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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Poem I Read at the KLB Plaque Unveiling (Reflection by William Walderam)

I've had some asks for the poem I read at the unveiling of the plaque commemorating The Lost Airmen of Buchenwald.  In truth, I was asked by Mike Dorsey if I'd read it just before the event started and was handed a paper copy of the poem right then.  That copy went to a German journalist, but I've found the text online here:


By Willie Walderam, Royal Canadian Air Force, KLB 78402

I'll think of you dear KLB
Again some future day,
When the world is gay and free
And I am so far away.

Of those long appells in pouring rain
With neither boots nor shoes,
And the SS guards who counted us
Hitting whom they choose.

When I bounce my children on my knee,
I'll think of the Gypsy kids,
Who, instead of wearing ball and chain,
Should have been wearing bibs.

When I Lay in my cosy bed at night
I'll think of your hard boards,
With a single blanker to cover us,
And flees and lice in hordes.

Ironically, I'll think of how
You took our dog-tags from us, 
'Nix soldat-civil' you said,
Smiling fanatically at us.

Yes, you gave us soup and enough black bread
To etch out a mere existence,
Enough to keep us wanting more
And weaken our resistance

How two of our number lost their lives
For lack of medical aid;
You wouldn't even give them food
To help save them from the grave

And then: after eight weeks spent in your filthy soul,
Which seemed to me like years,
The Luftwaffe came, took us away,
I felt like shedding tears

And so to all you Konzentrators,

A toast I offer thee:

Here's wishing you a happy life,
And to Hell with KLB

I have no picture of me delivering the speech, which is fine - it's about them.

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