An Israeli Poet, a Holocaust Survivor, Responds to the Poem in which Guenther Grass Writes that Israel is a Threat to World Peace

The Israeli poet, Itamar Jaoz-Kest, a Holocaust survivor who as a child was incarcerated in the Bergen-Belsen Extermination Camp, writes a poem in

response to the poem written by German author, Guenther Grass, in which he says:
“Israel’s nuclear power endangers fragile world peace”

Here is the poem translated into English and German, followed by the Hebrew original.






Open letter-poem to the writer Gunther Grass
“Israel’s nuclear power endangers fragile world peace.”
.Quote from the press by Gunther Grass:
I want to be a danger to the world.
And if the world is planning to destroy me – let not a stem of grass remain on the face of the earth after my destruction! Let not one speck of a blade of “Grass” for the pipe of Mr. Gunther Grass be left on the face of the earth, the world to which I pose a danger
That is my right!
It is my right to live or to die while all who rise up to eradicate me are being destroyed. It is my right to never again be carted off in a freight train destined for the great vacuum of the earth – a sobbing-child with head nestled in the bosom of my mother. She disappears into the ashen air rising from the land of Votan
And in that very hour, was soldier G.G on duty with the armed train-guard troops?
My heart persists and asks: where did the soldier Gunther Grass travel then, when I was a ten year old child trapped in a death-train?
Actually, it’s all the same to me, and you are a very honorable author, daily breathing in the clean, fresh air, imbued with the odor of Jewish ashes, in your old-new Germany.
That air which I breathed only once, seized and taken to your elusive land of beautiful rivers. So I have forbidden the two soles of my feet to touch again the land of your fathers
And perhaps I still awaken from time to time in my house, even in this seventh decade of my years. I reach out my hand to the bed next to mine, to my wife’s bed, reassured that life continues as it should
In the mornings, the powerful daylight of Eretz Israel fills my home. I turn on my TV and I turn on the radio, I watch and listen, as if possessed by the devil, to the sermons of Iran’s Ayatullolahs and to the arrogance of an Iranian Minister, displaying in his two hands a map of Land of Israel and its dimensions. He says “It is so small that in six to seven days it is possible to wipe it off the map,” or as you would say, “Ausradieren – To banish and to wipe out!” And I hear the sermons of the Mosque preachers in Israel and in the Arab lands calling out, “Ausradieren! – To banish and to wipe out!”
But why is their intention always directed towards myself, the Jew, and never towards you – Mr. Gunther Grass!

Nevertheless, there is a right belonging only to the Jews. This is the right to take with us as we are being annihilated this satiated world, grand libraries and spiritually uplifting music and all – into the nothingness, to share our ruin and our descent into the grave. Then radioactive rays will poison the four directions of the sky for all the inhabitants of earth.

Yes, we have the right!/ and this is also my right!/ the right of the people of Israel to close shut the creaking gates of the world/ upon its final descent from the stage of history/with the power of the final weapon/ and we have the right to declare/ at the price of the great fear born of three thousand years/ “If you force us again to descend from the face of the earth to its depths/,the entire globe will be turned back into nothingness.”

For is not the right to live a two way street? For you and for me/or/not for you if not for me!
Mr. Gunther Grass, esteemed author! The tin drums of the universe are thundering!
Oh, how I played with tin drums when I was an innocent child in my mother and father’s house.
But the drum stayed with those who took over the houses of our childhood. Still, its sound resounds in our ears night and day.
And this is the reason that we returned to Eretz Israel, tens of years ago, or hundreds of years ago, out of longing for the Land of our fathers devotion, the Land where our fathers and mothers also suffered persecution and fear. And the Land was waiting for us in the bosom of time.
For the truth is that it was not the promise of quiet and peace that called to us, that pulsated under our skin, but the desire to live to the maximum as our true selves, just as you are permitted to live your true self, honorable writer and poet.
Yes, I envy you: why is your right to live unchallenged and absolute! Why is my right to live defined as an echo and a silence!
And it is I who is a danger to the world?
And it is I – the eternal dangerous man – who also asks you this:
If it has been decreed that I must be wiped off the face of the earth to serve only as fertilizer for the rebirth of new grass, what is the reason and measure of justice that
you and your sons and the sons of your sons will continue to play with certainty among the fragrant grass, gazing up at the healing sun in the center of the horizon, while it is we the Jewish People whose existence will eternally suffer uncertainty and doubt?

