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Poetry: Karen Gershon

Karen Gershon

Karen Gershon, originally named Kaethe Loewenthal, was born in Bielefield, Germany in 1923. Her parents, both of whom died in the Holocaust, sent Karen to safety in England when Hitler came into power. While in England, Karen worked with Kindertransport (Children’s Transportation), where she transcribed the stories of young Germans who were fleeing Nazi Germany. She wrote numerous books about her experiences, including an autobiographical novel, The Bread of Exile. She died in Israel in 1993. [1]

To My Children

Others may pity me but you shall not be ashamed
how can I scorn the life which is all I have
I will not belittle the little that I have saved
by denying my childhood memories my love

How can I wish to undo the past which I am
though I beggared myself I would not become another
“the appalling Jewish experience” is my own
“the unknown victims” are my father and mother

Be proud of the beginning you have in me
be proud of how far I have wandered with this burden
I would value you less if I were not a refugee
your presence changes my wilderness to a garden

Cast Out

Sometimes I think it would have been
easier for me to die
together with my parents than
to have been surrendered by
them to survive alone

Sometimes it does not seem that they
spared me the hardest Jewish fate
since by sending me away
they burdened me and cast me out
and none suggested I should stay

When the Jews were branded there
was one number meant for me
that another had to bear
my perennial agony
is the brunt of my despair

Sometimes I feel I am a ghost
adrift without identity
what as a child I valued most
for ever has escaped from me
I have been cast out and am lost [2]


[1] “Karen Gershon.” Voices Education Project. Web. 02 May 2011.

[1] Ibid.

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Discussion

One thought on “Poetry: Karen Gershon

  1. She died in London at the London Chest Hospital.

    Posted by Liam Tripp | July 31, 2013, 11:30 am

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