Holocaust Remembrance Day: things they left behind by Howard Richard Debs

a locket

a strand of pearls

two tickets to a harpsichord concert

featuring the work of Bach


a brown leather briefcase

a Gramophone record

with selections of the Leipzig synagogue


a wooden dreidel with large red

Hebrew letters


a green atomizer bottle embossed with a Star of David

a pair of shoes……………………….a pewter sugar bowl

a brass kettle

a cap


a school report card in which the teacher wrote

“We know him to be a studious pupil. . . .”




visa applications

Author comment: The headline from the news report reads “Electrician Stumbles Upon Holocaust Time Capsule Inside Amsterdam Home’s Crawl Space.”  April 23rd at sundown through Monday April 24 is Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). This poem invokes items found in the suitcase referenced in the article, items selected from the Central Judaica Database of artifacts and documents of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (POLIN), and other things that came to mind that people might have possessed in the course of living their lives. It should be noted that Stormfront, the neo-Nazi internet forum, has a post under the heading “Is There No End to the Lies” which repudiates the story with comments such as “Spielburg [sic] will now do a new film and keep the hoax going” and “slowly but surely, THE MAINSTREAM is being discredited, (OR put another way, is DISCREDITING ITSELF) and THIS INCLUDES THE ‘HOLOCAUST’!” It should also be noted that by happenstance this year Armenian
Genocide Remembrance Day also falls on April 24. Hate and fear of “the other” the precursors of genocide do not abate, we must all do our part to keep the flame of memory and truth ignited.

Howard Richard Debs received a University of Colorado Poetry Prize at age 19. After fifty years in communications, and an Educational Press Association of America Distinguished Achievement Award, he resumed his creative pursuits. Finalist and recipient 28th Annual 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards, his work appears internationally in numerous publications recently in Social Justice Poetry, Visitant, The Galway Review, Poets Reading The News, Cleaver Magazine also included in the Dime Show Review Anthology Volume 1 and Clear Poetry 2015 Anthology among others, his essay “The Poetry of Bearing Witness” in On Being – On The Blog, in which appears his ekphrastic Holocaust poetry series “Terezin: Trilogy Of Names,” and his photography in select publications, including in Rattle online as “Ekphrastic Challenge” artist and guest editor; his full length work Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words (Scarlet Leaf Publishing) is forthcoming in mid-2017. He is listed in the Directory of Poets & Writers https://www.pw.org/content/howard_debs

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