This collection of poems by Bretyma Bock is a homage to her family and their survival of the holocaust. With the help of her daughter Nogah as editor, she has woven together the essential questions: “Where do you go after Auschwitz? How do you pick up the pieces to start a new life?”
Some of the poems reflect Bretyna’s struggles with her outspoken non-conformist mother Nora. She evokes a brilliant, complex portrait of Nora with her embrace of life, swimming, skiing, wearing brightly coloured hats, eating organic bananas … and above all, proclaiming “And I shall live”. Betyna tells of her sensitive, musical father Karel, overwhelmed by survivor guilt with “blue-grey eyes which have witnessed unthinkable crimes at Auschwitz”. In one of the poems of her childhood after migrating to Australia, Betyna tells us that she wants to be like the other kids at school who “ate Kraft cheese slices and vegemite sandwiches”.
These poems by Betyna expresses her life experiences of being an only daughter of holocaust survivors and provide a voice for remembrance.
Published by Sydney Jewish Museum 2020, Paperback, 101 pages