In Poland in January, by a mass grave for children murdered in the Holocaust, poet Andrew Lustig was challenged by his teacher to write a letter to his future child.
“It was freezing out. We lay down on the snow or leaned up on banisters. It was pitch black out, too, except for the memorial candles, and for some reason I just connected to that prompt,” relates Lustig. “And I remember about 15 minutes later when everyone was on their way back to the bus I looked up and I realized one of my friends had been waiting for me, holding a flashlight over me so that I could write.”
In his follow-up to “I Am Jewish,” a poem capturing the ethos of what it means to be young and Jewish in America today, Lustig tackles what the Holocaust is for today’s Fourth Generation.
“My Child, the Holocaust Denier,” produced with the support of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, where Lustig is studying this year, addresses Lustig’s future 10-year-old child and deals with the ineffability of the murder of six million Jews.
“Basically, I really hope that one day remembrance, regarding the Holocaust, can mean something different. I hope that my children can live in a world where they are so accepted and appreciated for who they are that the idea that anyone would hate them for it would be as unbelievable, at first, as if I told a child today that years ago people were hated and killed because they had hazel eyes, or dirty blond hair.”
“I Am Jewish” received well over 320,000 views. Posted on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, “My Child, the Holocaust Denier” is already starting a lot of conversations, which, for Lustig, is really the whole point.