an extract from Wilfred Kemsley’s Anthology exploring the impact of the Holocaust and its major themes


Walk, Gas, Fire, Ash

These steps, with regret, were repeated until death

The screams and cries ignored till out they died

No flinching from the officer off home after work he’d head

Fellow prisoners carrying businesses for the germans just doing what he said

How could they forgive, how could they forget

Pick a side, pick a job that would lead to our death

Work for nothing but never stop least you lose what little worth you have

Walk, Gas, Fire, Ash

Every day the same, every day another train rumbles down the track

Which way, which way, as left means life but right…

Right means into a place to be cleaned and warmed so they though

What’s wrong with hope? What’s wrong with prayer? Where they here to live?

Where they here for anything? We were people to right?

Right – that’s where you’re sent, where im sent, where we’re all sent, were sent.

Into the hole into the darkness my dignity and my possessions

What do they value more? My life or my shoes?

Into the darkness into the mass of so many, so many of us

Walk, Gas, Fire, Ash