A Polish Academic Information Center Exhibit
Warsaw: Life and Death in the Ghetto which the Germans established there during WWII

Itzhak Katzenelson

I Had Dream

I had a dream,
a terrible dream:
my people was no more, my people
I rose screaming:
Ah! Ah!
What I have dreamed
is happening now!
Oh, God in heaven! --
Shuddering I shall cry:
what for and why
did my people die?
What for and why
in vain did it die?
Not in a war,
not in battle . . .
the young, the old,
and women and babies so little -- --
are no more, no more:
wring your hands!
Thus I'll cry in sorrow
both day and night:
What for, my Lord,
dear God, why?

translated by
Regina Grol
Itzhak Katzenelson (1886-1944) - One of Poland's Jewish poets and dramatists who wrote in both Hebrew and Yiddish. Prior to World War II he wrote mostly for children. During the war he was consigned to the Warsaw Ghetto and later to the camp at Vitel in France, whence he was sent to Auschwitz where he perished.


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