Kaddish Elegy

1Not you, Allen Ginsberg,nor you, the Jewish God of Revenge,nor his five-thousand years old people,shall hear my Kaddish,but you, Gentiles, shall hear it,here,in Europe.I, the uncircumcised,a child of the baptized childrenof a thousand years, -before your eyes I grew a mourner's beard,before your eyes I tore my garment.I, a despairing creature of humankind,with a black hat on my head together withnine othersto make up the tenth man,each wearing black hats on their dead heads, -I say Kaddish,here,in Europe.And I bury my horrified eyes in my handswhich are not stained with the blood my lying, spectacular century has shed,and in both my palms I hide my bearded face,blushing with shame – I cry out with pain:Yisgadal…And I cry out again:Yisgadal Ve-Yiskadash…hoping that my mourner's outcrywill stir up your Gentile memory –Europe, remember – Yisgadal… 2 Remember,among us there are still innumerable innocentswho don't want to know about the guilt and who hide the guilty onesand the henchmen of the guilty.When called upon to testify, they kept silent,unmoved like rocks,like water seeping through sands,they stayed silent and said nothing.Not that they hailedthe guilt of the guilty;not that they live now in peace and the unbearable burden of guiltdoes not plague their conscience –they merely kept silent,and by their silencethey helped to conceal the guilt,to shield the guilty, and thusenabling them to come back to the fold.Innocent though they may be themselves,yet they continue their silence – Yisgadal Ve-yiskadash… 3 But you around and among us who behave as if unburdened by sin,what has become of you in Europe?Into your unwinking eyes I cry outthe great Yisgadal:the sin is mute,and all of you who kept silent in Europeare the sin's unseen upholders – Yisgadal Ve-Yiskadash 4 Just listen to the conscience you have Abandoned,its sights and its criesfor the un-mourned,the un-remembered,the silenced ones,the forgotten without name or trace- Yisgadal… the known and the unknown,those inscribed on the walls of the rebuilt,star studded temples,and the not so inscribed –the sentence of the exterminators of peopleshas united them all who were dispersedand apart,divided and different by language –these differences counted for nothing:they perished in the common languageof silence,their last common language;now they are one and the same, with and withouttheir one-time otherness and similitudes –Yisgadal…Sunk deep under ground in Europe,a third of a whole people has perishedYisgadal… 5 I will answer the heckler, too,who from the far corner of the market placethrows at my gray head his catcall:"Not only them,they killed others as well!"To you I say: It is true, they killed everywhere,in wars and in no-wars,and our concern is with the crimes of all timesand not only with those who carried them out but also with those who looked on…But while mourning our murdered sons anddaughters, is our sadness to detract us from callingto book the murderers?You faceless heckler from the far cornerOf the market place,Show me one other people in Europe,A third of whom has been done to death?According to their own lawless laws,the killing of a single soul is not less of a crime than the killing of six millions,and of the millions among other peoples.But let's not confuse the issue at hand –you man of Europe who has hidden your face –and let's not play the numbers game,which figure comes first in the counting.Let's face squarely the terrible totalWhich boggles the mind…Don's mix up the termsand categories,for in the fog of generalizationsthe murder is getting wrapped upand hidden from view.Six million killed with one motive alone, is six million murders, one by one –no thought-up fiction this but a fact! –This was the most resolute genocide actdirected against a whole people.Yisgadal… 6 And furthermore I say:Your innocent faces you lent to the murderers in Europe,- He Who Maketh Peace in His Haven – your human image you lent to inhumanity, knowing or not knowing what has been lost in Europe.- shall bring peace to us -And a contended voice answers for thosewho became smoke and dust in Europe:- and for all Israel…And my minyan of the nine shot men in their black hatsmurmur with black lips, in your stead, the end of the kaddish:- and so we say Amen.But I, in Europe, start all over again: Yisgadal… 7 And now leave me, you Gentileswhose plagued conscience I am,leave me with my feverish eyeshidden in the wet palms of my hands,my forehead furrowed with sorrow,leave me alone with the nine shot menwearing black hat, their lips blackened and their black beards frozen in silence,leave me alone,and depart! 8 Go away, not looking back,and search your souls!You, too, the heckler,who carries a stone in your pocket,depart unseen from the back rows where you are hiding,don't look back,I don't want to see you.Remember, and look at your faces, feel them in the dark back streets,and you, the heckler,with the stone in your pocket,throw in into the silent gutterof the back street.- Yisgadal… 9 Don't go into your dirty innsor the noisy whorehouseswith the excusethat one has to forget!Forget you will anyway.Rather go hometo your happy or unhappy familieswho have survived unhurt,a man to his wife,a wife to her man,go back to your children and parents,to your brothers and your kin,your friends, the happy and unhappy ones.When you arrive at your homes, look closelyat each other's faces –Yisgadal… 10 But before you enter your houses,which are your boasted castles in Europe,wash your hands and your faces,whether or not you have lent them to others,and wipe them with a clean towelso that you remember a bit longermy blind and echoing outcry,until the clean cloth has soaked upthe wetness of your hands and your faces.Yisgadal… 11 And now, my fellow men,we have reached the end of remembering our forgetfulness and our shame,the bygone ages and the better times to come,but foremost, the history of our days –that history which is us and ourselves:the dead and the living cannot be partedin this, our twentieth century –the living and the dead are invisible,the guilty and the innocent alike – let each one live his life as best as he can –Amen… &n