When God Blinks

When God Blinks*

“taken from records kept by Nazi’s at the Death Camps”


In A Jewish Home in Poland, 1942

It is I Moishe, hiding under the stairs. Those men
they search the house. Bruce, whom I told to stay
hidden no matter what, is only five and did not
listen. He has crept out from under the stairs,
a young boy, his tears are enough to show
me that, for him, the game has gone on
long enough. One man, a German who
worked at their medical clinic has
taken Bruce by the arm, walking
him away like one would do
with bad boys, takes out
his gun and presses it
cold and deadly to
my brother’s neck,
fires it, then
I, Moishe,
ten years
old, I cry
out with


I Search For Jews, Poland 1942

You ask how I could do this, do these deeds
every day? Take for example the young
Jew, you say only a boy, just five years
old. But little boys grow up to be Jews,
men of strange clothes and habits, it
only looks like a boy, but it is less
than human, so I take it by the
arm, walk the Jew away from
the stairs, take the gun
out, press the barrel
to the Jew’s neck,
fire once, wipe
the blood
from my


The Jewish Gravedigger, Lomazy, Poland 1942

The heat is oppressive on this day in Lomazy.
I dig this giant pit with others while my wife
and son wait, guarded by Germans on the
athletic field, where we once ran and
played. The Germans have brought
us all out and they stand and walk
about, posturing and posing for
photos. I know they mean to
kill us, but perhaps if I dig
this grave for my friends
and relatives they will
let me and my family
live. Perhaps if I dig
they won’t kill us
all. I will pray
as I dig that
God will
not let


The Jews In The Pit, Lomazy Poland 1942

The damned Ukrainians have become too drunk to shoot
straight so now the lot of shooting the filthy Jews in
the pit has fallen to us. We have been ordered to
climb down into the pit where the Jews lay with
heads shattered like melons by those bullets
of the Hiwis, some of them still thrashing
about because the drunken bastards
have not shot well. We’re too good
to climb about in the blood and the
muck. We have decided to make
the Jews just climb in and stand
against each wall inside the pit
while we stand on opposite
sides and kill them with
our crossfire. Every
half-hour we will
change and give
our comrades
a turn to
kill the


The Old Man’s Prayer

Dear God, I am old and have served well, I have kept
the Sabbath and the High Holy Days, fasted on Yom
Kippur, eaten unleavened bread on Pesach, why do
you make me run under a gauntlet of German
clubs to a pit dug by my sons where I will be
forced to lie face down on my brethren,
fellow Jews dead or screaming, to have
the cold gun placed to the back
of my head. Maybe to
die well, Lord,
that is all I
can ask.

*First published in Jewish Affairs, Winter 1999. “After The Holocaust” Print Media Association of South Africa