POEM: Dancing in Auschwitz by Eva Schottenstein, 2016

Eva Isabel Schottenstein 2

We are revenge, incarnate
Destined to walk, to listen, to remember, to pass on
We are revenge incarnate

We march, hands intertwined with those of strangers along with brothers
Fingers braided tight as bread, seamlessly converting visitors into natives
Heads held high, along with fists, along with flags
Chanting, stamping, singing, stomping
Shoulders sagging under the weight of a burden called blessing

Looking around, the implausible existence of us glows deep inside of me; pride
Elderly hands clenching youth, seizing vitality
Lifelines deteriorating with age; memories fading, bartered for hollow rage

The air sits heavy in our chests as we take in every breath
Teenagers should never know how it feels to inhale death

We march, listening to words spoken in foreign tongues with a resident message
Our eyes shut tight as we open our mouths wide to cry out the prayers of our people
We sing songs in our ancestors’ language with an identical strain of mourning and celebration coursing through our proudly-pumping veins
Anthems bearing such heavy burdens that our lungs might collapse under their weight

Dust floats into our chests like the synthetic smoke that filled the sky
Together, we stride, linked by arms, and heritage, and tragedy, and history
Flags of every color and country wave in support, in remembrance, in grieving, in appreciation

Tears fall from downcast eyes as the names of fallen children ring in and out of our ears
Our footsteps stain this dirt proudly, boldly declaring retribution
We are still here.

Eva Isabel Schottenstein 1

Poem written by Eva Schottenstein, a 17 year old from Bexley, Ohio, who participated in the 2015 March of the Living with the BBYO joint Delegation from Cleveland & Columbus.


  1. Eva says:

    November 9-10, 1938

    The uneasiness felt throughout the land
    Did not point to “all was well”.
    Soon, the evil that was lurking
    Like a cold, dark blanket fell.

    Then was heard life’s shattering sound
    Throughout the German nation:
    An horrific sound that stirred up
    Hell’s minions to exhilaration.

    Rocks crashed through Jewish shop windows,
    With glass shattering everywhere.
    Synagogues were burnt fast to the ground
    And Jewish homes were pillaged without a care.

    They pleaded for mercy and for justice
    From those who’d desired them dead,
    While their neighbors, in deafening silence,
    Quickly turned away their heads.

    It was a night unlike all other nights
    For Israel’s sons and daughters.
    Just like sheep, they were led away,
    Earmarked for the slaughter.

    Kristallnacht was the very spark
    That ignited the Holocaust,
    A great and unspeakable evil
    Where 6,000,000 Jewish lives were lost.

    The entire world stood guilty
    Of this crime against humanity
    Hitler, the Nazis, the Church and the Nations
    All played a role in this atrocity.

    The bystanders were the largest group
    Indifferent, filled with shame,
    Their passivity and their silence
    Helped ignite HaShoah’s flame.

    The lesson here speaks loud and clear.
    Evil will yet prevail.
    History will repeat itself
    When good men, by their silence, fail.

Post a comment