15-year-old Mitchell Brown’s Holocaust poem

15-year-old Mitchell Brown

Introduction: We received a call from subscriber Joe Brown in Toronto, who was very proud of his 15-year-old grandson Mitchell, for having composed a Holocaust-themed poem. Joe sent us the poem and, although I said to him that I wasn’t sure we had enough space to print it in its entirety in the newspaper, I assured Joe we would post it to our website.
But, I told Joe I wanted to know more about Mitchell, so he contacted Mitchell and asked him to get in touch with me.

When I spoke with Mitchell, I asked him to describe how he had come to write his poem. What follows is the explanation Mitchell sent us.
“My name is Mitchell Brown and I've always had a passion for writing. Through my schooling, my teachers have encouraged me to begin to share my writing with other readers and use my words to spread meaning. So, I decided to take a plain old school assignment in history class and share powerful emotions and words on a very serious and difficult topic. The result was my Holocaust poem titled "A Mothers Nightmare in Auschwitz Death Camp." I decided to make this poem a reflective piece to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. I feel so disappointed when peers my age have little knowledge of the tragedies of the Holocaust, and I feel that it is the job of the youth to have a voice and spread awareness on important topics such as the Holocaust. I've learned throughout my writing the most powerful tool to spread messages and share emotions is through words. My poem follows a mother and her two children as they enter Auschwitz death camp, a common narrative that too many innocent Jewish families underwent. The poem captures the emotions and thoughts that this family experienced.”

"A Mother’s Nightmare in Auschwitz Death Camp"

By Mitchell Brown 
 
Hilda felt confusion 
Where are we she wondered 
Why are we here she pondered  
She and her two boys exited the cattle car  
Why are we being grouped up 
 
A menacing building appeared in front of Hilda 
A large factory she thought as big as a city 
A huge city 
With the words Arbeit Macht frei 
She knows that means work sets you free 
Am I working 
Why do I need to be set free 
She asked questions  
She thought the worse 
Her heart was pounding  
The ground she stood on felt rock hard like stone 
Scared and numb she felt 
Cold and anxious  
 
Screams so loud  
It looked like a place from a nightmare 
What they are creating in this factory  
Smog coming from the building  
Deep earthy stench pumping out of the building ahead of her 
Clouds of burnt smog 
Hilda had never smelt this type of smog before 
It confused her and her children 
 
Large hoards of people were being pushed 
Separated like cattle at a farm 
Nazi soldiers yelling with authority  
Humans everywhere 
 
She felt like an animal 
What is this smog why is it so cloudy  
The smog smelt as burned as a campfire 
Why does it smell like that 
Hilda’s young boys hated the stench 
It must be smog from a factory my children 
 
We are here to help out at this factory  
Hilda repeated to her children 
Natural intuition

Something isn't right here 
 
Why are my children here 
Tattoos 
Scary strong Nazi men 
Giving tattoos  
Numbers 
Are we humans 
Why am I number 
Why are my children a different number than me 
 
I want them to know my name 
Not a number 
I feel so scared 
I want to be a human 
 
Is this a factory  
What are they making 
Are they burning something 
Why am I labeled with a number 
93102 
What does this mean 
 
If so what 
What are they burning 
Getting nervous and her heart is thudding  
Calm down Hilda 
Take a deep breath 
You will be back home soon 
In your warm comfortable safe town soon 
 
Come now boys don’t be scared 
Hilda calmed her children 
With her soft Mothers voice 
You will be safe in my arms 
 
Soldiers were separating family taking kids away from parents 
Like robots systematically dismantling families with no remorse 
Like water and oil 
Children and parents apart far apart  
 
The boys are gone 
Where did they go 
A soldier took all the children  
Where are my children 
Her throat was pulsing   
 
Hilda cried  
Hilda was grabbed by a soldier 
She shouted to the soldier 
Where are my children 
No response 
 
Hilda never seen her two children ever again 
 
Four weeks later 
Skinny and weak 
Hungry and scared 
Dirty and sore 
Soldiers are moving us like farm animals 
Hordes of crowds 
Numbers all have numbers 
All in pajamas 
 
Nazis said we are going to bathe 
Hilda needed it she was weak and dirty 
A crowd of 700 people were shoved into a dark cold room with no windows or light 
Shower time shouted a German soldier 
All naked 
 
She and 700 other frail and malnourished numbered people were here 
Door locked 
No escape she thought 
All had numbers on their wrist  
Why are we numbers 
A shower with numbers 
Strange and unknown 
 
Scratch marks on the walls of this shower room 
Hilda was crammed 
Where is the water for this shower  
Why are we all naked and packed like sardines  
I'm scared 
Help me god please 
Crammed into this dark cold terrifying room 
She felt numb and fearful 
Desensitized and anesthetized 
 
All she could think about was her children she had not seen them for 4 weeks 
Their gentle smile 
Where are they 
She questioned 
Where did they take the children 
I love them 
I want sympathy 
Relief and reassurance 
 
Her last thought in her mind was her two beautiful children 
There short brown hair and green eyes  
Their tender and humane skin  
They're comforting and cheerful voices 
 
I can’t escape this 
 
Thud 
A mechanism clicked and vents above opened  
People were screaming in terror 
Scratching on the walls for freedom like nails on a chalkboard 
I want to be a human again 
This isn’t a shower 
Good night my dearest children she thought 
I'll see you guys soon 
I love you 
 
Auschwitz Death Camp is responsible for 1.1 million deaths out of the 11 million victims of the Holocaust. 
We must never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust. 
We vow never again. 
 
Good night my dearest children she thought
I’ll see you guys soon
I love you

Auschwitz Death Camp is responsible for 1.1 million deaths out of the 11 million victims of the Holocaust.
We must never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust.
We vow never again.
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