One More Child

Location

Holocaust death camps: Plashow and Auschwitz-Birkenau
Poland

If one child had not been taken -

had not been shot,

had not been slain -

if one more child had remained standing,

think of the heroes

she could have named.

 

If one child had told her stories,

keeping her family

and friends alive,

if one more child had helped us understand,

we would know one more name,

one more soul who died.

 

She could tell tales of a father,

a poor tailor or shoemaker,

who fought to keep her 

and her brother fed.

She could tell us how he

was killed in the camps

for sneaking his son a piece of bread.

 

She could tell tales of a mother

who cherished her faith,

who led hundreds together

to light candles Shabbos eve.

She could tell us how she

helped her daughter escape

before dying herself of starvation disease.

 

She could tell tales of a brother,

just fourteen years old,

who buried testament, at risk of death,

for later generations to find and read.

She could tell us how he 

perished destroying the crematorium,

losing his life for that heroic deed.

 

If one child had escaped from death,

think of the stories

that could be known.

If one more child had created a family,

more witnesses would stand

to share stories on their own.

 

That one child is another face,

an unmarked grave,

a candle's flame.

That one young soul was lost forever,

a name on a list,

her stories unclaimed.

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