“To Die” A Poem by Hannah Senesh With Commentary & Memories

People ask me why, as a Native American, I have such an interest in Germany. They ask me, some after they’ve made a derogatory comment about the country, on why I choose to live here. And my reasons would probably be questioned and condemned by yet more others when I reference an occurence during WW2, an execution no less, as to why I always felt a connection. This extended to connected to those suffering the after-effects, whatever nationality or race they are.

In my area where I grew up in the US after returning there from Germany, it was near a large military base which wasn’t as generally frequently by troops as it was more a specialist area, yet there were many wives and children who were attached to military men. There was one woman I knew, when I was about nine years old, who had married an American soldier shortly following the Allied takeover ofNazi Germany and its annexed territories. Though some think of Army (or other military wives as being so fortunate as liberated by Americans) she was a German who was Jewish who survived the war, but like many still today, people were ignorant and couldn’t differentiate between certain things: Nazi or German, or Jewish yet still German.

She married an American as a very young girl who’d lost all her family and moved to the US, yet her husband, whenever he was in his cups, which was frequent, chose to abuse her for her countrymen and their list of sins. Countrymen and women who had rejected her as being German based on a new regime’s declaration, along with the many Germans who were Jewish and had lived, worked and battled for Germany for hundreds of years.  The same ones who agree to have their own ethnically linked people who were declared unworthy, to then be destroyed.

When my Korean amah, who was herself an Army wife, used to visit this woman, they would talk. I remember the German Jewish woman with her heavily grey streaked brown hair and large brown eyes as she would try not to cry at first…but tears would soon stream down her face. I wasn’t supposed to move from my place or speak to interfere in adult conversation, but it hurt me so much because I wished to comfort her.  I wanted to understand more than I did, and this prompted me to begin my studies in 19th and 20th century Europe, especially Germany, and inevitably as it morphed into the Nazi states and the Holocaust.

So, I live in Germany now, and though some people question how relevant the events of 70 years ago are still today? That is a question which is pertinent but obviously from someone who does not live in Germany. And even if they did, they might not fully understand any answers, unless they spoke German and had been trusted to listen to personal memories in a certain way. Or most especially even if they came into any sessions of any kind with preconceived ideas of guilt, even to descendants, without being willing to listen.

The film, “Hannah’s War” was released in 1988, the story of a Hungarian Jewess who lived through the rising horror, joined the resistance, yet eventually died from a firing squad after being captured as a paratrooper and valiantly refusing to give up pertinent information under extreme torture. We have films like Schindler’s List, Sophie’s War, and Life is Beautiful, all telling important, horrifically important stories, but don’t forget those like this young woman, or to read the journals and stories of those whose words survived, because for me…it is so…I can barely take a breath to consider it: there were millions upon millions of brillant, wonderful people who were murdered. One such as Hannah Senesh, also written Hannah Szenes and others depending on language.The world cannot reverse in time, but just consider that of those millions of millions in the Holocaust and wars of the 20th century, of those minds and people who might have studied and lived and produced cures for this or that disease; who might have brought a new age of Renaissance to mankind, but generations were wiped out!

Please visit the site Hannah Senesh for more poetry and do not think of such things as “past”, for  just like the Holocaust, the American Indian genocide is never past. With my own peoples and their cultures, not only in a way to see a people as inferior but also to steal the land they inhabited, as in Ray Cook said in his article on ICTMN, the U.S. goverment “has refused to find a place in its history to accommodate the ones who gave the most to America’s existence, either by friendship or by force” finding themselves to be “selfish in its hunger, unreliable in keeping its agreements and disrespectful to those they don’t understand.”

Certainly I do not represent or support anyone, however connected to the events, to always seek some kind of compensation, especially monetary, but the fact is, especially in the case of the U.S. government they don’t acknowledge what they did and the damage it did and continues to do. This backs self-serving groups, especially hate or separatist groups or evolutionists who believe they are right in what they claim or try to enact.

Please read her other poetry and the stories of others, of all races, all countries, both old and new and let it help you be a better person and human who cares to help others instead of just dismissing anyone or any group that doesn’t just believe and look like you do for whatever reason, even if you disagree with them for some reason. That’s what gotten our world into the state it is in.

To Die

To die… so young to die… no, no, not I.
I love the warm sunny skies,
Light, songs, shining eyes,
I want no war, no battle cry –
No, no…not I.
But if it must be that I live today
With blood and death on every hand,
Praised be He for the grace, I’ll say
To live, if I should die this day…
Upon your soil, my home, my land.

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