A Family Story
Ludwika Stauber (1919-2018) and Maria Stauber-Latałło-Vermeil (1947-2018) my Grandmother and my Mother, photo by Marcin Latałło, 2016
NON OMNIS MORIAR
Non omnis moriar – my grand estate
Tablecloth meadows, invincible wardrobe castles,
Acres of bed sheets, finely woven linens,
And dresses, white dresses will survive me.
I leave no heirs.
So let your hands rummage through Jewish things,
Chominowa, woman from Lvov, brave wife of a spy,
Denouncer of others, mother of a Volksdeutscher.
May these things be useful to you and yours,
For they are near and dear to me;
no lute playing, no empty words.
I was thinking of you, when the Gestapo came,
As you thought of me, reminding me to them.
So let my friends break out holiday goblets,
Celebrate my wake and their wealth:
Kilims and tapestries, bowls, candlesticks.
Let them drink all night and at daybreak
Begin their search for gemstones and gold
In sofas, mattresses, blankets and rugs.
Oh how the work will burn in their hands!
Clumps of horsehair, bunches of sea hay,
Clouds of fresh down from pillows and quilts,
Clogged with my blood, will turn their arms into wings,
And change them from birds of prey into angels.