"Selection" of Hungarian Jews on the ramp at Auschwitz-II-Birkenau in German-occupied Poland, May/June 1944, during the final phase of the Holocaust.

Why We Remember

The Shoah began not
with the gas chambers
but with
crimes of indifference
conspiracies of silence
and distorted lies black
as Schutzstaffel uniforms.

Now anti-Semitic crimes
rise like
the ashes of
burnt bodies
from Nazi crematoriums
and white supremacists march
screaming
“Jews will not replace us!”

Deuteronomy tells us to
guard ourselves and
our souls
lest we forget the things
we saw

and make them known
to the children
who come after

so make a covenant
with those lost
to the Holocaust’s
death machine
to remember and preserve

acknowledge there are no
innocent
bystanders to genocide

and immunize ourselves
to identify and
neutralize those who

foment hate
abominate
desecrate
and
discriminate.

Published in the Poetry Super Highway 20th annual Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) issue.

The featured image is part of the collection known as the Auschwitz Album, which was donated to Yad Vashem by Lili Jacob, a survivor, who found it in the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp in 1945. It shows the “selection” of Hungarian Jews on the ramp at Auschwitz-II-Birkenau in German-occupied Poland, May/June 1944, during the final phase of the Holocaust.