All four of my grandparents were touched by the events of the Holocaust. Every family origin story told to me either began or ended with this event. Today, as the generation that was directly affected by the Holocaust leaves us, I find myself with a need to learn more about my family’s personal history, because some things should not be forgotten. At the same time, my own life has taught me the importance of letting go of pain, anger, and especially of hatred. Currently, I struggle with my individual narrative of my family’s origin and history. The Holocaust is without a doubt an incredibly important event, having caused the movement and death of many family members. And yet, my grandparents also had long lives after, doing wonderful things with their lives. This poem was created in light of my growing understanding of the Holocaust, the current day and age in which we live and my own forming identity.
What started as a series of one stanza Haiku eventually became one long poem. I had originally intended to create a group of small moments at different times and placed, all set during the Holocaust. Upon proof reading the poems, I noticed that all of them reflected specific moments that are embedded in personal narratives of my grandparents. Putting them together, I started to create my own personal narrative, ending the poem just before I move past my introduction. With all my life left to live and learn from, I felt that what is most important for me and my generation is to learn the stories and vow that we will pass on the stories and lessons from the Sho’ah, rather than deciding now what stories need to be heard.
Katz, Deborah, "A Granddaughter's Onus" (2013). The Douglas R. Skopp Creative Competition on the Theme of the Holocaust. 1.