Belsen Silence – By Iolo Lewis

This poem was written by Iolo Lewis who served in the British 11th Armoured Division, which liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945.

Long gone the sound of battle from this foreign dell,
As we tread again the Belsen grass,
Remembering comrades, young men all,
Who died to reach this awful Hell,
Hallowed now for Eternity,
As the clouds from memory swiftly pass.

Listen then, can’t you hear,
The silence here around,
Telling us of terror,
And ancient bestial fear;
How real is this silence,

That permeates from underground?
Only fifty years ago, but now,
Forever, the silence condemns,
For here there lie, anonymous,
‘Neath the soil, as we reverently bow,
Remnants of a living dead,
Whose silence still transmits, transcends.

Listen to the silence still,
And lift your head on high,
Are you waiting for a question,
Or an answer, and a void to fill?
Quicken then the pulse, breathe deeper still,
Answer the silence to question, why?