gathering fragments

I will write to gather the fragments of lives that would otherwise be lost.

The fragments are precious – infinitely precious – and yet so, so fragile.

If they are not gathered, they will be lost.

We have a loving responsibility to all those that have passed before us to gather the fragments of their lives, to hold them tenderly and make them present again.

The fragments will tell us stories, and sometimes just these fragments will be enough.

Other times I will narrate the spaces between the fragments.

This blog is in part inspired by the “Gathering the Fragments” project at Yad Vashem.


sandgrains in infinity

Here is the place where I will be remembering the lives of the people I stumble across in my research, who might otherwise never be remembered. Not so much the famous, the powerful, the rich. No instead this will be the place to remember the lost, the forgotten, the victims, the poor, the downtrodden. the margins. It will be a place to consider the fragile knowability of the past. It is my attempt at hesed – the act of showing loving kindness towards the dead without getting anything in return.

If we don’t do it, who will?

The title is inspired by that most poignant of poems written in the USSR during WW2

Do not call me, father ,do not seek me,
Do not call me, do not wish me back.

We’re on a route uncharted, fire and blood erase our tracks.
On we fly, on wings of thunder, never more to sheath our swords.
All of us in battle fallen, not to be brought back by words.

Will there be a rendezvous? I know not.
I only know we still must fight.
We are sand grains in infinity, never to meet,never more see light.

Farewell then my son. Farewell then my conscience.
My youth and my solace my one and my only.

And let this farewell be the end of a story,
Of solitude vast and which none is more lonely.
In which you remain, barred forever and ever,
From light and from air ,with your death pangs untold.
Untold and unsoothed, not to be resurrected.
Forever and ever,an 18 year old.

Farewell then, no trains ever come from those regions
Unscheduled or scheduled, no aeroplanes fly there.
Farewell then my son, for no miracles happen,
As in this world dreams do not come true.


I will dream of you still as a baby,
Treading the earth with little strong toes,
The earth where already so many lie buried.
This song to my son, is come to its close.