15th Annual Holocaust Art and Wrting Contest






A Holocaust survivor story of Frances Flumenbaum

Time Stood Still

Wednesdays Before

I breathe in the musty smell of history books,

words coming to life as I relive our forefathers’ stories.

 Thursdays Before

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.

Fridays Before

The smell of Shabbat in the air as my mother cooks in the kitchen,

the mouth-watering aromas for Sunday, Rest Day.

Saturdays Before

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.

Sundays Before

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.

Mondays After

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.

Tuesdays After

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.


About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a senior at OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts). Her work has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and National Student Poets Program. She has been chosen as finalists of playwriting competitions held by California Young Playwrights, The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, and Princeton University. Her poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in TeenReads, Jet Fuel Review, Feminine Inquiry, Aerie International and more. She also conducts print and on-camera interviews as a Star Reporter and Film Critic for multiple online outlets. She won a National Gracie Award in Student Online Video Host Category by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation . https://twitter.com/Cassandra_Hsiao

Posted on March 19, 2014, in Editor's Column. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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