- [The most harrowing part of the trip for me was the 4th station of the cross led by Fr Manfred. There I had been assigned the reading, and had to read outside a hut used to house Aryan children torn away from their discarded parents, about the Nazi practice of murdering all children born in the camp by full immersion in a barrel].
In bucket of frozen cold water
Until no breath came
No slap on the rear to provoke a cry
Silenced instead forever
Doorways opened to them not of a nursery
But by weeping angels
Assigned as an infant’s guardian
But with swords constrained to be sheathed
As in Gethsemane
As SS guards rid the world of
The ‘vermin offspring of vermin’
Unrealising their crime before
Heaven’s court and
The coming wrath against those
Who need a millstone round their feet
To escape the horrors that await
One flung on the vengeance of an outraged God
At the dealings with his convenanted humanity.
This series of post are poetry written at Auschwitz-Berkenau during a retreat 75 years after gas was first used in the ‘final solution’ to exterminate the Jews.
The group was led by some remarkable people, including a German RC priest, Fr Manfred who had remained there for 25+ years since writing his phD on the holocaust.
Bible reflections were given by Sam Wells and Pete Wilcox, and when poetry owes its origins to their lectures they are credited as such.