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December 17, 2009 by · No comments

Molly Weinberg (this poem was written while she was in camp during World War II)

Photo: Robbie W T

Vitamins A, B, C
Smooth life’s way for you and me,
But if you’re really going far
What you need is Vitamin R.

Want some vegetables on the sly?
Want the occasional refreshing milk?
Want o bubble in the bath?
Or toddle off to town?
Want your shoes soled?
A little extra porridge?
Some bones for the soup?
You’ll find it all. O sweat!
No problem! You’ll have your food.
Just remember one thing:

Want a cottage to live in?
Your lingerie freshened up?
Are your windows broken?
Having trouble with the bed?
Want to consult the doctor,
Have the coiffeur do your hair?
Need a cleaning woman in?
You’ll have it all without delay.
Just insert, a the proper spot,
This lovely magic word:

You can be on the Palestine Stammlist,
And be baptized and hail from China,
You can have it locked up four times over.
Still, when its time to make your move,
The man you absolutely need is Weinreb,
Because the name sounds so nice!
You’ll get on the list immediately,
Because it’s so pressingly urgent.
Franz, of course, didn’t have it locked up,
Weinreb was his only chance.
And so, he’s leaving on the transport train,
He lacked, you know, the proper word:

When life is coming to and end,
And you clasp your dying hands,
When you stand at heaven’s door,
And hear the angel choir,
When you think you’re already wearing wings,
Already standing at the throne of God,
The entry will be barred to you,
Michael will signal with his sword
What is emblazoned there on the wall:
No “Nutritionists” need apply !!!

Translated from German by Jack Miles


(This biography was written by Amelie’s granddaughter Georgia Jones-Davis)

Amelie Matzner was born in Vienna, Austria in 1892. Shortly after World War I she moved to Germany where she met and married Joseph Weinberg, a Polish citizen who was in the men’s apparel business. The couple settled in Cologne. They had two daughters, Fanny (my mother, born in 1924) and Margot (born in 1929) and one son, who died in infancy.

In 1939 after Kristalnacht, Amelie and Joseph Weinberg put Fanny and Margot on a train to Paris to join Amelie’s two brother’s in Paris. Sam and Max Matzner settled in France in the early 1920s. The Weinbergs then fled to Amsterdam.

Margot was young enough to be spirited out of Europe by a group of American Quakers and ended up living with a family named Halprin in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Fanny remained in France. Uncles Sam and Max, who joined the French army, became prisoners of war. Fanny moved around with the French underground. She lived with a French family, in various group homes and at the end of the war was actually living in a convent. She went by the name Francoise Vincent.

Meanwhile Amelie and Joseph were put into a camp in Holland, Westerbork. Then they were sent to Thereisenstadt, the”show case” camp in Czechoslovakia. My grandmother worked in a sewing and in a mica factory. I do not know what work Joseph did. But he was sent on one of the last transports to Auschwitz, where he was gassed. Molly survived the camp. The poems that she wrote about the weird and strange way she and others lived through this experienced survived as well.

The Matzner family reunited in Paris after the war. Amelie came to Los Angeles to join both of her daughters in 1951 and died there in 1977.

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