By Fabiano Soares

I was born in 1929 in Dresden,

As I grew older, my parents were rebuilding the country

Next to millions of others survivors and migrants

Skins of all shades, religions of all liturgies…

And we use to hear on the radio:


– We need to save our nation – they said.

– We need to clean our nation. – And that sounded so right.


Our house was the first to be invaded, my father the first to be killed

They led us for days through dirty rooms and cramped trains

I came to the place that would be my home for the rest of my childhood

A wooden box, under another wooden box (my mother).

We were things I didn’t understood at that time:

A Jew, a pastor, a gypsy, a nun and a gay…


The Jew hoped for a miracle, he believed in the Lord of hosts

And every night, starving, he prayed, hoping for a miracle.

But on a winter morning the God of Abraham and Moses was not there

The angel of Yahweh didn’t appear to save and release him from Pharaoh

And he was taken. There was no miracle for him that morning.


The Lutheran minister also waited a miracle, he believed in the Holy Ghost

And every morning, he prayed, waiting for his miracle.

But in an ordinary afternoon, an ordinary soldier with an ordinary bullet, took his life

The power that saved Paul and Silas did not came to break the chains that afternoon

He fell, shot for complaining. There was no miracle for him in that field.


– We need to save our nation – they said.

– We need to clean our nation. – And that sounded so right.


The gypsy expect her miracle, she believed in the power of her ancestors

And every sunrise she sang so beautifully that our pains were forgotten for a while

But on a summer night, the ancestors turned their backs to her

And the power of her songs did not serve to erase her pain

They raped her until she asked for death, and she died without seeing her miracle.


The nun more than anyone had faith in everything, especially in miracles.

And every second she prayed to Jesus, Mary and Joseph and also the legions of angels.

But after a few years, weak and sick, blind, she left her life in pain

And that daughter of Israel, new Christian, had no consolation in her eyes

All Saints failed her, the angels were far away.

She agonized in bed until the life left her flesh, no miracle happened.


The gay was a scientist and believed in the miracles of life

He believed that science, progress, the light of truth would save us all

But it was as a guinea-pig in a Nazi laboratory that he lost his life.

And the scientists were not angels to him, but his headsmen

I helped bury his body, mutilated, and I saw his face eternally frozen in terror.


– We need to save our nation – they said.

– We need to clean our nation. – And that sounded so right.


Finally it was my mother, then I knew she was what they called a Communist

Like my father, she believed in the miracle of the revolution, the strength of union

But one day they called her number, and the trace of tear in your kiss is my last memory

Today I know she died in the “showers”, like millions of others

The miracle of the revolution too did not came for my mother.

I did not believe in anything, I was not religious, and I did not understand politics

I did not believe in revolution and did not understood science.

I had not even hope.

But one day the great gates were opened, and the miracle came, to me

The Red Army arrived a day too late to save my mother

But they found us alive, dozens of living bodies, waiting or not for miracles.


Now I’m 86 years old, I still live in Hamburg, where I sought employment after the war

I have rebuilt my country alongside millions of survivors and migrants

My nation destroyed half the world, and half the world came to rebuild us

People of all colours, religions, genders, built our wealth.


But now we turn on the TV and hear:

– We need to save our nation – they say again.

– We need to clean our nation. – And hear this may sounds so right.

‘Roll Call’ a drawing by Jan Komski (a Holocaust survivor)



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