Hunger | Mommy Why Did You Leave Me?

by Ibi Grossman

    "Mommy, Mommy please give me a little piece of bread,
    I am hungry, very hungry!
    Just this little Mommy."
    My two year old son put his two tiny fingers together
    Showing just how little he wanted.
    How can I say to a baby that we don't have any bread?
    And soon we are all going to die of hunger?
    It has been a week now that we have had hardly any nourishment
    And for the last two days nothing but water.
    "Tomorrow, my son, tomorrow maybe the war will be over,
    And you will have all the bread you want!
    Hush, hush little one, go to sleep, don't cry
    Mommy will hold you, my darling and sing you a lullaby.
    Another day passes and the hunger becomes stronger
    And our bodies weaker and weaker.
    I'm very tired. Very sleepy,
    But I can't be! I have my son to take care of
    I have to live for him.!
    "Just one more day darling, Here, take a sip of water. It will help you."
    And the next day comes and goes
    But no food, only hope,
    Hope that tomorrow we will be free.
    The next morning we hear unusual noises
    Some excitement among the starving people.
    We all rush out to the courtyard
    And there , he is a - Russian Soldier,
      Who just liberated us!
    I run out of the Ghetto, the tremendous joy
    Puts strength into my frail body.
    I run to our house, to our old neighbours
    So out of breath I can hardly speak.
    "Please give me some bread, only a piece for my baby
    He has almost starved to death.
    Receiving the precious food
    I thank them with tears running on my cheeks.
    Back in the Ghetto with the priceless bread
    I cut a piece and give it to my child.
    He looks at it with wide, unbelieving eyes,
    hen crying and laughing and jumping with joy
    He bites into the soft, beautiful, white bread.

This poem was written by Ibi Grossman in the Budapest Ghetto, In January 1945,
just before the liberation by the Soviet Army. Translation
is done by the author.
Published here with the author's permission.