Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words... (Edgar Allan Poe)

These poems were written by people who suffered in the Second World War. Contact us if you have words to share that have inspired you.

The Butterfly by Pavel Friedman

The Butterfly

The last, the very last,

So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.

Perhaps if the sun's tears would sing

against a white stone…

Such, such a yellow

Is carried lightly 'way up high.

It went away I'm sure because it wished to

kiss the world goodbye.

For seven weeks I've lived in here,

Penned up inside this ghetto

But I have found my people here.

The dandelions call to me

And the white chestnut candles in the court.

Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.

Butterflies don't live in here,

In the ghetto.

Pavel Friedmann 4.6.1942 (died in Auschwitz, 1944)

Homesick (Anonymous)


I've lived in the ghetto here more than a year,

In Terezín, in the black town now,

And when I remember my old home so dear,

I can love it more than I did, somehow.

Ah, home, home,

Why did they tear me away?

Here the weak die easy as a feather

And when they die, they die forever.

I'd like to go back home again,

It makes me think of sweet spring flowers.

Before, when I used to live at home,

It never seemed so dear and fair.

I remember now those golden days…

But maybe I'll be going there again soon.

People walk along the street,

You see at once on each you meet

That there's a ghetto here,

A place of evil and of fear.

There's little to eat and much to want,

Where bit by bit, it's horror to live.

But no one must give up!

The world turns and times change.

Yet we all hope the time will come

When we'll go home again.

Now I know how dear it is

And often I remember it.

Anonymous 9.3.1943