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Literature and Poetry/
Holocaust Remembrance Day

Natan Alterman

Of all the nations 


At our children's cry, shadowed by gallows,
we heard not the world's furor.
For You have chosen us of all nations,
you loved and wanted us.

For You have chosen us of all nations,
of Norwegians, Czechs and Britons.
As they march toward the gallows
Jewish children, clever children,
they know their blood shan't be reckoned among the rest,
they just call to the mother 'don't look!'.

And the fall of the axe during the days and nights

And the Christian father in the high town

Will not leave the temple with the idols of redemption

To stand one day in the pogrom

To stand one day, one and one day only

In the place that he has been standing for years like a goat

A small child,

Anonymous, Jewish.


And heavy is the worry at the pictures and the statues

And lest the art treasures will be blown up

However the art treasures of the heads of toddlers

On the walls and the roads will run


Their eyes speak: don’t look, mother

How the long lines have been placed

Veteran and well known soldiers

We are only short

Their eyes speak some more words:

God of our fathers, we knew

That You chose us from all the children

You loved us and wanted us.


When you chose us from all the children

To be killed before your holy throne

And our blood is collected in pitchers

Because it has no collector but You.


And You smelled it like the scent of flowers

And You gathered it in a kerchief

And You asked for us from the hand of the murderers

And also from those who stayed silent

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