Zooms with us a nice auburn buggy
Coated with shiny gold
Inside and beneath hubbub of heartbeats,
Since there is no end, or border ahead.
It rushes, gallops on the road forward
A large big bloody-red wave forms its cockpit
That is the faint red chaos.
Then the cruel fate pushes
I stand in the plains
Still admire with twisted, contorted smile
the spoiled mean world.
And my damnations yell dreadful with burden,
Painful and majestic thundering grief into the night.
I stood here forever,
I stand here not unlike a rude Quasimodo.
I see and hope; maybe I will live to see
To familiarize somewhat the readers with Otto Honig, I will have to take them back in time to 1942-1944 and in place to the city of Oradea, more precisely to the Dr. Kecskemethy Lyceum. This school was similar to an American High School, but with a more extensive curriculum, which enabled its graduates to be admitted directly to Medical School, Engineering, etc. There were 60 students in my graduating class, 16 girls and 44 boys.
Otto sat somewhere in the last row, where he could write his poems while teachers lectured about math, history, geography, subjects for which he did not care. We were lucky if he read us one of his poems, published under the pseudonym Otto Emil in the most respected Hungarian Literary Journal, HID (BRIDGE in English).
His friend and mentor was the later celebrated poet Imre Horvath. A film, entitled The Song of Fools is being made today in Oradea about Imre Horvath's life. It is my hope that it will include Otto Honig, whose young life came to an end in Auschwitz.
|George grew up in Oradea and was a student in Dr. Lipot Kecskemeti Jewish High School, class of 1944 - the last graduating class before the school was closed for good, in March 1944, following the German occupation of Hungary.
He was deported to Auschwitz with his mother, Margit, and 12-year-old brother, Pista. Seven concentration camps later, he was the only survivor of the three. His father, Nandor, who survived forced labor, encouraged him to become a doctor. He received his medical degree from Targu Mures Medical School. In 1964, he immigrated with his family to the USA, where he practiced as a psychiatrist.
Translation by Susan Geroe
|Christ's saintly shadow and Heine's devilish face
Are dancing before us on the road.
Amid laughter and sunshine, curses are tumbling.
With a big star marked atop the head,
The branded lot is charging ahead.
'Tis the chosen race: away and forward
Your blood, foreign a hundred times over,
Proud and pitiful lot, you can drop me
This tortured great Life belongs to us.
Every day a new distinction,
My days are heroic and cowardly.
Yet by night I can't ever figure out:
Why haven't they taken me yet to a mental institution?
My clothes are hanging loose,
This is the truth: doubled over, I stoop.
Canons and dictators lie in wait for me,
Like the leash restrains a dog,
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Updated 28 Apr 2012 by LA