(Shot by Peter Musurlian in California, Arizona, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland)
Peter Fischl was a young boy when Hungarian Jews were being
rounded up and killed during World War II. Unlike his father,
and millions of others, Fischl survived. He lived in the United
States for decades, when he saw a picture, in an old edition
of Life Magazine, taken of a young boy in the Warsaw Ghetto
The boy epitomized fear, as a German soldier stood behind
him, rifle at-the-ready. The photograph haunted Fischl, reminding
him of what his fate could have been, when he was about the
same age as the boy in Poland.
stayed up all night and wrote a poem, which he called: “To
the Little Polish Boy Standing with His Arms Up.” The
retired printer had generated millions of pages of words during
his career, but this was the first and only time he had been
moved to create and distribute his own work. He has used the
poem as a personal form of therapy, as well as a vehicle to
educate children and adults around the world about the horrors
of the Holocaust.
is seen in a number of Southern California classrooms teaching
tolerance to students from dozens of cultures. His words
leave an indelible imprint along with a lesson. That lesson
is not the hollow cry of “never again,” as Genocide
continues to revisit “a world that said nothing.” That
memorable line from his poem is all too prescient. It hauntingly
alludes to an inhumanity that humanity has yet to fully grasp
or appropriately respond to.
Europe, Fischl visits Budapest, Hungary, where he survived
the Holocaust and his father did not. He also journeys to
the Auschwitz concentration camp in Southern Poland.
Holocaust Soliloquy is a story of one man, one poem and one
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