How can I see you, love,
Amid storms of grief
Without feeling my heart shake?
A deep night,
Blacker than the blackness of your eyes,
Has fallen silently
On the world.
And is touching your curls.
My hand will clasp your dreaming
And I shall lead you between the nights.
Through the pale mists of childhood,
As my father once guided me
To the house of prayer.
by David Vogel, Translated by A.C. Jacobs. Holocaust Poetry, compiled and introduced by Hilda Schiff, publ. St. Martin’s Griffin, 1996, p. 14
Biography – David Vogel was born on May 15, 1891 in the town of Satanov in the Podolia region in the Russian Pale of Settlement. The family spoke Yiddish. In 1909-1910, he arrived in Vilnius as a yeshiva student. He worked as the caretaker of a synagogue and studied Hebrew. In 1925, he settled in Paris, where he wrote prose and poetry. In 1929, he and his wife, Nada Adler, immigrated to Palestine, where their daughter, Tamar, was born. After spending time in Poland and Berlin, the family returned to Paris. When World War II erupted, Vogel and his daughter fled to southeastern France where Nada was recuperating in a sanatorium. He was interned as an Austrian citizen and freed in 1940 when the Nazis occupied France.
Various stories circulated about his life after that. In 1944-45, the Hebrew newspapers in Palestine reported his “disappearance.” He was presumed to have died in the Holocaust.
Israeli literary scholar Dan Pagis discovered that he returned to Hauteville after his release from internment camp. In 1944, he was arrested by the Gestapo, imprisoned in Lyon, and sent to Drancy, a transit camp for French Jews. Four days later, he was murdered in Auschwitz.
Temple Israel of Hollywood will commemorate Yom Hashoah on Wednesday evening, May 4 at 7 PM with the showing of the Academy Award Nominated Short Documentary “Spectres of the Shoah” about Claude Lanzmann, the director of the seminal 10-hour film “Shoah” commemorating the 25th anniversary of the film.