Tonight, 70 Years Ago

Today we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the night in which synagogues got burnt down, Jewish stores got destroyed, Jews got imprisoned or killed on then-German soil. That night, which became known as Reichskristallnacht for the twinkling of all the shards lying in the streets, reflecting the blaze of the burning buildings, was the first bigger step in a series of events that would lead to the most horrible genocide in documented human history.

We must remember. That does not mean we must live in the past. To understand the present and build the future, it is vital though that we look at the past. It is vital that we remember. We must remember to be compassionate. With those that suffered, with those that are suffering and those that will suffer.

Pain is individual, and I – just as others of my generation – do not have the right to deny those that lost everything but their bare survival their right to grief, mourning, remembering. Their memories will transcend generations and will help us to remember. There may (hopefully) never be another genocide comparable to the holocaust, but as long as there is anti-Semitism in this world, we all will know the taste of the black milk of daybreak.

Black milk of daybreak we drink it at evening
we drink it at midday and morning we drink it at night
we drink and we drink
we shovel a grave in the air where you won’t lie too cramped
A man lives in the house he plays with his vipers he writes
he writes when it grows dark to Deutschland your golden hair Margareta
he writes it and steps out of doors and the stars are all sparkling he whistles his hounds to stay close
he whistles his Jews into rows has them shovel a grave in the ground
he commands us play up for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at morning and midday we drink you at evening
we drink and we drink
A man lives in the house he plays with his vipers he writes
he writes when it grows dark to Deutschland your golden hair Margareta
Your ashen hair Shulamith we shovel a grave in the air where you won’t lie too cramped

He shouts dig this earth deeper you lot there you others sing up and play
he grabs for the rod in his belt he swings it his eyes are so blue
stick your spades deeper you lot there you others play on for the dancing

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at midday and morning we drink you at evening
we drink and we drink
a man lives in the house your goldenes Haar Margarete
your aschenes Haar Shulamith he plays with his vipers

He shouts play death more sweetly this Death is a master from Deutschland
he shouts scrape your strings darker you’ll rise up as smoke to the sky
you’ll then have a grave in the clouds where you won’t lie too cramped

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at midday Death is a master aus Deutschland
we drink you at evening and morning we drink and we drink
this Death is ein Meister aus Deutschland his eye it is blue
he shoots you with shot made of lead shoots you level and true
a man lives in the house your goldenes Haar Margarete
he looses his hounds on us grants us a grave in the air
he plays with his vipers and daydreams der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland

dein goldenes Haar Margarete
dein aschenes Haar Sulamith

Death Fugue by Paul Celan
Translation via Nortonpoets

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Kristallnacht « Random Thoughts- Do They Have Meaning?

  2. FreeSouthArmagh

    11/12/2008 at 12:49 pm

    Blah blah blah, same old nonsense. By the way, the worst genocide in history was committed by Jews against the people of the Ukraine in the 1920s, where Jews murdered 20 Million Ukranians and White Russians under the rule of Stalin.

    The world is fed up with you people and your lies.

  3. froylein

    11/12/2008 at 4:24 pm

    Too funny; the Ukraine wasn’t under the rule of Stalin then. You should double-check your lies before posting them.

    When World War I and the Russian revolution shattered the Habsburg and Russian empires, Ukrainians declared independent statehood. In 1917 the Central Rada proclaimed Ukrainian autonomy and in 1918, following the Bolshevik seizure of power in Petrograd, the Ukrainian National Republic declared independence under President Mykhaylo Hrushevsky. After three years of conflict and civil war, however, the western part of Ukrainian territory was incorporated into Poland, while the larger, central and eastern regions were incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1922 as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. [source]

    I strongly suggest you start drinking fewer White Russians.

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