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Poetry by Deborah Rey 

An Amsterdam native, Deborah Rey has worked in radio, television, theatre, scriptwriter, translator, actress, etc.
The Dutch Underground employed her as a "baby-courier", making her one of two Child Resistance Fighters for Holland.
She lives at the French Atlantic coast.



© 2006 Deborah Rey






Free the Soul mit Arbeit

I stood in front of
the glass cage
filled with locks
of blond, grey,
black, brown hair
and searched and searched
for just one tiny curl
of hers.
Hers? It was long
and blond and stood out
like a lion's mane,
the same as she.
I searched but did not
find it.

I stood and stared
at thousands
and more
pairs of shoes;
big shoes
small shoes and
tiny little shoes,
and searched and searched
for hers. Hers?
Brown, sturdy,
flat-heeled, sporty and
larger than her normal size
'cause of two pairs of socks
against the cold
I did not find them

I walked by the violins
and silver-handled
'cause she left
those with me
that night.
To remember her by,
she said.
She had to leave,
hoped to escape, survive.
The violin and the mirror
were taken from me
and sold for a bowl
of potatoes, and she?
She was betrayed.

Arbeit macht Frei
it says at the entrance
gate to hell and
knowing her, she did.
Work hard, I mean,
hoping to be free, return to me.
It did not help her
very much,though, but
if death means freedom
and peace, she got it.
I, too, am working hard.
I work like hell, 'cause
Arbeit macht Frei
it still tells me
today, a sad reminder.

Until I find one lock
of hair, one shoe, one tiny
something to remember
her by, and also
the place where she,
her body,
was thrown into a cadaver
pit and doused with lye,
until I can kneel and kiss
the grass, and talk to her,
I'll work like hell to free
my soul.
Arbeit macht Frei?
It does not help me
very much, as yet.





The Old Fool

In the old people's home
the man they call
'the old fool',
sits and stares
out the window
murmuring names
"Perl, Hannah, Yoisef,
Abba, Imma."

In the old people's home
no one knows where
he came from,
nor his name; his place
of birth and since he
won't speak and only
mutters those names
he is labeled a fool.

All they know at the home
and can sympathize with,
is the fact
he came back from
one of the camps;
the ones people rather
not hear, speak, or
think about.

They don't know at the home
he was first chosen to be
a Heizer, a stoker,
then one of the
the Kommandant ordered
to herd people into
the communal "washrooms",

take out the corpses
after a while, remove any
gold teeth, transport them
to the ovens and shove in
both his parents,
Perl, his wife,
Hannah and Yoisef,
his children.

In the old people's home
he sits and stares
out the window.
He is no bother to the staff.
He's just an old fool,
who insists on wearing
the blue and grey striped
uniform of days gone by.

Once, he had the choice
between life and death.
Then, when he wanted
to end his life, he was forced
to live. Live with his past.
He's waiting for his personal
He is called the "old fool",
he sits and stares, and
refuses to take a shower.







All work is property of Deborah Rey.




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