During the Kristallnacht,
We watched riots in silence,
Locked our doors,
Pulled curtains closed,
Beginning of the end.
Everyone in a ten-kilometer
Radius knew what took place
Behind the expansive wire fences.
Daily, nightly, unimpeded,
Railways and barracks were
First evidence of atrocities:
Patrols, dogs, and staggering
Lines of condemned, skeletal
Laborers worked to death.
In silence, we turned a blind eye.
Speaking out or questioning was
Disloyalty, Gestapo investigation.
We shunned Jews, social undesirables.
In silence, we did as instructed:
Waved flags, listened to radio
Broadcasts, and in loyalty to
Mein Fuhrer, kept my family and
Our house, living in shamed
We realized the horror, depravity,
Especially when the wind was right:
Gunshots, smell of burning flesh,
The ominous glow of ovens
And distant Allied bombing.
Jews and German cities burned at
Night. We killed and were killed.
We all burned.
Reposted for 70th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation.