Reading 1

Take This Giant Leap

This reading is available in two formats: original and Spanish. Please select the version you wish to read using the dropdown below.

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


    Da Este Enorme Salto Conmigo

    Sonia Weitz nació en Cracovia, Polonia. Tenía 11 años cuando su familia y otros judíos polacos fueron llevados en masa a los guetos por parte de los nazis. De los 84 miembros de su familia lejana, ella y su hermana Blanca fueron las únicas sobrevivientes de los años en los guetos y campos de concentración durante el Holocausto. A temprana edad, recurrió a la poesía para lidiar con sus emociones. Años después del Holocausto, Weitz escribió el poema “Al Yom Ha’Shoah”. Yom Ha’Shoah en hebreo significa “Día del recuerdo del Holocausto”.

    Ven, da este enorme salto conmigo
    al otro mundo. . . a ese lugar
    donde el lenguaje falla y el imaginario se resiste,
    niega la consciencia del hombre. . . y muere
    en el altar de la insensatez.

    Ven, da este enorme salto conmigo
    al otro mundo. . . a ese lugar
    y sigue el eclipse de la humanidad. . .
    donde los niños son quemados mientras la humanidad se mantiene ajena
    y el universo aún no sabe por qué
    . . . aún no sabe por qué.1


      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? 

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