Here's a rich one...

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disillusioned
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Here's a rich one...

Postby disillusioned » 1 decade 5 years ago (Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:06 am)

Survior writes pornography and the evil Nazi's let him live!


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When I heard that writer Avraham Cykiert had survived Auschwitz by producing dirty poetry for the camp hierarchy - the kapos and barrack chiefs, themselves prisoners, who ruled brutally on behalf of the SS - I was fascinated. This I hadn't heard before. Cykiert lives in Mulgrave with his wife, Peggy. They are a close, childless couple. He came to Melbourne in 1948 after landing a job to edit a Yiddish-language newspaper. Over the years he has written several critically acclaimed plays exploring moral dilemmas during the Holocaust and lectured at universities here and abroad.

Australians, he says, had welcomed him "like angels from another world".

I tell Cykiert that I only have one hour for the interview. These encounters can drag on.

"Oh, one hour," he mumbles. "You want to know it all in one hour?"

Almost immediately he thrusts forward a clipping from The Manchester Guardian dated May 14, 1945. It is a translated version of his first-hand account of Auschwitz: Mengele, the selections, the gas chambers.

"I was the first survivor," he jabs his finger at the paper. "I was the first survivor to tell what happened."

Four days after he was deported to Auschwitz from Poland's Lodz Ghetto, Cykiert, aged 16, wrote (originally in Yiddish) a poem called Survive. He recites it now:

Your blood make ink

write down to record

the death camps' most important word

"survive".

Make every final crumb of bread

a holy feast to stave off death.

Survive.

For you who walks the night in hell

must be the witness who will tell.

Survive

And as the living numbers fall

you will be speaking for us all,

survive.

The poem came to the attention of an inner-camp official who asked whether he could also write "left-handed" poetry, meaning pornography, and gave some examples of the genre.

"It was literally out of the sewer," Cykiert says.

But he worked to the brief, knowing his life was at stake, and produced a monologue. Late one night they took him to a block where the camp chiefs held a private party, feasting on the cheese, meat and smoked eel they had taken from Jews who had been sent to the gas chambers. Cykiert recited his work and brought the house down with raucous laughter. "Beautiful," said a camp official. "You'll get through!"

After liberation, a Jew who had been present at Cykiert's recitation said he wanted to rip the poet's tongue out for devising such filth.

He leans towards me and warns that offensive material is on the way. He half-recites, half-spits part of the monologue, racing through the words. I catch only snippets - "everyone who went up the chimneys", "pricks", "arse", "we'd have the biggest f---"- but the gist is clear. It is a vile pornography of death that eroticises atrocity and desecrates humanity itself.

After his successful debut, Cykiert produced more material, often performing twice a week, barring the nights when trucks came to transport the "selected" to the gas chambers. "I was horrified at first, but I technically produced it," he says.

They gave him food, such as smoked eel, and bedding as a reward. A few times he was selected for the gas chambers, but someone always plucked him away from the other condemned.

He tries to forget his Auschwitz scribbling, but "the ghost who sleeps at the foot of my bed" brings the words back to haunt him.

"I became one of the entertainers. Can you imagine that? Can you?" his voice accusatory, eyes black. "And now people say 'Oh, he wrote pornography!' "
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J William
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Postby J William » 1 decade 5 years ago (Mon Jan 24, 2005 9:00 am)

disillusioned wrote:Survior writes pornography and the evil Nazi's let him live!



But he worked to the brief, knowing his life was at stake, and produced a monologue. Late one night they took him to a block where the camp chiefs held a private party, feasting on the cheese, meat and smoked eel they had taken from Jews who had been sent to the gas chambers. Cykiert recited his work and brought the house down with raucous laughter. "Beautiful," said a camp official. "You'll get through!"

.....

They gave him food, such as smoked eel, and bedding as a reward. A few times he was selected for the gas chambers, but someone always plucked him away from the other condemned.

###########


I particularly like the reference to smoked eels being "taken from Jews' sent to the gas chambers. From a Kosher food site:
NON-KOSHER FISH
Eels (Order Anguilliforms). Including American and European eel (Anguilia rostrata and Anguila anguila) ; Conger eel (Conger oceanic us) . Gars (Order Semionotiformes). Freshwater gars (Lepisosteus species

It seems a bit strange that these Jews would have smoked eels in their provisions.

Richard Perle
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Postby Richard Perle » 1 decade 5 years ago (Mon Jan 24, 2005 9:20 am)

Not to mention the fact that any fresh fish would have perished on the journey to the camp.

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Postby Carto's Cutlass Supreme » 1 decade 5 years ago (Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:21 pm)

Could people please put links? I'd like to see the link to the original story, since it appears copied and pasted off a website, also the kosher foods link.

J William: if that's true about the eel that's pretty good sleuthing.

I'll add at made up line for a joke, in the style of the article:

"they ate all manner of bacon and dried pork obtained from the Jews' homes, which were packed in the same railroad car, in a container sealed by the Nazis, so that after the 1000 mile trip, the SS would have some feasting foods straight from the Jews' own cupboards, before the gas chamber executions began."

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Postby Richard Perle » 1 decade 5 years ago (Mon Jan 24, 2005 3:14 pm)

Do most Jews even follow the Kosher laws? I have Jewish friends (one of my closest friends is Jewish) and they couldn't care less about such things.

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Postby Carto's Cutlass Supreme » 1 decade 5 years ago (Mon Jan 24, 2005 3:57 pm)

Richard Perle: you're right. But it's still slightly followed. Like reform Jews, non-religious Jews, will still make fun of ham, and even decline eating it sometimes. The practice has sometimes transformed from religious laws, to the idea that pigs are dirty, or eels are disgusting etc. But it's hardly a smoking gun. It's almost like if a Jew said they did something on a saturday, and I was like "hah, caught you! that's your Sabbath! Lying again huh?" lol. But at the same time there were more "observant" Jews in the 1940's than now. Your closest friend's grandparents might not eat crab, for instance. Or maybe they do.


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