In the West, it’s known as Auschwitz

In the West, it’s generally known as Auschwitz, liberated 75 years ago January 27.

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One Day in Oswiecim*

(For the 75th anniversary of liberation, 1/27/2020)

I.

It hasn’t changed. The serene

green countryside reaches

toward a cloudless sky, and this

land could be your land.

II.

The oldest woman in town

trembles a bit remembering

an unsettling glow lighting

her childhood, but this

town could be your town.

III.

There’s a playground now

on the peaceful street

where ghosts were born

and legends linger, and this

street could be your street.

IV.

The women in farmhouses

and tidy village homes kept

the curtains drawn so the

children wouldn’t see, but this

home could be your home.

V.

The world comes in buses now.

Tourists stagger through history,

pausing to catch their breath,

inhaling reassurance that this

history will not be their history.

VI.

It hasn’t changed. The serene

green countryside reaches

toward a cloudless sky, and this

land may be your land.

— Kenneth Salzmann

*A small city in Poland, better known by its German name, Auschwitz.

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