I want to write about Viktor Ullmann,
but don’t know how without
inventing new language. No words
in the dictionary are sufficient
to describe or portray the unspeakable
and monstrous moment when he was
twenty-one and Nazis transported him
to Terezin, a concentration camp. On
September 8th, 1942 within the squalor
of that ghetto he organized lectures,
wrote critiques, performed as a pianist,
and continued to compose. While in
captivity, he wrote more than twenty
works. He no longer saw the pearl moon
or yellow sun without companionship of
150,000 other Jews among which were
15,00 children.

In October of 1944
Viktor was transported by train to
Auschwitz. His separation from
the world ended with the turn of a gas

I shudder at my inadequacy
to delineate the detestable murders,
the evil atrocities of his abhorrent
captors, but the Nazis did not kill
Viktor’s poem, “The Butterfly,” which
he wrote on a thin piece of copy paper
and which was discovered after the
liberation of Czechoslovakia. The
butterfly opened its wings and gave Viktor
an imaginary escape and a legacy that
transcends man’s outrageous criminality
with inherent beauty that will never die