Know That There Was Just One Last Solitary Coach.

“..I saw my Father drowning in surging days. His weak hand gave a last white flutter. ..And he was gone.” David Vogel.

For David Vogel, a Hebrew poet, a writer, a Yiddish speaker, who was born in Satanov, Satanov County of the Podolia District, Kamenets-Podolsk, Ukraine on May 15th. 1891 to an Orthodox Jewish Family, life was not easy and was never going to be. However, for David at least and from amongst the 6,000,000 of his fellow Jews, his words would outlive him as he is recognised today as a Hebrew scholar and a most learned in Yiddish literature. David’s Father died when he was a young boy and he was cared for by his Mother until from the age of 21, he lived in Lvov and Vienna while exploring the Jewish cultural centres of Eastern Europe.

“..last barriers have fallen ..we are planted deep within one another ..end. way or ..other ..we are only poor people.” David Vogel.

When World War I commenced in 1914 David was arrested while in Vienna and was imprisoned in Austrian detention camps as an enemy Russian national. David then settled in Paris during 1925 and though he immigrated to Palestine in 1929, he stayed there but a year and returned in 1930 after their Daughter Tamara was born. Though not quite settling, they travelled to Berlin, Vienna and Warsaw before finally returning to Paris in 1932 and establishing himself there. Ironically, when the Second World War broke out David, while living in Paris, was arrested on October 3rd. 1939 and again as an enemy Alien, the French perceiving him as an Austrian, he was again imprisoned.

“..A deep night ..has fallen silently ..on” David Vogel.

Here too he was further incarcerated, though into the French detention camp system and when, in 1939 Hitler invaded Poland, his home Town was soon to be shaken to its core. With the Jewish population of Satanov consisting of some 1,516 persons, these made up more than 48% of the towns total population, local suspicions cross frontiers and did nothing to promote the already disruptive relationship Ukrainians held for their Jewish Neighbours. There were worrying signs from within Poland, which not only premised a future concern for all Jews under Hitler’s direct rule here, but all of European Jewry was now fearing a similar concern.

“..We will manage ..despite everything. We must succeed. ..We will have our way yet. We will disappear within each other.” David Vogel.

David and his Daughter Tamara now decided to travel to the South Eastern corner of France where Ada was recuperating in a sanatorium. after the fall of France in 1940, David was eventually released, this was in 1941 when he then decided to live in Hauteville near Lyons, the Nazi’s were honing their skills in seeking out and abusing Jews with French collaboration. When Hitler further launched his campaign into Russia, Operation Barbarossa commenced on June 22nd. 1941, the Wehrmacht forces captured Satanov on July 6th. 1941. Later on, during that August of 1941, several Jews were mocked, attacked, brutalised and then ritually shot and murdered in the local Old Synagogue.

“ is very difficult. ..certainly there is so much beauty in But fate has doomed me always to see around me ..blackest misery in it ..a fate that cannot be reversed.” David Vogel.

History though is very unsure if David’s words were given over to what this fully meant for his former home Town, nor for the Jews of Lvov, Vienna, Berlin even or Paris and Lyon, but his words enlighten the route soon to be taken for more and more 1,000,000’s of Jews to be counted. The dark descent, in what would be recognised as a systematic approach to the eradication of any Jewish presence within Satanov, Lvov and every Village, Town and City Hitler’s forces reached, could not yet be believed nor as yet discounted. When, on May 15th. 1942 about 200 Jews of Satanov, Men, Women and included many of Their Children, were Murdered, this particular Rubicon had been crossed in this particular Town.

“..My hand will clasp your dreaming hand and ..lead you through ..nights. through pale mists of childhood.” David Vogel.

Of course the Elderly and infirm were included in this massacre and they were thrown into a cellar in the middle of the Town and left to die, both of Starvation and even suffocation. This was a der Einsatzgruppe sponsored killing effort and was led willingly by the local Ukrainian militia and a cohort of others whose efforts came from the constabulary. Now, and though the following set of his words are written well before he approached his doom, David affords us a resonance in those words for a Wife who would Survive him, and this is what captures a proxy of Our own despair for him amongst 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, so ritually Slaughtered.

