How by Abraham Sutzkever Essay

1024 Words 5 Pages
How by Abraham Sutzkever

When Abraham Sutzkever wrote “How?” in February 1943, he was only seven months from his own freedom, yet the ghetto itself was still one year and five months from emancipation. Yet his portrayal of “the day of Liberation” appears very similar to a day in the Nazi ghettos, where time is extended through pain, devastation, and fear. The only difference felt is the frustration of their memories and their powerlessness to proceed past the hatred and pain that were connected to the deaths of thousands, both literally and figuratively. These dark memories are not forgotten by time, and his imagined survival of the Jews appears bleak and tedious; the pain and gloom of their experiences overshadowing their
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Because these dead are congealed into a bottomless pit within one’s dark scream from their past, then they too, are dead. Since the murdered from their past are now a part of the living, loss of identity and despair stay embedded in their memories for life. For those who lived through the ghettos and camps, reaching Sutzkever’s imagined liberation, were faced with “jammed locks,” blocking them from their once normal lives. Behind locked door lies their true selves, or individuality, which was locked by the repression and dehumanization of their culture. Once free, the memories time won’t forget continue to block the entrance. “And your memory will be like/ An old buried city. / Your eternal gaze will crawl/ Like a mole, like a mole.” These lines reflects a darkness that never allows the hidden memories to escape. A buried city is full, intact but stagnant and unmoved with no where to go. By comparing one’s memory to this, Sutzkever is making a powerful statement regarding the ramifications of the Holocaust’s terror. Since the memories are buried, they can hardly be removed, causing one to eternally acknowledge them. This acknowledgement crawls slowly like the dark mole due to the severity and depth of the Nazi’s immorality; the cliché “time flies when you’re having fun” works both ways. Consequently, “buried” and “mole” both reflect the theme of being hidden, either in one’s memory, or from the regularity of life after the Holocaust. Through

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