Women in the Holocaust: In Memory of Gisèle Braka (1920-2013)

This in observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day late.

In 2013, I wrote this poem in Israel the morning I heard the news of Gisèle’s death. I was attending a conference on Women and the Holocaust in Israel, and my talk was about her heroic and unusual life as a Tunisian Jewish woman who joined the resistance during World War II, and experienced the war both in France and in Tunisia.

On This Day

On this day, women gathered to remember women, like you

Turning a flicker of hope, an act of kindness, a mother’s touch into a flame of eternal Memory

A humbling act indeed, for me, to name you

Hero

I shall not easily forget the twinkle in your eyes that told me you

Resisted

Persisted

Subsisted

Even after you had stopped using words, your actions spoke for you,

For your

Memory

On this day, women, young, old, and in-between, shared stories of

Survival

And even those who did not live, who do not live, who cannot live

Forever

Will always be among us now; their stories become ours as we

Resist

Persist

Subsist

Even after we stop using words, our actions will speak for us,

For our

Memory

In your

Memory

And so the flame remains eternal

On this day, you will be remembered

N.B.L., Nahariyah, Israel, March 5, 2013

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