Translated by: Shira Twersky-Cassel



 Guenther Grass {RIGHT}

Der israelische Dichter Itamar Yaoz-Kest, ein Überlebender des Holocaust, hat einen offenen Brief geschrieben, ein “Brief-Gedicht”, als Erwiderung auf das Gedicht mit dem der Deutsche Günter Grass den Staat Israel anklagt, “den bereits zerbrechlichen Weltfrieden zu gefährden“

Das Brief-Gedicht wurde auf dem Blog des Journalisten Ze’ev Galili in hebräischer Sprache veröffentlicht, und der Titel lautet: “Das Recht auf Existenz: Ein dichterischer Brief an den deutschen Autor”. Der Brief wendet sich namentlich an Grass, der zugegeben hat, während des zweiten Weltkrieges ein Mitglied der Waffen SS gewesen zu sein

Das Brief-Gedicht beginnt wie folgt


ja, ich möchte gefährlich sein

ich möchte der Welt eine Gefahr sein

und zwar so, dass nach meiner Vernichtung, auch nicht ein einziger Grashalm

auf dem Angesicht der Erde bliebe

und nicht ein einziger Grashalm für Gunther Grass’ Pfeife

auf der Erde, wo ich, seit ich geboren bin, eine Gefahr für die Welt darstell

Denn dies ist mein Recht

Es ist mein Recht zu leben, oder aber zu sterben, indem ich diejenigen, die vernichten, vernichte, und nicht wieder als weinendes Kind in einem Güterwaggon fahre

hin in die Leere der Welt, während ich meinen Kopf auf dem Schoss einer Mutter berge, die in der frischen Luft des Wotans Landes spurlos verschwindet

Später in dem Gedicht äußert Yaoz-Kest etwas, das nach einer bewusst gemachten Feststellung im Sinn der “Samson Option” klingt

Und während so das helle Licht des Landes Israel in mein Haus eintritt, stelle ich das Radio ein, und es ist schwer, die Predigten der Ayatollahs des Iran zu überhören und die Worte des angesehenen iranischen Ministers, der mit seinen zwei Händen die Landkarte Israels zeigt, um dann zu sagen: “Es ist so klein… innerhalb von sechs oder sieben Tagen kann es von der Landkarte ausradiert werden”, ist das nicht ein Wort in Ihrer Sprache – “ausradieren”. Und hier bin ich und höre die Predigten der Imame in den Moscheen des Landes Israel und in den arabischen Ländern, wie sie verkünden “ausradieren!”, aber sie beziehen sich immer auf mich und nicht auf Sie, Gunther Grass.

Und dennoch, es gibt ein Recht, das allein uns Juden vorbehalten ist (falls irgendein menschliches Wesen auf der Erde dieses Recht hat): falls wir zerstört werden, diese müde und übersättigte Welt mit uns aus dieser Existenz heraus zu nehmen, zusammen mit ihren wundersamen Bibliotheken und ans Herz gehenden Melodien – einfach so, nachdem wir ins Grab sinken, während der Boden noch radioaktive Strahlen in alle vier Winde verbreitet

Wirklich – wir haben das Recht! Und es ist auch meins!

Denn es ist das Recht der israelischen Nation zuletzt die Tür zur Welt hinter sich zu schließen, nachdem sie diesen Platz verlassen hat (nicht aus eigenem freien Willen!), und wir haben das Recht zu sagen, den Preis hat die 3000 Jahre alte Furcht bezahlt: “Wenn ihr uns noch einmal vom Angesicht der Erde fort zwingt, in die Tiefen der Erde hinunter – dann möge die Erde der Nichtigkeit entgegen schlingern.”

