My husband and I are survivors and residing in the USA since 1949. Over the years we met several Jews and non-Jews, who relayed their impressions at the first glimpse of the shadows of humanity with just one breath left in them at the time of liberation. That inspired the following poem. The happy reunion story about a Liberator and a survivor in your pages inspired me to submit it to your fine publication. As survivors — we know only too well “our side” and very touched by the emotional involvement and vivid memory while describing them after so many years, especially the non-Jewish veterans


By Mania Bergelson-Zimbalist

(Dedicated to American Liberators for their compassion)

What is this crumpled bundle
of matchsticks clinging to black
iron bars? What are these unmoving
lifeless orbs in human skull?

Hold on, hold on…

Could this facsimile of human
form — once a He or a She,
belonging to another He or She,
now lying on the bottom of that pile
of bones, over there
— higher than that healthy tree —
still have a fraction of a breath left?

Hold on, hold on…

Was that a hint of movement in those
hollow sockets? A glint of hope,
recognition of humanity on this “FREI”
side of black iron bars?

Hold on, hold on…

Don’t recoil from THIS uniform.
Look. Look again.
Yes! You know! You know you’re
liberated. You’ll be a He or a She again —
but whole? — never!
Never whole
Hold on! Hold on, survivor!


Mary Zimbalist

Boynton Beach, Fl. 33437