|My late mother, Holocaust refugee|
And what has any of this to do with writing? Until I started my poetry MA, now somewhat on hold because of my cancer, (although I haven't yet made the decision to defer to next year), I was, theoretically at least, writing a memoir of my late brother, who killed himself in 1975 after many years of mental illness (I refuse to say 'committed suicide' since it has not been a crime for a long
time). I regard him as just as much a victim of the Holocaust as my grandmother, great-aunt and great-uncle, who died in a concentration camp in 1942. The second generation has borne the trauma of the first, and the third generation continues to bear it in many and various ways, as I suspected and have confirmed by attending a Second Generation group for the children of survivors and refugees.
|Concentration camp incinerators|
And we shall all be called as witnesses, each and every one
To stand before the eyes of God, and speak what was done.
There are some things we must write about, however painful, things about which we cannot be silent, because if we are, others (and there are many already) will come forward to claim they never happened, and to write false history that denies what we know. Are there things that, like Jeremiah, you must write, because while you don't, they are burning up your heart?
Veronica Zundel is a freelance writer whose latest book is Everything I know about God, I've learned from being a parent (BRF 2013). She also writes a column for Woman Alive magazine, and Bible notes for BRF's New Daylight. Veronica used to belong to what was, before it closed, the only non-conservative, English speaking Mennonite church in the UK, and is currently playing at being a high Anglican. She also blogs (rather occasionally!) at reversedstandard.com