BAYONNE, NJ - Elizabeth Hanna, a student at Bayonne High School, and the winner of the 2019 Colonel Anthony K. Podbieski Memorial Essay Contest, presented her original poem, An Honest Business, at Thursday's Holocaust Memorial Program hosted by the City of Bayonne.
Hanna's poem is reprinted with her permission:
Lies flow easy from the lips of those harrowed by war
Miisunderstandings come away from research
But a child, the testimony of a child, bears only honesty
Children thrown into a world created by adults have no business but the truth
Their entries are where we may find the undeniable
How can you deny Sami Steigmann age 2
Who as a toddler was poked and prodded till there was nearly nothing left
Who almost 75 years later still feels the remnants
is still affected by the medical experiments done onto him
He survived but he carries the burden everyday
How can you deny Lima E. age 5
who’s parents tried so desperately to protect her.
Who was too young to be met with the hungry eyes attacking her
ravaged by starvation and then ravaged by a man
biting at a girl who could not eat.
How can you deny Frima L. age 8
Who is reminded of being taken from home, each night that clouds come together and there is rain
Every bark brings her back to the ghettos
Even now as an old woman, she can’t walk the streets by herself
The memories will always be too vivid
How can you deny Blanka Rothschild age 11
Who’s home was reduced to rubble
The girl who wandered the streets alone, no clothes, no food, no mother
Who after the war looked hopefully to the prospect of seeing her family again
Only to find that The Final Solution had found them first
How can you deny Anne Frank age 14
Who could only seek solace in her writing
encumbered by the same thrills and tribulations of any girl her age
But forced to stuff them inside an attic, and even further into herself
until everything in and around her was found out
How can you deny Pierre Seel age 17
who wrote about finding honey on the lips of another boy
who’s love for him wrapped around every question mark until he was taken
Who’s flight to Switzerland granted him safety
but robbed him of the greatest love he ever had
How can you say that these 6 out of 3 million children affected by the Holocaust are not honest people?
How can you say that all of them are lying?
How could you possibly deny those, who’s only business is the truth?