Warning : highly disturbing images
By Yevgeni Yevtushenko
Translated by Benjamin Okopnik, 10/96
No monument stands over Babi Yar.
A steep cliff only, like the rudest headstone.
I am afraid.
Today, I am as old
As the entire Jewish race itself.
I see myself an ancient Israelite.
I wander o’er the roads of ancient Egypt
And here, upon the cross, I perish, tortured
And even now, I bear the marks of nails.
It seems to me that Dreyfus is myself. *1*
The Philistines betrayed me – and now judge.
I’m in a cage. Surrounded and trapped,
I’m persecuted, spat on, slandered, and
The dainty dollies in their Brussels frills
Squeal, as they stab umbrellas at my face.
I see myself a boy in Belostok *2*
Blood spills, and runs upon the floors,
The chiefs of bar and pub rage unimpeded
And reek of vodka and of onion, half and half.
I’m thrown back by a boot, I have no strength left,
In vain I beg the rabble of pogrom,
To jeers of “Kill the Jews, and save our Russia!”
My mother’s being beaten by a clerk.
O, Russia of my heart, I know that you
Are international, by inner nature.
But often those whose hands are steeped in filth
Abused your purest name, in name of hatred.
I know the kindness of my native land.
How vile, that without the slightest quiver
The antisemites have proclaimed themselves
The “Union of the Russian People!”
It seems to me that I am Anna Frank,
Transparent, as the thinnest branch in April,
And I’m in love, and have no need of phrases,
But only that we gaze into each other’s eyes.
How little one can see, or even sense!
Leaves are forbidden, so is sky,
But much is still allowed – very gently
In darkened rooms each other to embrace.
-“No, fear not – those are sounds
Of spring itself. She’s coming soon.
Quickly, your lips!”
-“They break the door!”
-“No, river ice is breaking…”
Wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar,
The trees look sternly, as if passing judgement.
Here, silently, all screams, and, hat in hand,
I feel my hair changing shade to gray.
And I myself, like one long soundless scream
Above the thousands of thousands interred,
I’m every old man executed here,
As I am every child murdered here.
No fiber of my body will forget this.
May “Internationale” thunder and ring *3*
When, for all time, is buried and forgotten
The last of antisemites on this earth.
There is no Jewish blood that’s blood of mine,
But, hated with a passion that’s corrosive
Am I by antisemites like a Jew.
And that is why I call myself a Russian!
The depth of how low anyone can sink..proves that nothing is new under the Ukraine sun. I have no idea how there are human beings who behave in such a despicable way…
I thought i would share this because it is vital that we realise that culture is a great force in shaping a reality and in deciding what is allowed and what is permitted and there are too many cultures where anything goes giving rise to particularly sick individuals . ..
Today the Israeli national news reported of a new disturbing crime: grave robbing of jewish victims of the holocaust in Ukraine.
“Graves of Holocaust victims looted, desecrated across Ukraine
Looters dig up mass graves of Holocaust victims, desecrate remains in search for gold teeth and jewelry.
Marker of Jewish grave desecrated by lootersMarker of Jewish grave desecrated by lootersPress release
The remains of Jews murdered during the Holocaust have become the target of grave robbers across the Ukraine, say local Jews, who claim the phenomenon has become common in recent years.
Mass graves, where the bodies of Jews slaughtered by the Nazis and their allies were buried, are increasingly being desecrated by looters hoping to find gold teeth or jewelry among the skeletons of Holocaust victims.
Remains of Holocaust victims desecrated by grave robbers Press release
“Unfortunately, in the Ukraine there are many mass graves which are not sufficiently protected, where thousands of Jews were executed during the Holocaust,” said Michael Yehudanin, President of the European Forum of Russian-speaking Jews.
Yehudanim says that while efforts are being made to protect the remains of Holocaust victims, the struggle against grave robbers is an uphill battle.
“Seventy years after these terrible murders, their graves are being desecrated and looted. These crimes are absolutely inhuman. We are trying to strengthen the graves, to bring order, and clearly mark the mass graves so their significance is known and understood. Unfortunately there is only so much we can do and there are many graves, as well as many grave-robbers. ”
Yehudanin has been aided in his efforts by Dr. Dimitry Shiglik, a Ukrainian born businessman and President of the American Forum of Russian-speaking Jews. Both have invested in projects aimed at protecting the graves of Holocaust victims from desecration and looting. As the severity of the crimes and audacity of looters increase, however, Shiglik and Yehudanim say both local authorities and Jewish communities abroad must play a larger role in fighting grave-robbing.
Outside of the cities of Berdychiv and Zhytomyr, they note, dozens of mass graves have been desecrated in recent years. Some grave robbers have even removed remains to sell on Ukrainian markets as gruesome souvenirs, including skulls.
“We call on the Jewish communities and their leaders to join this struggle and take a more active role in protecting these mass Jewish graves in order to prevent their desecration, and call for severe punishments for the criminals,” said Shiglik.”
I wish i could go to Ukraine and guard those places myself, somehow something must be done..it can not be allowed that such crimes continue even after the people murdered …it is beyond horror. It must stop. I will write the jewish agency a letter about this , even if ignored, we can not allow this to continue .