“..I have not yet despaired of the hope of seeing you again, dear Ada. After all, we still have some things to say to each other.” David Vogel.

David was arrested by the Gestapo sometime in February 1944 and he was removed to Drancy where, on March 7th 1944, on Convoi 69 he was transported toward Auschwitz. Along with 1,500 fellow Jews, amongst them 175 Children, these Jews were headed toward oblivion. On March 10th. 1944, and not being of the 200 Jewish Men and Women to be saved for another day, but as one of the 1,301 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children, David Vogel was murdered in a gas chamber in Birkenau. While this 53 year old, whose end is the beginning of this page in The Holocaust of missing voices, we recognise a debt all too many will never admit to while others will further conceive of the ways necessary to add David Vogel’s words to the missing words of far too many.

“..Despite everything ..we love each other very ..very much ..both of us. is very good that we are so much in love and that we have everything together and can do everything together ..down to ..last thing.” David Vogel.

Despite everything though, David and Ada did Not Survive everything together and as Birkenau interrupted their lives, Ada was left to die, broken hearted after her loss. Though the words of David Vogel cannot take you past the gates of the alternative world that is The Death Camp, he can most certainly deliver us straight to that point of no return for 4,500,000 Jews of Europe. What we can know with some certainty, are those words which are meant to touch us and comfort us and give us hope, and we recognise there are no greater than the words, even from the depths of The Holocaust, of those of these Jews consigned to its inner circle of death and destruction, one of whom is David Vogel.

“..I received your letter ..from which I can again draw nourishment for a short time.” David Vogel.

Then, if we take in a journey that takes with it letters adding up to those words we seek, and we traverse some 1,100 miles through the period of The Holocaust, and we touch what is the tangible tragedy for Riga Jews at Rumbuli and Liepaja, we become today’s witnesses of yesterdays atrocities. Or perhaps we become the witnesses to what Vilna Jews suffered at Ponari in such numbers and then we examine where the full extent of Lodz Jews were assigned and liquidated at Chelmno, we can know that emotional pain was extracted with sadistic pleasure by perpetrator’s cheered on by a spiritually castrated on looker.

“..There is no more happiness in my heart ..and no more jubilation.” David Vogel.

If we then search through the profusion of atrocity and we subconsciously become entwined with the 100’s of 1,000’s of Warsaw’s Jews arriving at Treblinka, will we not know what the experience of these Jews confined in these spaces means to us, even in terms of a human catastrophe that was sought out only for them. If we also reach out to revisit Wlodawa’s Jews and know what Sobibor presents for so and many Jews and when we enter Lublin and see how visible Majdanek must have become to so many witnessing what happened to Polish Jews within its confines, our confusion over the refusal to acknowledge what was known mounts.

“..gray ..warped loneliness once more dwells within me.” David Vogel.

When we see from the outskirts of Tomaszow-Lubelski and hear from it’s Jews and know that Belzec was but a short step down the road which afforded them no escape, are we short of that much concern we look away. Or when we then become aware that Cracow’s Jews knew little of Auschwitz and the industrial killing facility at Birkenau until it was far too late, how can we understand the dilemma of such a sudden realisation. We are still traversing Countryside and Field and into each and every Ghetto of Poland and then alongside Killing Sites in between such stops of clear devastation, to recognise all that is lost to us.

“..With all its appendages. My frame of mind is at a low point.” David Vogel.

For those of Krychow’s Jews at Borki Woods and those Jews of Ivangorod immortalised when so depicted as we see the shooters take aim at them, Mother and Child not spared. Do we simply become a part of the procession of Cherkassy’s Jews mingled with Lubny Jews all  headed for a Slaughter that was extended toward them out of an inhuman hatred, both immoral and without ethics. When we even journey on to Kiev and recognise an atrocity way above all other’s in terms of the capacity to kill the Jews of Kiev, here at BabiYar, we exemplify a criteria established which Hitler demanded should be exceeded. How then do we comprehend these crimes against humanity conducted and perpetrated by human beings against other human beings they differed from in faith.

