At the Bullenhuser Damm School

Not one of the twenty Jewish children who had been intentionally infected with tuberculosis at Neuengamme was over twelve. . . . On April 20th, 1945, when the British were less than three miles from the camp, all of them were murdered. . . . Four adult caretakers and six Soviet prisoners were killed at the same time. . . . An additional thirty Soviet prisoners were brought by lorry to the school to be executed; six escaped, three were shot trying to do so, and the rest were hanged in the basement. . . . The SS men found it difficult to kill the mutilated children. The first to be strung up was so light – due to disease and malnutrition – that the rope wouldn’t strangle him. SS Untersturmführer Frahm had to use all of his own weight to tighten the noose. Then he hanged the others, two at a time, from different hooks. “Almost like pictures on the wall,” he would recall later.
 
Now that we’ve lost, the Allies might
Discover our experiments
Unless we get them out of sight.
Now that we’ve lost, the Allies might
Not understand the perfect right
Of doctors to abandon sense.  
Now that we’ve lost, the Allies might
Discover our experiments.
 
It’s not so difficult to kill
Whoever isn’t fighting back – 
A further triumph of the will,
It’s not so difficult. To kill
Can be monotonous, but still
It’s preferable to dodging flack.
It’s not so difficult to kill
Whoever isn’t fighting back.
 
They seem to linger, all this time.
Almost like pictures on the wall
Or figures in a pantomime, 
They seem to linger. All this time
We said it really wasn’t crime;
In court, we couldn’t quite recall.
They seem to linger all this time
Almost like pictures on the wall.




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Jared Carter’s forthcoming book of poems is A Dance in the Street, available in the fall of 2012 from Wind Publications in Kentucky. Wind published his previous collection, Cross this Bridge at a Walk, in 2006. His work has appeared in Poetry, The New Yorker, TriQuarterly, Iowa Review, Hudson Review The Dark Horse, Prairie Schooner, and Kenyon Review. Addi­tional poems and sto­ries may be found on his web site at www.jaredcarter.com.