Die Samson Option – Israels Feinde mit wegzunehmen, und möglicherweise der ganzen Welt irreparablen Schaden zuzufügen – machte unter israelischen Strategen einschließlich Ariel Sharon die Runde, als eine allerletzte Möglichkeit für den Fall, dass Israel vor der Auslöschung stehen würde


זכות הקיום : איגרת-שיר לסופר הגרמני

אֲנִי רוֹצֶה לִהְיוֹת סַכָּנָה,
אֲנִי רוֹצֶה לִהְיוֹת סַכָּנָה לָעוֹלָם,

כְּדֵי שֶׁלְּאַחַר הִשָּׁמְדִי לא תִּוָּתֵר עוֹד פִּסַּת עָלֵה-עֵשֶׂב עַל-פְּנֵי כַּדּוּר-הָאָרֶץ,
אוֹ פִּסַּת עָלֶה ‘גְּרַאס’ – לְמִקְטַרְתּוֹ שֶׁל מַר גִּינְטֶר גְּרַאס
עַל-פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה שֶׁבָּהּ, מֵאָז יוֹם הִוָּלְדִי, מְהַוֶּה אֲנִי סַכָּנָה לָעוֹלָם.
כִּי זְכוּתִי הִיא זאת!
זְכוּתִי הִיא לִחְיוֹת אוֹ לָמוּת תּוֹךְ כְּדֵי הַשְׁמָדַת מַשְׁמִידַי, מִבְּלִי לִנְסועַ עוֹד כְּיֶלֶד-בֶּכִי בְּרַכֶּבֶת-מַשָּׂא
אֶל וָקוּם-הָעוֹלָם, בְּעוֹדִי מֵנִיחַ אֶת ראשִׁי בְּחֵיק אֵם הַנְּמוֹגָה בָּאֲוִיר הַצַּח שֶׁל אֶרֶץ ווֹטָאן,
וּפַח-הַשֶּׁתֶן מַתִּיז נִיצוֹצוֹת צְהֻבִּים-אֲפֵלִים אֶל קִירוֹת הַקָּרוֹן – כְּמוֹ יְרִיּוֹת-רוֹבֶה הַמַּתִּיזוֹת
נוֹזֵל צְהַבְהַב-אֲדַמְדַּם מִצַּד שׁוֹמְרֵי הָרַכֶּבֶת וּבֵינֵיהֶם – אוּלַי – גַּם הַחַיָּל ג.ג., כְּשֶׁהוּא חֲבוּשׁ קַסְדַּת-פְּלָדָה.
וְעַכְשָׁו לִבִּי מִתְפַּתֶּה לְהַקְשׁוֹת וְלִשְׁאול: לְאָן זֶה נָסַע הַחַיָּל גִּינְטֶר גְּרַאס בְּאוֹתָהּ הָעֵת?
בְּעֶצֶם, כְּבָר הַיְנוּ-הַךְ!
וּמַה עוֹד יִכָּתֵב בְּנוֹשֵׂא זֶה? אוּלַי כְּבָר הַיְנוּ-הַךְ!
הֲגַם כִּי נוֹשֵׁם אַתָּה יוֹם-יוֹם אֶל רֵאוֹתֶיךָ, סוֹפֵר מְכֻבָּד עַד-מְאד, אֶת הָאֲוִיר הַצַּח וְהַנָּקִי, אַךְ הַמָּהוּל
בְּרֵיחוֹ שֶׁל אֵפֶר, בְּגֶרְמַנְיָה הַיְּשָׁנָה-חֲדָשָׁה.
אָכֵן, אֲנִי נָשַׁמְתִּי אוֹתוֹ רַק פַּעַם אַחַת וִיחִידָה, בְּעֵת נוֹסְעִי אֶל אַרְצְךָ יְפַת-הַנְּהָרוֹת ,(לְאַחַר הַפַּעַם הָרִאשׁוֹנָה- הָרִאשׁוֹנָה וְהַקַּדְמוֹנִית)! וְהִנֵּה אָסַרְתִּי עַל שְׁתֵּי כַּפּוֹת רַגְלֵי לִדְרךְ עַל אַדְמַת אֲבוֹתֶיךָ.
