Colin Ian Jeffery
Auschwitz - Poem by Colin Ian Jeffery
Nazi death camp)
In Poland, during the Second World War,160 miles south-west of Warsaw the Nazis built their most notorious death camp. At one time over ten thousand were passing through the gas chamber daily, and not less than three million died there. Above the main gates was a scroll ‘Arbeit macht frel' (works makes you free) . It was a Nazi joke. Only death could make those who entered free.
Chimneys billowing white smoke
Ovens fired and ready
For the train arriving
Cattle wagons packed with Jews.
Orchestra of prisoners
Weeping as they play Mozart
Performing the Nazi scheme
Calming people in the trucks.
Guards with snapping dogs
Herd people from the wagons
Shouting for them to hurry
Moving them towards the camp.
Haughty SS officers waiting
With doctors in white coats
Ready to select and divide
Choosing who lives and who dies.
Fit and strong, mostly men live
Worked until they drop
Then sent to the gas chamber
Bodies loaded into ovens.
Sick, weak, elderly and children
Sent directly to the showers
Told to strip to be deloused and bathed
Not knowing it was the killing place.
Some women try hiding children
Under clothes hung upon pegs
But the prisoners' Kommando
Search clothing supervised by the SS.
Standing naked and embarrassed
Shower doors are closed
Gas hisses through a ceiling vent
Panicking they scream in terror.
Choking gas overcomes them
As they fight desperately for air
Building up a human pyramid
Almost reaching to the ceiling.
When the doors are opened
Bodies are removed
By the prisoners' Kommando
With gold teeth and rings removed.
Death takes ten minutes
Bodies are carried into lifts
Then fed into the ovens
White chimney smoke turns black.
The Kommando work quickly
Another train is coming
Cattle wagons packed with Jews
Ready to be selected who lives or dies.
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