop the horror,

We couldn’t stop the hate,

We can’t change this history;

We are here too late –

But what we can do is remember,

In our thoughts and in our ways;

Let these memories guide our actions,

And pray others do the same.

© Claire Guest 2013


One person can make a difference by Gwyneth Lewis

The fight for justice starts and ends with me.

Truth is the sound of what I may say.

I can only be well when others are free

And right has a price I’m prepared to pay.

I refuse to be afraid

Of force or hatred.

I will pull their lies like weeds,

Plant gardens of more generous seeds.

If I turn my back and walk away

Who’ll ask for others what I want for me?

I can only be well when others are free

And right has a price I’m prepared to pay.


We Remember Them by Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer 

At the rising of the sun and at its going down
We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter
We remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring
We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer
We remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn
We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends
We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us
as we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength
We remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart
We remember them.
When we have joy we crave to share
We remember them.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make
We remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs
We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us
as we remember them.

© Jewish Prayer Book

 

 

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