וְאוּלָם, עוֹדִי מִתְעוֹרֵר מֵעֵת לְעֵת, גַּם בֶּעָשׂוֹר הַשְּׁבִיעִי שֶׁל שְׁנוֹת חַיַּי, וְשׁוֹלֵחַ יָדִי אֶל הַמִּטָּה הַסְּמוּכָה לִי,
אֶל מְקוֹם מִשְׁכָּבָהּ שֶׁל הָרַעְיָה, כְּדֵי לְהִוָּדַע כִּי הָעוֹלָם כְּמִנְהָגוֹ נוֹהֵג עַכְשָׁו.
וְכָךְ, בְּהָגִיחַ אוֹר הַיּוֹם הָעַז שֶׁל אֶרֶץ-יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל בֵּיתִי, אֲנִי פּוֹתֵחַ טֶלֶוִיזְיָה וַאֲנִי פּוֹתֵחַ רַדְיוֹ וּמַאֲזִין כִּכְפוּא-שֵׁד לִדְרָשַׁת האֲיָטוּלוֹת שֶׁל אִירָן וּלְדִבְרֵי הַשַּׂר נְשׂוּא-הַפָּנִים שֶׁל אִירָן, הַמַּרְאֶה בִּשְׁתֵּי כַּפּוֹת יָדָיו אֶת מַפַּת אֶרֶץ-יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמוֹר: “הִיא קְטַנָּה כָּל-כָּךְ…תּוֹךְ שִׁשָּׁה-שִׁבְעָה יָמִים אֶפְשָׁר לִמְחק אוֹתָהּ מֵעַל הַמַּפָּה”,אוֹ בִּלְשׁוֹנְךָ: “אַוּסרַדִירֶן”. וְהִנֵּה אֲנִי מַאֲזִין גַּם לִדְרָשׁוֹת מַטִּיפֵי הַמִּסְגָּדִים בְּאֶרֶץ-יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבְאַרְצוֹת-עֲרָב בְּהַכְרִיזָם “אַוּסרַדִירֶן!”, אַךְ כַּוָּנָתָם תָּמִיד אֵלַי וּלְעוֹלָם לא אֵלֶיךָ, גִּינְטֶר גְּרַאס.
וּבְכָל זאת, יֵשׁ זְכוּת הַשְּׁמוּרָה רַק לָנוּ הַיְּהוּדִים (אִם אָכֵן יֵשׁ זְכוּת כְּעֵין זוֹ לְבֶן-אֱנוֹשׁ עֲלֵי-אֲדָמוֹת): לְהִשָּׁמֵד וְלִטול עִמָּנוּ אֶל הָאֵין-יֵשׁ אֶת הָעוֹלָם שְׂבַע-הַיָּמִים, עַל סִפְרִיּוֹתָיו הַמֻּפְלָאוֹת וְעַל מַנְגִּינוֹתָיו מַכְמִירוֹת-הַלֵּב – כָּךְ-כָּךְ, לְאַחַר רִדְתֵּנוּ אֶל הַקֶּבֶר, בְּעוֹד הָאֲדָמָה פּוֹלֶטֶת קַרְנַיִם רַדְיוֹאַקְטִיבִיּוֹת
לְאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם.
אָכֵן – לָנוּ הַזְּכוּת! וּזְכוּת זוֹ – גַּם שֶׁלִּי הִיא!
כִּי זְכוּתוֹ שֶׁל עַם-יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהָגִיף סוֹפִית אֶת שַׁעֲרֵי הָעוֹלָם לְאַחַר לֶכְתּוֹ מִכָּאן (שֶׁלּא מֵרְצוֹנוֹ הַחָפְשִׁי!),
