University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


  • Saul Balagura :
  • I Did See You

    Saul Balagura - I Did See You

    A figure sliding silently
    over consecrated ground
    as if not wanting to impose
    on the arriving eyes,
    passed me like
    gentle breeze
    on a warm evening,
    or even better,
    like the breeze at six
    when I stood on my mountain
    looking at the horizon
    expecting to see it all.
    How could I fathom
    that that same horizon
    was shadowing
    in its dark cloak
    the death of mankind.

    Trees shattered by shrapnel,
    scattered little corpses of small
    their wings fluttering
    on that same gentle breeze,
    and him passing by me silently.

    You think I never saw you,
    but how could I have missed
    haggard body,
    striped oversized suit,
    neck emanating from a collar
    marked Buchenwald,
    a cap covering your shrinking
    and those giant ears
    that made you look like a clown
    in that horrible circus of death,
    barbwire and rot.

    I never got to see
    your face,
    you were too quick for me,
    who stood there,
    paralyzed in an eternal cloud
    of agonizing standstill
    absorbing odors,
    and pictures
    that I could have never
    imaged when I stood
    on the other side of the horizon
    thousands of miles
    and a childhood away.

    Saul Balagura