Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Survivor





In 1939 a thirteen year old Jewish girl from Essen, Germany, - Anneliese Katz - arrived in England. Her parents had managed to send her there to stay with relations, but they themselves could not emigrate, and were murdered in Chelmno, Poland, five years later. Anneliese went to school, then trained to be a nurse. She met, and married, a Sri Lankan Post-graduate and settled down with him in Sri Lanka. In 1956 she became a Sri Lankan citizen. She later became a poet and writer. She was sent to England in "kindertransport", used widely at that time to transport children to safety, when she was thirteen. When she was eighteen, she found out that her parents had been killed. She is considered to be a survivor of the Holocaust... The pain and anguish caused by the Holocaust is potrayed often in her poems. Her poems are depressing, sad. It was her form of expressing herself.

This same person is coming to my school on Tuesday. We're supposed to ask her at least six questions, because we're doing in-depth research about the Holocaust. I can't think of any one question to ask her. Not because I don't know the facts but because I don't know what to say to her. So... any ideas?

Here is a little taste of her work: (Google Anne Ranasinghe for more info)

The Night Of The Tropical Storm

by Anne Ranasinghe

The night of the tropical storm
vaulting sheets of rain

tore through the trees, driven by a wind

so fierce that their high leafy crowns
twisted and tangled as they swayed and bent
under green forks of lightning.
Strangely they all survived


except my more than bush and not yet tree

grown from a seed found in the royal pleasure garden,

its blossom candles flickering red fire

among the feathery foliage
and swinging spiky long brown pods.

There was a regal glory

about this glowing bush against the mossy wall.


The morning after

I found its slumped, shapeless pitiful -

dead at my feet, blossoms already withered,

its naked roots protruding shamelessly

from the ripped soil. A rain-washed sun

shed honey-colour light
while squirrels played
wild games through splintered branches


cracking the pods and scattering small hard seeds.


I Speak

by Anne Ranasinghe

I Speak
not with the language of those
who know all the answers
but with the words of the helpless
searching for images

that drift through memory
to make a home-coming
out of exile.

For even in the promised land

I am a stranger.


Eternal fugitive

from a native landscape
I carry with me

the marks of all my sojourns

the tension
between past and present

and guilt

at breaking tradition:

betrayal of the generations.

No one can restore

what has been lost.


It is in forgetting

that we can live our daily lives

but we must survive

in order to remember.


4 comments:

Mithe said...

I don't know whether she will know about this or not-
I have really been meaning to ask this of someone as soon as I read Anne frank-
were the gas chambers really there?(actually I don't believe anyone can be so barbaric-I want to have it confirmed from an actual person)
try asking that for me nyra..
both the poems were poignant

Now said...

if i got the chance i would like to ask this question, it may seen a little harsh or political but i would love to ask it to a holocaust survivor.
""When the Nazis killed innocent jews it was named the holocaust, and today the jews (israel) is targeting innocent civilians of palestine, dont you think this is another holocause??""

*~*Ryn*~* said...

mithe: The gas chambers were actually there. There were usually in the death camps in Poland, and the one in Germany called Auschwitz. People were taken there and stripped of their clothing and a number was tattooed to their wrist. They were asked to do hard labour. Then, every day or week a Doctor Guy came along and picked the people who looked the weakest and unhealthiest to go to the gas chambers so that they could be gassed. This was said to be because the unhealthy and weak wouldn't be able to provide hard labour. It was usually the children and old people who were gassed at first.

I think she would know about it because her parents were both gassed.

Any other questions??

*~*Ryn*~* said...

Now: That would actually be a good question. I'll have to run it through everybody else and I'll let you know (if we do ask that) what the answer is.. okies? :)