וְלָנוּ הַזְּכוּת לְהַגִּיד, בִּמְחִיר הַחֲרָדָה בַּת שְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים הַשָּׁנָה: ” אִם תְּאַלְּצוּ אוֹתָנוּ בַּשֵּׁנִית לָרֶדֶת מֵעַל פְּנֵי כַּדּוּר-הָאָרֶץ אֶל מַעֲמַקֵּי כַּדּוּר-הָאָרֶץ – יִתְגַּלְגֵּל-נָא כַּדּוּר-הָאָרֶץ לְעֵבֶר הָאַיִן”.
הֲלא זְכוּת-הַחַיִּים הִיא זְכוּת דּוּ-כִּוּוּנִית: גַּם לְךָ וְגַם לִי,     אוֹ/לא לִי וְלא לְךָ.
גִּינְטֶר גְּרַאס, סוֹפֵר נַעֲלֶה! תֻּופֵּי-הַפַּח שׁוּב רוֹעֲמִים בְּתֵבֵל!
הוֹ, כַּמָּה שִׂחַקְתִּי בְּתֻופֵּי-פַּח בְּעוֹדִי יֶלֶד רַךְ בְּבֵית אַבָּא-אִמָּא, אַךְ נוֹתַר הַתוף בִּידֵי הַדַּיָּרִים
אֲשֶׁר בָּאוּ תַּחְתֵּינוּ, וְאַף-עַל-פִּי-כֵן קוֹלוֹ עוֹד הוֹלֵם בְּאָזְנַי בַּיָּמִים וּבַלֵּילוֹת.
וְזוֹ סִבָּה-מִן-הַסִּבּוֹת לְכָךְ, שֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ גּוּפֵי בְּאֶרֶץ-יִשְׂרָאֵל, לִפְנֵי עֲשָׂרוֹת בַּשָּׁנִים,
אַחַר מְחוֹז-חֵפֶץ שֶׁהוּא חֶמְדַּת אָבוֹת וְגַם חֶרְדָתָם.
וְאוּלָם, לא הַשֶּׁקֶט קָרָא לָנוּ לָבוֹא, בְּקוֹלוֹ הַתַּת-עוֹרִי, כִּי אִם הָרָצוֹן לִחְיוֹת אֶת עַצְמֵנוּ עַד תום,
כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאַתָּה חַי אֶת עַצְמְךָ עַד תום – סוֹפֵר וּמְשׁוֹרֵר נִכְבָּד.
כֵּן, אֲנִי מְקַנֵּא בְּךָ: מַדּוּעַ זְכוּתְךָ לִחְיוֹת, הִיא – כֵּן!
וּמַדּוּעַ זְכוּתִי לִחְיוֹת, הִיא – קוֹל הַדּוּמִיָּה? וַאֲנִי הַמְהַוֶּה סַכָּנָה לָעוֹלָם?!
אוּלָם אֲנִי – אִישׁ-הַסַּכָּנוֹת, הֲגם כִּי בֵּן-הַנֶּצַח – שׁוֹאֵל אוֹתְךָ:
אִם נִגְזַר עָלַי לְהִכָּחֵד מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה וְלִצְמוחַ מִמֶּנָּה מֵחָדָשׁ בִּדְמוּת גִּבְעוֹלֵי הָעֵשֶׂב,
מַה טַעַם וּמַה מִדַּת הַצֶּדֶק, כִּי אַתָּה וְצֶאֱצָאֶיךָ תּוֹסִיפִו לְהִשְׁתַּעֲשֵׁעַ בֵּין גִּבְעוֹלֵי הָעֵשֶׂב הַנִּיחוֹחִיִּים
וּלְהַבִּיט בְּשֶׁמֶשׁ-הַמַּרְפֵּא שֶׁבְּאֶמְצַע הָרָקִיעַ,
בְּעוֹד אֲשֶׁר אֲנַחְנוּ – חַיֵּינוּ בְּסָפֵק-הַתָּמִיד?



