Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Holocaust Memorial, Portland, OR

On a wall of the Holocaust Memorial in Washington Park, amongst the pine trees which overlook the city of Portland, Oregon, a short verse is inscribed in stone. Written in 1943 by a nine-year-old girl imprisoned at Sachsenhausen, the four lines read:

Once upon a time there was Elzunia
Dying all alone
Because her daddy is in Majdanek
And in Auschwitz her mommy.

AUGUST 2016 UPDATE: Below is a sketch of a young girl submitted by Jules D. The drawing, bearing the name "Elzunia," was found in an antique store in Kraków, Poland a couple decades ago. It seems likely that it is a tribute to the girl whose poem is inscribed on the Holocaust Memorial, and thus is a moving accompaniment to this post. I thank Jules for allowing me to post it here.


alan abrams said...

A crumpled, upturned steamer trunk lies at the head of a black cobble path. Across the path is a toddler's shoe. I must squat to touch the strap of the trunk—no, it’s not leather, it’s bronze, like the shoe—and the smashed violin, mangled eyeglasses, and trampled prayer book--strewn along the cobbles that leads to a semicircular black granite wall.

A rock, under which is buried ashes from Chelmno, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Majdanek, and Auschwitz-Birkenau, anchors the right end of the wall.

Nearby stands a fir tree whose trunk I cannot span with outstretched arms. I am beyond weeping.

Jmhouse said...

Thank you very much for your moving tribute to the memorial. The city of Portland has indeed created an important monument which is all the more powerful for its seeming simplicity.

Best Regards,


rufus said...

20 years ago i found a sketch in a Cracow antique shop. It was entitled "Elzunia". Today I decided to Google the name and I have learned of this Holocaust story. heart-rendering. perhaps the drawing was a visual elegy to that little girl.
Is there a way to download images to this site?

jules defelices

jmhouse said...

Jules, that is *very* interesting. I would very much like to see this drawing. Unfortunately, there is no way for you to add an image to the site directly. However, please click the "view my complete profile" link at the top right of the page and you'll find my e-mail address. If you e-mail me some pictures of the drawing I will add them myself.

Since this is so intriguing I would like to add documentation of the drawing to the main body of the post itself so that people do not miss it.

Thanks for getting in touch and I hope to hear from you soon. JM