Paul Hartal


Camp Concerts Poem by Paul Hartal


In school I learnt
That music beautifies life.
It elevates and ennobles
The soul.

But tell me
My dear teacher:
How could the music
Elevate the prisoners
Of Treblinka?

How could
The waltz or the tango
Beautify the tortures
In Sobibor?

And how could
The symphonies
At Auschwitz ennoble
The victims?

The Nazis organized
The concerts
In the death camps
In order
To humiliate
The prisoners
And to mock
The lofty essence
Of human life.

Orchestras
In the lagers
Played to degrade
The lifeblood of dignity
To debase the marrow
Of the soul.

Inside
The barbed wire fences
Trumpets sobbed
Flutes and violins wept
As majestic melodies
Soared over
Grisly horrors.

Submitted: Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Edited: Wednesday, October 05, 2011

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