"In spite of all the horrors of the past … I believe in you.”
–Nelly Sachs in her acceptance speech for the 1965 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade
O die Schornsteine / O the Chimneys
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then without my flesh I shall see God. – JOB
O the chimneys
On the artfully contrived habitations of death,
As Israel's flesh floated in smoke
Through the air -
A star, there, received it, a blackened, a
Chimney-sweep star -
Or, could it be, sunbeam?
O the chimneys!
Jeremiah and Job, their dust, their release -
Who contrived you, who built, stone on stone,
For fugitives, this path of smoke?
O the habitations
Of death, so lovingly made ready for
The master of the house, the guest turned host -
O you fingers,
Laying down the threshold
Like a blade to sever death from life -
O you chimneys,
O you fingers, And Israel's flesh floating in smoke though the air!
From In the Habitations of Death, 1947
I drew today’s Google Doodle that can be seen on the Google website in Sweden, Germany, the US, Israel, Bulgaria, the UK and Ireland.
The occasion for the doodle is the 127th birthday of German-Swedish poet, playwright and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs. She escaped with her mother in one of the last planes from Berlin, one week before she was scheduled to report to a concentration camp.
For years Nelly Sachs lived with her mother in a small apartment in Stockholm supporting herself with translations, working on her poetry in the night.
The horrors Nelly Sachs experienced during the persecution in Nazi Germany and its aftermath are an ever-present theme in her work.
On her 75th birthday on December 10th, 1966 Nelly Sachs received the Nobel prize in literature together with Samuel Joseph Agnon.
More about the Google Doodle here: