Against Humanity by Vivi Steels

Posted on September 4, 2014 at 3:30 AM

I have been stunned and appalled by the events in Iraq and Syria. It reminded me of this poem I wrote in 1995 about the crimes against humanity in the second World War. This poem is written from the view-point of a survivor from Auschwitz. How can mankind keep repeating the same murderous mistakes? Don't we ever learn from history? Then there are the men and women who make it their life's work to bring perpetrators of genocide to justice...


Against Humanity


Ceaseless sea

womb of the world

weeps for those

spiked by swastikas –



Queues of blood-tied

cry for their kind;

showered by gas,

dusted by fire.


The beater, the gas man,

starver, death planner,

march like ghosts –

always at night –

up mountains of silken hair,

over spectacles of barbed wire,

down suitcases of names

stacked like tombstones

against my heaving heart.


Auschwitz – fifty years ago –

I have never left that hell.

I am still there.



I pray for dawn

in purgatory –

this blitzkrieg

circling humanity –

as some* bring

cattletrucks of crime

into the glare

of our time.


* Poem dedicated to Simon Wiesenthal


Published in CPR International 4 - October 2000, Write-Away – Spring 2002 & The World at War (anthology Forward Press Poetry) – September 2013



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