15th Annual Holocaust Art and Wrting Contest
MEMORIES SPOKEN AND HEARD: INTERSECTING PERSPECTIVES OF THE HOLOCAUST
A Holocaust survivor story of Frances Flumenbaum
Time Stood Still
I breathe in the musty smell of history books,
words coming to life as I relive our forefathers’ stories.
My friends and I dance on sunlight beams outside, laughing and twirling,
there’s a feeling of infinity, nothing’s going to happen to us.
The smell of Shabbat in the air as my mother cooks in the kitchen,
the mouth-watering aromas for Sunday, Rest Day.
People come to our house to learn from my father, a scholar.
He says, “Any thing you possess, you might lose in your life, but not what sticks in your brain.”
Because I am a girl, I hide in the corner, listening to conversations between men.
The weight lifts off our shoulders on Shabbat Day, filling everyone with the joy of a child
A comforting presence watches over us as we sit and celebrate what God has given us,
and I gaze at my sister and my two brothers.
I survived the war with one sister.
I went to jail on a Monday for holding my silence.
When the judge asked me, “Who gave you that linen?”
I pictured my Jewish friend hanging from the gallows.
My father said, “Frances, do not ever say who gave it to you.”
I remembered his words, even as a German sitting next to me lit a cigarette
and pushed the burning stub into the skin of my clenched fists.
I still have that mark today.
Time Stood Still
The screams of children clinging on to their mothers still echo in my ears.
The image of a 14-year-old boy chained to a fountain until he died still burns in my mind.
But even in the ghettos, there were prayers. Always prayers.
May 8, 1945—Liberation
The Holocaust taught me to cherish every day of the week.
I have more to tell—there is no end to my story. Please listen.
People should not forget.