Sonia Weitz was born in Kraków, Poland. She was 11 years old when her family and other Polish Jews were herded into ghettos by the Nazis. Of the 84 members of her extended family, she and her sister Blanca were the only survivors of years in ghettos and concentration camps during the Holocaust. At an early age, she turned to poetry to help her cope with her emotions. Years after the Holocaust, Weitz wrote the poem “For Yom Ha’Shoah.” Yom Ha’Shoah is Hebrew for “Day of Holocaust Remembrance.”

Come, take this giant leap with me
into the other world . . . the other place
where language fails and imagery defies,
denies man’s consciousness . . . and dies
upon the altar of insanity.

Come, take this giant leap with me
into the other world . . . the other place
and trace the eclipse of humanity . . .
where children burned while mankind stood by
and the universe has yet to learn why
. . . has yet to learn why.1

    Citations

Connection Questions

  1. What does this poem mean to you? What questions does it raise for you?
  2. Sonia Weitz has been called “a survivor with a poet’s eye.” How can poetry deepen one’s study of the Holocaust? What can we learn from poetry that more traditional historical accounts might not capture?
  3. Re-read the poem and highlight the verbs Weitz uses. How do the verbs help to intensify her description of “the other world”?
  4. Do you think that Weitz believes it is possible to understand the horrors of the Holocaust? What can we gain by studying the brutality of the Holocaust? 

Related Content

Reading
Holocaust

Choiceless Choices

Consider the experiences of Jewish prisoners who were forced to help German guards murder other prisoners. 

Print book,
Ebook,
PDF
Holocaust

I Promised I Would Tell

Survivor Sonia Schreiber Weitz bears witness to the Holocaust through poetry and testimony in this powerful memoir.

Lesson
Holocaust

The Holocaust

Through an interactive lecture, students learn how incremental steps led to the horrendous crimes committed during the Holocaust.

DVD
Holocaust

Present Memories

Six Holocaust survivors tell their stories of living under the Nazis, providing a narrative of events spanning from the prewar years, to the end of WWII, to freedom.

Search Our Collection

Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.