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It is seven decades since they were gassed at Treblinka - I lost them all.

I never knew them, yet I imagine their beautifully gaunt faces and frightened tear-filled eyes.

They never had a chance to touch me, to see me,  to kiss me.

And, I cannot even honor them by visiting their graves.

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I was told, “You have her blue eyes and dark brown hair”

That like me, she rubbed her hands together in anticipation

They said she was a balabuste and that she hated injustice

Another remarked she was a good friend, talented and faithful

 

I was never likened to my mother, the woman that gave me life

I know I was more like her – one of the murdered generation

The woman I never saw or knew, no proof, no photo to show

Taken away from me, amongst others – not a trace of family

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Friends talked about their dear Grandmas, Savtas or Bubbies

They got dolls, homemade sugar cookies or sucking candies

 

Enjoyed the Sabbath day, weekend sleepovers and warm hugs

A love other than their mother's, an unconditional understanding.

 

Bubbie? What do you think of the granddaughter named for you?

Are you proud of me today, raised without your influence in my life?

Are you looking down from your heavenly abode and smiling?

Do you send me blessings of approval and wishes for longevity?

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Chava'le, my Bubbie – the grandmother I never held, but always loved

For years I wanted to just see your image, even a photo would do

But you and my aunts were stripped and forced to march to the left,

Sent to showers with soap to supposedly cleanse your dirty bodies.

 

Imagining your last minutes in that final wretched chamber – inhaling death

Choking for air - who perished first?  You Bubbie,  or my three young aunts?

What worldly goods would I give away to save your bodies and souls

Even for one kiss, one long embrace, one moment in time to see your face.

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Our editor, Chava Yelloz was born in a displaced persons camp in Eschwege, Germany in 1946. Her mother, Fela, z”l,  (Faige Rochel) was a valiant partisan fighter in the Polish pine forest and the sole survivor of the 7 children born to Reb Leibish and Chava Kopytko, z”l. Chava's aunts were Leibe, Gelche and Perle - her uncles were Srulek, Hershel and Moishele...may their memories, along with the millions of others murdered in the Shoah,  be a blessing to Klal Yisrael.

 
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