Who were you?  Tradesmen? Capitalists? Rabbis, Priests, Cantors long ago?

When the Red Army came did you throw flowers?  Did you turn in the policeman?  Did the policeman abuse you?

Did you cheer when the Polish Governor and his family were deported?

Were you deported Great Uncle Chachmed?  Or did you give your department store to the new workers and peasants state?  Did your children join the Reds?  Did your cousins?  If you were deported, what did they think?

What happened to the workers in Nieswies for twenty years?  Were the Reds thrown in prison?  Tortured, blacklisted, exiled?  Who was beaten, who was raped, who was killed, who was tortured, on behalf of the Pani?

Or did you look fondly back at the Poles?  Some of you made money.  Most of you had no power.

When the Reds came, who deserved to be deported?  Who deserved to die?  Who deserved to be shot and who deserved to be beaten to death?  Who were the real exploiters, the torturers, the killers?

 

Were you glad when the Radziwills fled?  Where you glad when the Governor and his family were deported?

How many of you rounded up the wicked for deportation?  Who among you shot the oppressors?  Who among you beat them to death?  Did you kill the wrong person?  On purpose?

Nevertheless, your actions, I can only infer from the enemies’ accounts, make me glad that you did your part, right for the most part, maybe wrong at times, but

Did you know that you and your brothers, your sisters, your aunts, your uncles, your cousins, your friends, your children would be shot in two years?  Were you racing the clock before it all ended?

Before your civilization, from Israel, from Palestine, through Spain and Italy and Bavaria, then 800 years in Belarus, the talmud, the shul, di tsaddikim, the usury, the tax farming, narodna volya, anarchism, the bund, the second international, zionism, the third international,

 

Before your civilization, before it all came to an end for you

 

In the Radziwill’s park, shot.

First the children, shot dead and half-dead

While their parents watched

and were shot in turn.

 

But I guess you were not just murdered you were not just an innocent

lamb led to the slaughter

like a thousand liberal fantasy nightmares

but you killed and deported the enemy before your death

 

maybe you even committed murder

 

but you died Red soldiers

for a cause

a cause that still lives today

after the fall

 

The people above ground

a short century later

in the towns and cities where you fought and died

have not accepted that there is no alternative

have not accepted the murderers’ friends

 

still

 

not yet

 

it is thanks to you

your civilization vanished

you and your people no more

 

Some years after your death

the great deformed savior came back

smote the iniquitous again

reburied you

 

We are sorry but the people needed your tombstones to build houses

For the murderers and their friends had laid waste to your former land

I hope you might be happy to know that they called your resting place

Park Slavy Komsomola

in your honor

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