4: Poem, Avrom Sutzkever’s “For My Child,” 1943, Yiddish with English translation.
The Yiddish poet Avrom Sutzkever wrote “For My Child” in the Vilna ghetto after his wife had given birth to an infant that was immediately murdered by the Nazis.
Suggested Activity: Read the poem aloud as a class. Ask the students to consider what choices Sutzkever made in writing about an infant murdered by the Nazis, and how they differ from Ozick’s choices. How does the fact that Sutzkever’s poem responded to an actual historical event—the death of his child—make it different from Ozick’s story?
Sources: Avrom Sutzkever, “For My Child,” trans. Seymour Mayne, Burnt Pearls: The Ghetto Poems of Abraham Sutzkever (Oakville, Ontario: Mosaic Press, 1981), 33. This translation is for non-commercial and non-profit use. If anyone wishes to reprint the work they should contact Seymour Mayne for further directions and permission.
Avrom Sutzkever, “Tsum kind,” Lider fun geto (New York: Ikuf, 1946), 16–17.