Memories from recent travels to Russia
Harriet Werfel Edwards
slashes of brilliant crimson, orange, brown, come to rest
Branches silhouette the sky
Sunshine highlights still clinging leaves.
“There used to be a synagogue in this town,” our local Russian guide cheerily informs us.
Nothing more is said. No one asks the question.
Jews lived in this town once. The Jews are gone.
“More than three million Jews from the USSR
were murdered during World War Two”
our young group leader tells us.
Nothing more is said. No one asks any questions.
Jews once lived in this vast country, millions of Jews.
They were destroyed.
The Pale of Settlement has been resettled.
Unmentioned pogroms. Forgotten Jews
And so we must give voice
To remember those whose synagogues became relics
whose communities were obliterated.
We give voice to those who have no descendants to mourn their loss
They became nameless, faceless.
We give voice to mourn the lost millions, to educate our young.
We cannot sit silently as evil and destruction take hold.
I need to ask questions, to raise my voice, to make a difference.