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[Pages 40-42]

In the Words of a Helmec Poet

by Prerau Kaposi Margit

(Translated into English by A. E.)

We are pleased to publish some poems, also freely translated, from Hungarian into English, written by one of the well known Helmec-born poet, Prerau Margit, in which she expresses her pain, her feeling of horror and her experiences in the death camps. In her pre-war poetry, Margit fiercely defends the rights of the underprivileged and the working class. She ends a poem written in the 30s, describing her birthplace (in Hungarian):
Kiralyhelmec: here I was born, here I live,
My poverty binds me to this place,'
Though I feel in my blood the burning allure
of the great world.
You are like all small towns;
You strangle our grand feverish dreams".
All the same, or perhaps deeply disappointed, just like other survivors of the Holocaust, she, too, left Helmec and settled abroad.

Europe's Negroes

The thing which has been is surely that which shall be
In Europe I cannot live, among people who killed a nation.
I always have to think, whose hands are stained with blood?
What was is not an untraceable past…

It was enough to be Europe's Negro, hated, accused
and persecuted. What was shook my innermost being.

There are things that cannot be made good.
I hate vengeance which makes man even more despicable
than the beast of the primeval forests.

Thanks for the good and the bad to the peoples
From whose midst I was driven away, with whom I breathed the same air
and shared the bread
and to those whom the earth nursed together
to them, special thanks…

Factory Chimneys

He who sent me to earth to see and look,
to be a witness when called upon,
To Him I confess, though
my faith is no more than a wish;
but as an eye-witness I shall truly recount what I experienced.

Human life passed through the factory chimneys as smoke,
and the flame burnt the cool, gray sky,
Hell-fire burnt there day and night,
The charred human hearts hit the sky with flames striking the heavens.

I looked, saw and trembled, panic stricken,
The earth was unfeeling, heaven without compassion,
Our torturers, evildoers who rejoiced together;
Above Auschwitz there is a large question-mark, 0 Lord.

My Sisters
The girls of Kiralyhelmec,

They were dragged away and did not return,
Their fallen names, flower blossoms,
They were young,
innocent, beautiful,
clean like the dew from heaven.

Dark evil trampled their blossoming tender life,
Kisses of love did not burn them,
neither did they taste a child's giggle.

We who endured together in the depths,
in the grip of hunger,
shared the narrow resting place,
We are together, living in my heart. Common pain, shared suffering consecrated us
to sisterhood for ever.

0 orange flower, place scented crowns on their
martyred forehead,
Clouds, spread out a glittering bed and fluttering
veils on their hips,
Trailing branches, archangel brides, hug them in your arms.

Teutonic Riders

Above us the leaden gray sky and the pouring rain
densely descending for hours
we are kneeling in the clayey mud
They were forced to their knees by the scourging whips,
the young women prisoners.
On our shoulders, breasts and backs
blood-red stripes
and the Teutonic riders are watching their deeds with joy
from their defended fortress — wooden huts
watching us whom they have beaten to the ground
and the waters of the heavy downpour
mingled with the tears of the young girls.

Our cracked dewy skin-flesh
became smeared with mud, tears and blood.
0 Teutonic riders, in their heads the steam
of blood-filth instead of brain
Our young men no more able to defend
those already lying on the ground
murdered by hunger, rodents and frost.

Auschwitz, 1944

[Page 43-44]


by A. E.

Translated by Moshe Shavit

(From "Zidovske Ndbozenske Obce na Slovensku" Jewish Congregations in Slovakia,
original Slovakian, published by VESNA, Bratislava, 1991 (pp. 430-31).

The above reliable publication gives some useful information for the preservation of what remained, a torso of what had existed before the destruction of the Jewish communities in Slovakia. In 1930, Jews lived there in 2262 out of 3589 localities. Of the 138,000 Jews who had lived there in 1930, 108,000 were tortured to death.

On Helmec: The congregation was founded at the beginning of the 19th century. The Hevra Kadisha was established in 1852 and the oldest tombstone dates from l872. Among the members who played distinguished roles in the community were Josef Klein, Hugo Tannebaum, Dr Edmund Hilf, Menhard Braum and Josef Friedman as well as the large landowner, Dr. Fuchs. The size of the Synagogue, built of bricks and stone in 1850, was 20meters by 11 meters. The cemetery, in the north of the town, is 150 m long and 40-60 m wide. The Beth Hamidrash was erected in 1888, mainly with the support of Lazar Östreicher. The congregation also had a miqwe and from 1900, a Talmud Torah with 60 pupils. 46 students studied in the Yeshiva. Here again, the author names the founding fathers and states that, initially, the congregation received services from the Satoraljaujhely rabbinate. The three Rabbis who led the congregation where Mordechai and Josef Wald and the last one, Viliam Glattstein, all perished in the concentration camp. It is also noted that 67 Helmec Jews fought in the First World War and that 1,200 Jews were deported in the Second World War.

kra079.jpg [41 KB]
Population Table in English

[Page 45]

Pictorial Supplement

kra080.jpg [22 KB]
General View of Helmec from the “Kishegy”

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