6: Poem, “Well-Bred People” by Jacob Glatstein, with audio recording.
Jacob Glatstein, a contemporary of Sachs, was born in 1896 in Lublin, Poland, and was also a well-established writer before the Nazi era. He immigrated to the United States in 1914 during the period of mass migration of Jews from Czarist Russia and settled in New York City, where he became a distinguished member of the Yiddish literary circle. His Holocaust poems, among which “Well-Bred People” can be counted, are a small part of his vast oeuvre, but they are visceral and passionate in articulating the lessons of the Holocaust for humanity.
Suggested Activity: Listen to the Glatstein poem in the original Yiddish, and then read the English translation aloud with students. Then ask: What feelings, thoughts, and questions does this poem evoke? Who is being addressed in this poem? How does the Glatstein poem "speak" to “Written in Pencil” and to the Nelly Sachs poem in resource #5 above? Is the “they” in Glatstein’s poem the same as the “you, onlookers” in the Sachs poem and the “you (plural)” in the Pagis poem?
Source: Jacob Glatstein, I Keep Recalling (New York: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1993), 213.
The audio recording was made by Rabbi Robert Sternberg at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, 2017.