Five Holocaust Memories
A German Witness
She was living with her parents outside of Munich.
One day, her mother had sent her to obtain some cheese,
and she was heading back along the country road
that was filled to the brim with fleeing civilians and soldiers.
She had been thinking about her father, the industrialist,
and about how their cheese was paid for.
Then she rounded a curve in the road and saw the prisoners:
they were guarded by SS men and leaned against a wall.
She could see that these were, in fact, skeletons, wrapped
in a skin of black-and-white-striped cloth: the cloth was threadbare
and the bones showed through. She knew they were prisoners
but didn't understand what their crime was . . .
and she thought of the cheese, white and creamy, growing riper
in her rucksack. She thought of giving the cheese to these shadows,
for their eyes held her, and she opened her sack and reached in.
The cheese emerged in her hand with the power of sunlight.
And the first ones came crawling. They crawled to her,
and she fed them until the grave of Munich called her.