“..When I think of you love heart skips a beat because of my great longing. After all ..we have already merged with one another so intensely ..2 of us and our Daughter.” David Vogel.

So in reminding us of all of these spaces, where the eradication of the Jews was undertaken, we cannot come to terms with an understanding we will cannot understand. Then, once we reach where David Vogel disappears into the abyss of Birkenau, and from this last solitary coach, do we not recognise the fall of civilisation and the failure of humanity. No doubt this solitary coach is filled with others like David, perhaps as many as 120 Jewish People, be they Men, Women or Their Children, and we here are aware that none of them were ever meant to Survive. The fact is, we know David Vogel did Not Survive and yet we do not know who else was amongst this last Coach load, a consignment of Jews to be resettled.

“..I so much adore your beautiful ..noble personality ..end. ..That certainly should boost you in moments of diminished spirits.” David Vogel.

Of course posterity has handed us the names of the Children on this Convoi but in these imaginings, where there is a total of 6,000,000 Jewish People who could and were to be lined up, and in single file, in a rather dishevelled, battered, torn, brutalised and haphazard way, do we not recognise this cohort of innocent People as our own. This imaginary line, which would have stretched the entire distance first to last from destructive place to annihilation space and as we see that There is A Last, Solitary Coach and it is fast disappearing with its cargo of human beings, all of them soon to be consigned to oblivion and simply because they are Jews. do we not despair

“..I simply cannot bear the pain of your not being close to me, of not being able to kiss you everywhere and to caress you… Even so, maybe no one loved you so much.” David Vogel.

01) There is a last, solitary coach about to leave

and we know from History that 10’s of 1,000’s of train transports delivered more than 4,500,000 Jews to the gates of the Death Camps in Poland. For the vast majority of these Jews, they did not re-emerge, either Gassed, otherwise Murdered, starved to death or allowed to suffer the many debilitating illnesses which they succumbed to.

02) Let us get in and go

was the cry of so many who stood before extinction not fully aware of the destruction which awaited them. But! We have to imagine the relief that many of these Jews faced as they assumed their one terrifying ordeal was being ended only for them to then have the true terror of the Death Camps inflicted upon them as they reached their final destinations.

03) For it wont wait

for any of the Jews expected to reach the Camps and as one group left their native land, another group had been totally consumed. Such was the steady progress of annihilation, the leap from der Einsatzgruppe to the industrialised Slaughter of the Death Camps, the Death Camps were overwhelmed at times.

04) I have see young girls going softly

as the gently held to all that they had ever known. Firm favourites of the Father’s, warm adherents to their Mother’s lessons on life, all would soon vanish. The age of these young girls did not assist them as they progressed toward their annihilation. Their age hampered the ready progress, but the eventual outcome was meted out to them at the whim of a man who could not see the humanity they brought to us.

05) With sad faces

the procession of bewildered infants, youngster’s barely comprehending why their Parents might be concerned, all drifted toward eternity as one. Sadness had gripped them all finally and fully as they became aware of the truest meaning of what sadness could ever deliver to a People. Overwhelmed by the realisation that came all too suddenly to these Jews waiting in line for extinction, our grief replaces their sadness and our sadness becomes immense.

06) That looked ashamed and sorry

and sorry is not for those who were so abandoned by the World as we are the shamed who should be mortified and sorry above and beyond recollection.

07) Like purple sunsets,

never to be awakened in the lush glow of a bright dawn, ever again and we leave these Jews behind, vanquished, devoured and a mere echo of what once established them amongst us

08) And chubby, pink children

the offspring of a hoped for future totally extinguished from concern by those whose concern lay in feeding a hatred that had long festered amongst humanity. Children, both infants and Babies, lumped together to form a human chain of disinterest in what should have been our most fervent wish to nurture and save.

