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

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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?