Original German by Ilse Weber in Terezin, c. 1943
translated by Walter William Melnyk, 2016
When we leave work in the evening,
home lures us with no colorful, shimmering lamplight.
We stand, hesitating, before the door
at the horror of our darkened room.
They have taken our light in punishment,
because someone has done something wrong;
what, exactly, the camp has not learned.
We’ve been living in the dark now for weeks.
So you stand on the porch
looking up at the sky with all the stars.
The evenings are now so beautiful and long –
the whole barrack agrees.
Thus we have only now learned to understand
how wonderfully the golden stars shine.
And above all that you should go to sleep,
so you will not have to cry all night.