Wednesday, January 28, 2015



My heart cried
When my feet touched Auschwitz
Although many years have passed
It seems like yesterday

I was brought here
Along with my family
We traveled three nights in a cattle train
 Fully packed and had no space to move

When my little sister asked for water
I gave my water bottle with a small loaf of bread
Then she slept on my lap
But I was awake all the time

When the train stopped
The Doors were opened
There were no welcome signs
The SS men came with guns and dogs
SS-Totenkopfverbände greeted no one

When I saw Sonder- Commanders
I could read their eyes
They moved like living dead
Gave no word or smile

It was winter and I felt cold
I took a deep breath
My inner mind whispered
You have come to the land of death

When the Commandant came
We were separated
Some went to the labor camp
And the others to the gas chamber

They gased my parents
Along with my little sister
Their ashes were scattered
All over Auschwitz

Countless nights
I lived with the memory of my family
I worked all day long
But we were under fed

Famine and cold
Fear and beatings
Humiliations and torture
Every single day
We experienced death

There was no hope
There was no salvation
Only option left was
The electrified fence 

After many years
We heard rumors
The War is going to end
And the Red Army is moving towards Berlin

In the final days of the War
The Nazis were frantic
Joshua said
They might terminate us all

On the 27th January 1945
The Red Army came to Auschwitz
Many of us were walking skeletons

They gave us food
And said soon the War will be over 
Many became astonished
But my feelings were numbed

On the day of the liberation
Auschwitz  survivors were parted
Many went to their homes
But I had no place to go
Because my family was no more
With Joshua I moved to Santa Barbara

Many years after the war
Again I came to Auschwitz
Not as a prisoner this time
But as a witness

This is the place they eliminated my entire family
I recalled my parents and little sister
They went through the gas chimney 
Without telling me good bye 

I tightly held Joshua’s hand
When I saw the remnants of the gas chamber
I felt despair
I had no tears to cry

I could hear many voices in this place
Million and half 
Men women and children
Who were murdered by the Nazis
Then I clearly heard my little sister saying
Sara thank you for coming to see me

I closed my eyes
I wanted to be alone

Why did they do this to us?
Why Why ?

If I could speak to the whole world
I would say a few words
Please do not let it happen
Never again
Never again

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge 


  1. Very touching, Ruwan!! My mother was an Auschwitz survivor. So, we are all touched by the world's evil...

    1. Dear Professor Bergmann thank you for the comment. Although I was born out of Europe and in a different time period I could feel their pain. All evil begin with an ideology says Professor Philip Zimbardo . Therefore danger of evil is still among us.

  2. Professor Phil Zimbardo -Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Stanford University
    President & Founder, Heroic Imagination Project made the following comment

    thank you Ruwan
    for this beautifully tragic poem.
    I shall share it with many others.

  3. Professor Anna Ferruta has made this comment

    Dear Ruwan, I share with you the task of being a witness, in order not to live in the land of death, the death also of witnessing and compassion and participation. I am a member of Research Groups in Milan and also in the International Psychoanalytical Association on Collective tragedies and traumas, to not forget. Thanks for this poem. Every saingle day We experienced death warm wishes

  4. Thank you so much for this poem.

    Dr. Rainer Funk, Psychoanalyst
    Literary Estate of Erich Fromm
    Erich Fromm Archive
    Ursrainer Ring 24, D-72076 Tuebingen / Germany

  5. Thanks for your poem and for almost dying for me.

    J. Allan Hobson, MD Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

  6. Professor John Hartman made the following comment

    Excellent poem

    John Hartman

  7. I was shocked by your poem and made me think of psychological and sociological background of this tragedy.
    second world war is a turning point of the human history and it is a major incident that leads to review facts relating to human destructiveness
    I will publish analysis about it in my blog

    1. මධ්‍යස්ථ මතධාරියා Thanks

  8. Dr Upali Peris - Sri LankaFebruary 8, 2015 at 3:28 PM

    Dear Ruwan,
    I was deeply touched by your poem. I know you are from a totally a different background and had not personally experienced such a milieu of a concentration camp but the reader genuinely feels as if you were there describing all what happened in Auschwitz. This reminded me the film The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas which described various dimensions of this human tragedy and your skills are very much appreciated by letting people to know to not to let happen the same mistake again........and never ever again..........

  9. Szymon Kowalski -Deputy Head of Archive The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum reports

    Dear Dr. Jayatunge,

    Dr Jacek Lachendro from our Research Center handed me over your poem
    I would like to kindly thank you for this emotional testimony. We will
    include it into our collections.

    Yours faithfully,

    Szymon Kowalski
    Deputy Head of Archive
    The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

  10. Auschwitz මගේ මේ ප්‍රතිචාරය භාර ගන්න. වරක් පළ කළද නොපෙනෙන හෙයින් නැවත පළ කරමි.

    this is my articul about holocaust.

    dont have words.. thank you Ruwan.

  12. Never again. yes! never again. I'm sorry Sara. just was shell shocked. GOD! never again!!

  13. I saw this only today after so many years indeed. Very heart touching I started pouring tears halfway. I cannot immagine amount of physical and mental trauma they underwent before they were sent to the gas chambers. Thank you for writing this Ruwan.


Appreciate your constructive and meaningful comments

Find Us On Facebook