The Tree


Theresienstadt Tree

Sapling from the Theresienstadt Tree, Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza


I walk through the triangular plaza, this memorial to those known and unknown; those who survived, and those who perished because of hate. It is the little tree I focus on. It’s small but carries a mighty legacy of survival. I think of the children who tended its progenitor with such dedication, knowing that they themselves would most likely perish. I consider those children then, and all the children now fleeing from horror or living in war zones. In the words of a woman who survived hate, who survived a hell, I hear an invocation. “Hate is a terrible thing,” she says. And I think we must never forget: hate only nourishes more hate, but kindness makes both people and trees grow.


Ghosts walk among us

whisper through buried ashes

brave saplings rise up


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This Haibun is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday. We were to use synonyms for haunt and spell. Yesterday, I walked through the Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial, which was dedicated on Monday.  You can read more about it here.









49 thoughts on “The Tree

  1. Merril, I am so touched by your words. I feel like hate is out of control again in our world. We all needed this reminder. ❤

  2. A lovely poetic tribute, Merril. May the branches representing those who died and memories passed onto the next generations live on. Peacefully showing (or hoping) there will NOT be the ending Nazis and Adolph Hitler expected. . .
    Good to know seeds were sown around the world from the original Theresinestadt Tree. My Grandma Paula Hilmida Haller (Mattson) was born in Germany and came over with her mother. She was always vigilant about our words about German Jewish people, Native Americans and others she considered the “underdogs” in the way they were abused and slaughtered. She got teary eyed when talking about how in America living in Brooklyn, her neighbors and childhood pals were from all over the world. If only today we could say, “We have come a long way with this continuation of optimistic sharing and respecting each other’s culture.” ❤ ❤

    • Thank you very much, Robin. Apparently, there are trees all over the world from this one tree (which is now gone). I just read that the teacher somehow got a guard to smuggle the tree in to the camp, and the children used some of their water rations to water it! Only about 150 children survived, and after the water, the tree was replanted by the crematorium.

  3. Pingback: Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge Recap No. 107, “Haunt & Spell”, #SynonymsOnly – Colleen Chesebro ~ The Faery Whisperer

  4. Pingback: Walking Through Time and Colored Space – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

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