Children Cried, All the Way to the Gas Chamber (a poem)




Little hands

That should have known

Kindness –

A sweet smile

A pat on the head

And in return,

The sound of merriment

Should sing from their lips

Joy should dance beneath their steps.

Yet a mother’s soul,

Put on display,

For all the world to see –

Lines up for the gas chamber.

You can see the fear in their eyes

And though they do not speak,

You can hear their screams

And their frightened murmuring

What did I do?

What did I do?

You can still hear the sound

It reverberates here

When the wind is just right

You can hear the moaning

Through the trees

A savage reminder

Of what man can become

Yet there is nothing

You can do

To silence the sadness

That looms in this place

It speaks of the loss

It speaks of the terror

And there is nothing left –

Save a monument to their horror.

Had I been there,

I would have

Held them in my arms

Silenced their fears

And held brave

Even though my heart

Would wail in utter sadness

I would have shared

One last kindness

One last smile

One last kiss.

But the past

Has become the past

And my heart

Has become heavy

With the thought of this.

That any nation –

Could not see the crime

And still how many,

Looked aside

While children cried

While children cried

All the way

To the gas chamber.


© Sumyanna 2016


Submitted for The Daily Post Prompt: savage

Written upon seeing a memorial for the children lost during WWII.


Image courtesy of


17 Comments Add yours

  1. rothpoetry says:

    A beautifully written amazingly sad poem! It is sad what atrocities people do to one another in the name of being ‘Right!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sumyanna says:

      So incredibly true. It is just shocking to see how easy it can be to move people to do things that are unjust. You would think their morals would be unmovable. Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 7128788elf says:

    Wow powerful poem, what a terrible time that was. German Jewish poet Heinrich Heiner, writing in Napoleonic times said “Societies begin by burning books, and end up by burning people.” How prophetic these words were, and what a pity people were not in a position to heed these words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sumyanna says:

      Thank you. So incredibly true… what an apt quote. People still try, but I think there are far more good people in the world, even though it might be harder to see. We hold these stories in remembrance, for how could we not? I’ve never read his poetry. I might have to look him up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 7128788elf says:

        He was one of the great German Romantic poets, coming just after Goethe, many of his poems have been set to music by the great German composers. He was tormented by some Germans who tried to force him to convert to Christianity, some of them burnt his books when he refused, hence the quote.


        1. Sumyanna says:

          Wow – incredible story. I seriously need to get out and read more.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. 7128788elf says:

            Yes these Romantic poets, seem to have lived quite hard lives. It was not him alone who suffered, some Jewish composers, were forced to convert to Christianity, so first it was the Mendelsohn’s, Felix and his sister Fanny, and then conductor and composer Gustav mahler, found he could not get his works performed, and few orchestras would employ him as a conductor, despite the fact that he was one of he most imminent conductors of his time; so he converted as well.


          2. Sumyanna says:

            I guess suffering is not a new concept… I know, duh… but truthfully, we sometimes think things have gotten worse. When you look back, you see it may be different issues and struggles, but things have improved since then in some ways.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. 7128788elf says:

            Yes, many things have improved, but I think we face some different types of trouble to those faced in times past. In some ways the troubles have grown enormously, and all because we have not learned from the past.


  3. Stacey Lynn says:

    SO powerful…I literally had cold chills reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sumyanna says:

      Thank you very much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bravo, Sumyanna. You couldn’t have picked a more appropriate topic for the word prompt.
    It brought tears to my eyes.
    A country so steeped in propaganda that its people condoned those terrible acts of savagery. How do these things happen…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sumyanna says:

      Thank you very much Jane. I truly do not know, but it seems that some people just don’t think through things. And perhaps, hate is a rather strong way to rally people around you. It is horrible what was done and to think that it was not really that long ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do you know that there are conspiracy theorists who ignore the weight of proof and claim it never happened?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sumyanna says:

          These days… it does not surprise me. It really must hurt to have suffered so much and then people are even trying to rob you of your pain and feelings of injustice. It would be rather hard to ensure things like that don’t happen again if you refuse to admit they did occur. So incredibly sad – but I guess people have to chase after something ;-(

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I can’t think of many worse ways to spend my time than chasing after conspiracy theories. It’s a really negative way to escape reality.


          2. Sumyanna says:

            So incredibly true… life must be rather sad for those individuals. I’d rather be living life than tearing someone else’s life down.

            Liked by 1 person

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