Tag Archives: Jewish


These remembrance days in May: Remembering the Children

Beautiful digital art – mixed techniques by Naomi Backer – http://xn3art.wordpress.com/ – Words by Elie Wiesel (Nobel price winner)
“… Of course we could try to forget the past. Why not? Is it not natural for a human being to repress what causes him pain, what causes him shame? Like the body, memory protects its wounds. When day breaks after a sleepless night, one’s ghosts must withdraw; the dead are ordered back to their graves. But for the first time in history, we could not bury our dead. We bear their graves within ourselves. For us, forgetting was never an option.” ~ Elie Wiesel (Nobel Lecture 1986)




is that you
behind the door
that colours
this grey emptiness
with your glowing face

©2013 EdjoFrank

Two New Weblogs concerning the Holocaust Haiku project

Two new weblogs has been launched, completely dedicated to the Haiku poetry project TRAGEDIES TO REMEMBER, A TRIBUTE.

The simular weblogs are in
English: www.tragedies2remember.com
Dutch: www.omnooittevergeten.wordpress.com

The project consists of a series of Haiku poems on the Holocaust, the extinguishing of the European Jews during World War II, and forms a tribute to all victims and survivors, especially the great number of known and unknown members of my family.

The Dutch painter, illustrator and graphic artist Diana van Halwww.dianavanhal.nl – is realizing a number of paintings for this project, that will serve as illustrations for the poetry book and also for panels of a traveling exposition, together with the projected poems.

This poetry project is in the last stage of development.The English manuscript is finished . The Dutch version is in the writing stage at this moment, and will adopt the title OM NOOIT TE VERGETEN (Never to Forget).

The poertry manuscript has already found its way to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem and the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum in Galilea, Israel. With the Museum Herinneringskamp Westerbork in the Netherlands is consultation to organize an exposition in the first half of 2011.

Both weblogs will frequently publish fresh information on the project, the realization, news and media, and the agenda with activities to come.

I invite you warmly to take a look at the English weblog TRAGEDIES TO REMEMBER and the Dutch weblog OM NOOIT TE VERGETEN.

There is a lot of silence in “Shoah.”

‘Shoah’ Did Not Age

The Most Important Holocaust Film of Our Age Turns 25

Courtesy of Claude Lanzmann

By Dan Friedman

In 1985, Claude Lanzmann released “Shoah,” a 550-minute epic film that changed the way people understood the Holocaust and the relation between history and cinema. Traveling through many countries Lanzmann recorded, in many languages, tens of people who were witness to different aspects of the systematic extermination of European Jewry. Now 85 years old, and with energy but not spirit dimmed, Lanzmann is celebrating his 2009 biography “Le Lièvre de Patagonie (“The Patagonian Hare,”)” and the 25th anniversary of “Shoah.” He spoke to Dan Friedman, arts and culture editor of the Forward.
Dan Friedman: Do you think about the film differently now, 25 years on?
Claude Lanzmann: Not at all different. Why should I?
Would you make the film differently if you made it now?
Not an iota. I like the film as it is.
The world has changed a lot in the past 25 years. With the Internet people are watching three minute videos, not long-form 550 minute movies.
The Internet leads its own life, and “Shoah” leads its own life. Yesterday [November 17] there was a screening at the IFC at 10am. At 9.30 or 9.45, I was talking and people stayed through until the end. There were many young people, many not Jewish. There were some people who were not young and not old. Some had seen the film before; for some it was the first time. It is a journey of discovery. You can’t have in three minutes the content of “Shoah.”
“Shoah” did not age. Some people read Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” too, despite the Internet!
The film bears the survivor testimony of people who have passed away over the past 25 years. Does it change the film that it is now the main repository of their memories?
There are many films in the history of cinema where the protagonists are now dead.
But in “Casablanca,” say, Humphrey Bogart isn’t playing himself, whereas in “Shoah,” people are themselves. It’s a document of a sort.
It is not a document. The film is a work of art, an oeuvre.
So as a work of art, what effect has it had?
It’s been seen by hundreds of millions of people.
But, as art, does it have an effect?
When I watch “Journey to Tokyo” [“Tokyo Story,” 1953] by Ozu I am able to cry. When Japanese watch “Shoah,” they, too, are in tears. My dear, things are never like this. Art is not medicine.
Your phrase “the obscenity of understanding” is very powerful.
Powerful how?
Well, it suggests that the very act of understanding could warp a mind in an obscene way.
You misunderstand. For “Shoah” it was necessary to ask the questions most flatly. Why did the Jews get killed? Immediately the question reveals its own obscenity. You can find all the reasons for it happening: the economy, unemployment, psychoanalysis of Jewish spirit, German spirit, the bad doctors of Adolf Hitler’s mother. Perhaps these are all true, but the conditions are not enough to harmoniously engender the Shoah. It starts with naked violence. Explain one good reason to kill 1.5 million Jewish children. I was like a blinkered horse looking in front only. It does not mean that the Shoah was not a fully historical event. You have to start with the naked violence. There is no embellishment in “Shoah.”
Have you seen any films about the genocides in Darfur, Sudan or Rwanda?
There is a uniqueness in the extermination of the Jews. It has never happened before in history. That is why I have given the world “Shoah.” The film gave its name to the event in the world, everywhere but here, because of the Holocaust museum, its architects and promoters.
Why do you say the Shoah is unique?
It is a complete contradiction to ask me this. I will not explain to you what is unique about the Holocaust.
Many times in the film, you repeat people’s words back to them. How do you think language works in this film, or in film in general?
I repeat what they have said. I am surprised. I am flabbergasted. It’s a way of putting silence at the core of language. Silence is the authentic mode of speaking.
There is a lot of silence in “Shoah.”




