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  • R.U.
  • Davi Walders (bio)

Ruckkehr Unerwunshcht: Return Not Desired

Strange to sit alone, the entire car emptied, marked 'R.U.' only for me. So odd to wait in silence after all the ticking moments, hours, years of constant begging, bartering, pleading—anything for a life. We did raise enough to stop the deportations for a few months. With Eichmann, Himmler, money whispers. One must remember small successes.

The train has stopped; the beatings will begin again. They cannot believe I know nothing. We never know, we must not know about others. We are not that strong. I know only this—each ransomed soul has moved on—out of Poland, Bohemia, down [End Page 49] the Danube, across Slovakia, Hungary, to the world of normal sorrows.

And why didn't I? After all the others? My Paraguayan passport, still hidden. I could not. I say to my daughters in Palestine: "Love each other. Live your lives." For me, this measured ticking ends, like the hours families waited to be traded for trucks, cloth, money. Goods for lives— each one a precious remnant. I step from the last train into a silence just beginning.

Davi Walders

Davi Walders is a writer and educator whose poetry and prose have appeared in more than 150 publications including Ms, Lilith, The American Scholar, Washington Woman and such anthologies as Worlds in Their Words: Contemporary American Women Writers; Literature of Spirituality, and Beyond Lament: Poets of the World Bearing Witness to the Holocaust. She developed and directs the Vital Signs Poetry Project, which serves families and patients at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.


Gisi Fleischmann (b.1894-October 18, 1944): Leader of the Slovakian resistance who negotiated with Nazi leaders to ransom thousands of Jews. In March, 1943, she informed Zionist organizations of the Lublin and Auschwitz exterminations. Arrested by the Nazis in 1944, she was sent in a cattle car marked "R.U.," to be murdered at Auschwitz. [End Page 50]



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Archived 2012
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