09) Who went simply

toward what they must have all assumed a human civilisation such as the Germans would deliver in terms of a work load that might yet prove a burden but should not be as genocidal as some had been warned. How could it be possible for human beings to imagine that other beings could be so disposed to their Slaughter, that they could not fully believe it.

10) Because they were called

and motioned forward, over many 1,000’s of miles they were fed on an illogical betrayal that so bemused them, these 6,000,000 Jews answered a call to save themselves which betrayed many of their own instincts.

11) And I’ve seen men

and even women amongst them who so gave way to the inner most hatreds to act with vicious brutality toward all who stood before them, no matter how young, old, infirm or vulnerable and all because Hitler said these are Jews.

12) Who stepped proud and straight through the world’s streets,

of their former existence and for which they owned so much of all they had surveyed, all to be stolen from them as their very existence was finally extracted also. The drudgery of this newer existence did not escape all and they fought for the very existence which had been a given right never redacted by those forced into destruction.

13) Whose large eyes went ranging

appealing as they sought the form of humanity they had extended to all those who had previously surrounded them in neighbourly commune, somewhat separated merely by attire and a worship that was distinguishable from others.

14) Far and wide,

the Hitler hordes ranged and everywhere they visited, Jews ceased to exist and fell where they perished or where equally shunted to rail sidings to board other’s of the last solitary coaches, effectively removing them bodily toward a removal that would never relinquish its hold over them.

15) They too got in calmly

as many have witnessed and so many more have declared as up to that point of departing they had no reason to believe they were headed for other than enforced labour. Not all who entered the coaches did so willingly and the stock yards were filled with the corpses of those Jews who understood the lies and the truth they sought to conceal.

16) And left

as their community looked upon such scenes of carnage that even fear could not assuage the suspicion that they were somehow duped by reasonable belief of the humanity of humankind.

17) And we are the last

perhaps to make this endless journey, not knowing is the World entire might be saved, whether any of their number would escape the attention of the demand for more and more victims to fill the graves of those already removed to make way for the newer incumbent.

18) Day is declining

and night is calling and darkness brings its own concerns and fears and when the false dawn approaches, these Jews can barely comprehend what such scenes as will be witnessed in Death Camps and before gorges, ravines and graveyards must mean for the very persistence of humanity, let alone the Jewish People.

19) The last, solitary coach is about to leave

so we are fearful we might be missing from an account that will settle us Jews into a newer existence where work is difficult but life remains intact for those Jews willing to bear the trudge toward existence. Oh how glibly the false promise of a future for these Jews is made and how hopeful the prospect a cultural and civilising coming of age must deliver to an accultured Jewish understanding.

20) Let us too get in quietly

and without the uses that some concerns must have brought to the minds of all too many who could not envisage the rationale of removing all Jews, ill, weak, infirm, Children and the Elderly to a place where work could never be for them all.

21) And go,

they did. In such numbers that 1,100 miles of distance that extends between what we were made aware of, what many locals knew too clearly and what some Jews suspected, so diffused the reason to rebel. Oh how glorious the rebellious bell must resound to those who cannot place themselves emotionally even into the jaws of the danger 6,000,000 Jews faced.

22) For it won’t wait

was sadly true for 1,000’s upon 1,000’s of these Coaches which criss crossed the very routed of our imaginings to follow a discourse of such words of disbelief that we record our disgust at a humanity that failed in its duty to protect all vestiges of humanity against the inhuman detail of The Holocaust we must now reside alongside.

There is A Last, Solitary Coach

There is a last, solitary coach about to leave

Let us get in and go,

For it wont wait.

I have see young girls going softly

With sad faces

That looked ashamed and sorry

Like purple sunsets,

And chubby, pink children

Who went simply

Because they were called.

And I’ve seen men

Who stepped proud and straight through the world’s streets,

Whose large eyes went ranging

Far and wide,

They too got in calmly

And left.

And we are the last.

Day is declining.

The last, solitary coach is about to leave.

Let us too get in quietly

And go,

For it won’t wait.” David Vogel.