we cried

hand in hand
my sister and I
feeling the love
the ones we never met 


gisteren huilden wij
hand in hand
mijn zus en ik
voelen de liefde
de onzen die wij nooit hebben ontmoet
grandfather’s last words
a small paper
thrown out of the train
headed for Auschwitz
pay the tailor’s bill  


grootvaders laatste woorden
een papiertje
gegooid uit de trein
richting Auschwitz
betaal de kleermaker 


between the rows
the birches
songs of sorrow
my dark mind  


tussen de rijen
de berken
mijn donkere geest 


follow the trail
nameless roots
resten as
volgen het spoor
naamloze afkomst 



the unthinkable
no traces left
carved in little stones
het onvoorstelbare
verdwenen sporen
in steen gebeiteld 

this precious present
apparently timeless
in a split second 


dit kostbare geschenk
schijnbaar tijdloos
in een oogwenk 



stop grieving
death does not exist
in the sky
we can see
all faces
wanhoop niet
de dood bestaat niet
boven in de lucht
zien wij
alle gezichten 


Impressions  –  Impressies
Joyce Frank    Edjo Frank
16 november 2010 


Herdenken in beton

trage regendruppels
langs het grijs beton
van herinneringen
botst deze monotonie
dit nietszijn
van ontbrekende namen
gevormde vormen
ontdaan van
de menselijke gestalte
geen benen
geen armen
slechts een hoekige romp
zonder hoofd
zonder ziel
de rechtlijnigheid
van het stenen verschil
tussen hoog en laag
groot en klein
in aantal niet te duiden
de harde betonnen
die niet te negeren
van planmatige precisie
gestuurde gedachten
elke verwijzing naar
de menselijke maat
zonder telbare eenheid
is het verleden
niet te bevatten
zonder lijnrechtigheid
geen ingang
geen doorgang
geen uitgang
van dit koudstenig labyrint
ontdoen wij ons
van beelden
die geen ogen verdragen
geen geluiden voortbrengen
anders dan
onze voetstappen
die niet hier zijn
zinloos tussen
onechte monumenten
zonder kleur
passen wij slecht
in deze roerloosheid
door de ontaarde geest
tot mathematische
tot niet aflatende
deze rechtgehoekte
deze harde
deze koude
deze betonnen
waar niet had moeten zijn

dit gedicht is geschreven – dwalend in het “Monument ter nagedachtenis aan de vermoorde Joden van Europa” – Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas – Berlijn, Berlin, 5 november 2010

Tragedies to Remember, a Tribute

Frontpage Poem book

The last days of August 2010 I finished this project that was strongly appealing to me for quite a long time.
The project consists of a series of Haiku poems, written in English, on the tragedy that encountered my relatives and the Jewish people as a whole during the Shoah.

I wanted to account for the dark history, during World War II that overcame my family and caused that I have never known my grand-parents and many other relatives.I wanted to pay a tribute to the life and merits of all of them, the greater p art of whom were massacred and the few that survived.

As a small boy I felt and knew instinctively that there was a strong reason why my questions remained unanswered. My mom and dad went undercover and participated in the resistance group around the illegal Dutch journal “Het Parool”. The two survived, taking with them a burden for life. They told me a lot of formal information and stories, mostly cleaned of the emotional load.

The important missing part – emotion – came much later, little by little, when my father had to be mentally treated by professor Bastiaanse and afterwards started to write down his memoirs in his books in a novelized way. And through the interviews and video tracks recorded by Steven Spielberg at my parents’ home for the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.
Until now my sister and I are puzzling to find missing links of relatives and their offspring.
Dordrecht, the Netherlands 31th August 2010.