Donia Zinman from Mezirich
wrote the poem in December, 1941
AFTER THE SLAUGHTER IN THE CITY
died in the first "action" in Mezirich in May, 1942.
I can no longer stay quiet.
I must write about the murder
So that the memory of the horror will stay forever.
And if I am able to stay alive,
Then I will read the lines
And remember the days of suffering
Even during the days of happiness.
And if heaven forbid no
We are forced
From the tree of life.
Will you people be able to support me
And by consoling our grieving,
Which increases and stays whole
That my fear will always be present?
And if I am always silent
On the cushion of so many wings?
On the pure blood of Jews,
That was spilt like water?
And was plucked in the hatred of life?
Oh, our dear G-d, the revenge!
The wonder of your strikes against people
Who changed from the living
To the murderers of babies!
Memorial address at the ceremony of the delegation of Mezerich Survivors in
Israel who visited, on August 25,1995 the graves of their great brethren,
children of ("greater Mezerich" and its environs in the valley of
We shall forever remember the people of our town, Mezerich, a faithful city of
holy and pure people who were tortured and murdered at the hands of the enemy
and oppressor on Shavuot and Sukkot (5702-5703), 1942 in the fields of
Nevirkov. My heart, my heart goes out to you my dear parents, brothers, and
sisters, men, women and children who were cut down at the root without mercy.
You were destroyed in the glory of your fresh blossoming, and you were cut off
from the book of life at an early age and for no purpose.
Openly, in broad daylight, they persecuted you and harvested the harvest of
your last breath. Heaven and earth did not tremble in the wake of the
abominable sin. They all concealed your spilled blood. You were murdered though
you were sinless, only because you were Jews. You were led to the slaughter and
no man came to your aid. The evil closed in on you from all sides.
You fell dead, sacrificed on the fiery altar of Jew-hatred that burned within
your neighbors, and you were not even given a Jewish burial. You were flung
into the dark pits while there was still breath in your nostrils. With your
dear lives and with your blood, you paid, to the enemies of the Jews, the price
they demanded of you for the "hospitality" you enjoyed in the foreign
land in which you lived, and the fruit of your great labour was stolen from you
together with your precious lives.
You, who were beloved and pleasant in your lifetime, fulfilled the 613
commandments. You never faltered in your faith to Torah and Mitzvot and the Ten
Commandments. You loathed violence and brute force as a solution to the
sufferings of persecution. You yearned for justice and righteousness. Indeed, in
all innocence you believed that man was created in the image of G-d and you
believed in his superiority over the animal. That you were deceived was a blow
Precious Jews, upright, generous of heart, you were charitable and kind. No one
ever died of hunger within your gate. Your houses were open wide and you were
welcoming and hospitable. At your tables you had a place for the poor, and you
shared your black bread with every guest who happened by. You gave support to
hewho was stumbling, you reached out to help him. You were a faithful support
to the orphan and the widow in their plight. You established institutions of
charity and loving kindness. For example, you collected money for the needy,
distributed food for Pesach, provided for a needy bride and cared for the sick.
For generations, you upheld the ongoing tradition in the spirit of the Torah
and of Judaism, with all of its stringency and its commandments. In this spirit
you educated your sons and daughters. You guarded against assimilation and
boundaries of your communities, and with all your efforts you preserved your
Jewish consciousness. You were the watchmen of the walls of the Eternal of
From the windows of your houses there shone forth the precious light which
kindled the Shabbat candles and which infused you with hope and wise counsel.
Your holidays and festivals, although they appeared to be filled with sadness
and gloom, did in fact, cast their glow of noble pleasantness on all of you.
From your homes there burst forth the sweet sounds of your songs. You made your
Jewish personalities apparent on the corners of your garments and through your
unique attire that you wore. Also, your beards and your earlocks attested to
your origins. Even in your tasty food you were distinguished from your
More generations than one can count, you lived on alien soil, but you raised
scholars, devisors of the Halacha, and knowledgeable intellectuals. The beit
midrash was the meeting place for wisdom and Torah, as well as a place for
prayer and song. There you communed with G-d, with profound spirituality, and
you poured out before him the supplications of your hearts. From there, you
drew your spiritual strength in your everyday life, and it was your fortress
against the suffering and the distress that was often visited upon you. In the
synagogue, you raised issues and you searched for solutions among yourselves
and within yourselves. And with it all, you focused on matters that. were of
You did not oppose with blind fanaticism the enlightened secular knowledge that
penetrated your boundaries, and you moved from the cheder to the modern school
to educate your sons and daughters. Similarly, did you support with the
fullness of your funds and your gifts, the building of Eretz Yisrael and the
redemption of its land.
In your daily affairs, you conducted yourselves as simple people, as good-
hearted people who were proud of their Judaism. Physically, being healthy and
strong, you grew like a tree and like the flower of the surrounding field. The
beauty of the landscape and the charm of nature in which you were born, and in
which you grew up, were reflected in you. Your temperament was, similarly, a
source of glory.
Your sources of income were meager, and only a very few had a bit of luxury.
The small business and the work in which you were occupied did not provide you
with extras. In your dwelling places and in the yards of your small homes you
kept an animal such as a cow or goat or chicken. Your families were large and
blessed with children. Your homes hummed with the noise and laughter of your
many children. You were blessed with parents, with children, with
grandchildren, with the glory of elders and the greatness of wise people.
The canvas cannot contain the treasures of wisdom and morality that were
concealed within you, the crown and the glory of Judaism. You were like a small
pearl set in the
string of Jewish communities in Poland and in the district of Vohlin, and now
you are no more.
What else is left for me to say, to penetrate your precious memories 53 years
after you were cut off from life. Your fate was sealed with the fate of the
great Jewish community of Europe that was destroyed by the Nazi oppressors and
their evil collaborators during
the Second World War, in the period of the Shoah.
By Israel Zinnan
This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc.
and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and
destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied,
sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be
reserved by the copyright holder.
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.
Yizkor Book Project
JewishGen Home Page
Yizkor Book Director, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Lance Ackerfeld
Copyright © 1999-2021 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 6 July 2002 by LA