A Lesson in History

A Lesson in History
Professor Karen Alkalay-Gut  


I know who betrayed them
in nineteen thirty nine,
who whispered to the British
that they were Reds
on their way to the Holy Land,
that he was an excon
a noncitizen

I know who was given
their possessions as payment
while they were sent back
from Haifa port
in their summer clothes
to certain death in Danzig

I know his name,
the man who would have
denied my birth
who caused me to be born
amid falling walls,
not palm trees

Just as I know
the name of my angel
the aunt who came to their rescue
who had been waiting to rescue them
from the murderous streets of Danzig.

But she was extinguished
like a soul too pure for this world,
Malcah Katz, and he remains
to this day, the traitor-