Guenther Grass

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11 Responses to An Israeli Poet, a Holocaust Survivor, Responds to the Poem in which Guenther Grass Writes that Israel is a Threat to World Peace

  1. rosenberg says:

    a person whom wish bad thing to other is not human

  2. Phil Maisel says:

    Shame on you Gunther Grass.
    Life is a gift and is holy – to destroy it is a sin.
    People like you are who in the name of peace try to destroy it
    are planting seeds of hatred
    which served your country so well in II World War.

  3. Pini Dagan says:

    This Nazi which is called Gunter Grass, should be prosecuted for his crimes as a member of the S.S.
    Europe is already punished (the invasion of Islam) for what they were in the past, and what they are today, anti Semites!
    The Muslims are taking over Europe, within 25 years they will destroy the Christians culture, people like Gunter Grass, are going to pray to God and request the return of the Judeo Christian Culture.
    It’s too late already to make the change, Europe is Dead.

  4. Ariela says:

    After many trips to and through Europe I’ve managed, somehow, to never have allowed the soles of my feet to touch German soil!!B’HD!!
    Although everytime the plane,I happened to be in, would make a stop in Germany….I would just sit there in utter disgust as my spirit wept many tears for those lost to us in this wretched soil!!
    It took all of Germany to exterminate 6,000,000 souls…therefore ‘all’ of Germany is guilty…not just Hitler!!

  5. Sandra Goldberg says:

    I wonder what lies in place of a heart within your very being? That you are alive to spew forth hatred shows me as I am shown over and over again – what the tiny land of Israel has to contend with each and every day. Not a moment without guarding the lives of those who are brave and proud enough to live, laugh, love, cry and contribute to the well being of the world through so many ways.
    Israel is alive. The Jewish people are very much alive, in spite of the evil that surrounds us everywhere – so world of ignorant excuses for humanity – deal with it!

  6. pinhas yusim says:

    תגובתי היא : מצויין שמפרסמים את התגובות באופן גלוי ובאופן שהעולם במאה ה 21 צריך להבין ולהפנים שכל פעם צצים אנשים , אינטלקטואלים אשר יהיו ,שלמעשה היו ונשארו מזוהים עם תקופת הנציזם ואפילו נטלו חלק ואחר הפכו להיות “טהורים” וחכמים איני מבקר את האיש מבחינה מקצועית קטונטי כדי לעשות כך ,בתור יהודי וישראלי אני בז לו.

  7. Perla Vainberg says:

    I have a wishful thinking to publish this poem on the first page of all the world news papers and to throw leaves from planes so that everybody has to read it. Perla

  8. Maurice Cohen says:

    You must have observed that antisemitism is once again à la mode. but it has a new face. Of course all jews should be killed. The first man who ordered this was Paul in his letter to Thess. but now you can be antisemite with a cause; you hate the jews and there is always a majority in the UN assembly to vote for you comprising the Arabs, the leftists, the Moslems, the third world and the western states. Every on of them approve you. I forgot that among the antisemite the most dangerous of them are some Jews. Paul has been made saint.

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  11. G. Grass does not speak for all Germans. Not even for a majority. He has been chastised by public opinion and has significantly degraded his reputation by this poem. Most of my acquaintance who appreciated his novels understand that he is an old man becoming geriatric. His world view is a waning of a dark past, which is accepted by many, if not most Germans with all the cruelty and blinded ideology, as a dead end to humanity, coined by contempt for human life, which must not repeat in any way, neither in germany nor anywhere in the world. (Unfortunately, it has repeated itself, as it is a part of human nature, as seen in Kambodja, Uganda, Rwanda,…now Syria and Iraq).
    Most of the elites in today’s Germany reject these things from the deepest while having responsibility to understand and to withstand those who are thinking of or actually going to repeat history. I guess that G. Grass made his uniformed comments also from a desire to make the world a better place, namely, a world without the threat of total annihilation by a nuclear conflict, which had for 50 years been hanging over europe and during this time, has driven Grass’ agenda. He is an old man and seems to not having understood that it also was the balance of powers and the threat of MAD that served 50 years of peaceful development and stability to Europe. A balance which is also, for the time beeing, essential for Israel’s survival and very existence in the Middle East.
    Those who take power and responsibility in today’s Germany have understood these facts and have quite secretely provided Israel with means to project the ultimate power to her enemies, for at least 30 years. I am proud of these dolphins as a due assistance to the Jewish people, which have so much suffered from the generations of my grandfathers, who had at least a sense of the crimes going on and of the evilness of the racist Nazi ideology.
    Israel, take responsibility to fulfil your destiny, which is “to be a light unto the nations” reflecting the eternal love and truthfulness of the creator G’d. It is He who will see to it that the plans of the malefactors go wrong, from Haman to Ahmadinejad and further.
    Blessings from Freiberg/Saxony

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