On a visit to the Dohány Synagogue in Budapest

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Our guide, Yoel, pointed out the extent of the ghetto from 1944 after the Government tried to surrender to the Allies. The Government was overthrown by Arrow Cross and the Germans marched in.

In front of us in the grounds of the synagogue are buried 2,281 people in mass graves.

The graves look like raised flower beds in a small area by the wall of the synagogue, marked by some plaques. We stare at the space.

How do you cry when the crying is too big,

When the thing about which you want to cry is so big that your cry is swallowed in your mouth,

When the history is many times more than you,

When many others suffered so much, much more,

When your voice is small,

When the pressure of what is inside you and what is outside you tighten in your chest, in your mouth?

That feeling is the feeling you feel.


  1. Tamara Colloff-Bennett says

    Thanks for the memory back of this moving tour that we took, David. Yoel was particularly articulate, wasn’t he…

    Question, thanks: Did you write this poignant poem? If not, do you know who did?

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