The NKU community was filled with knowledge and insight Wednesday afternoon following a Celebration of Student Research and Creativity project on poetry about the survival of the Holocaust.
The presentation entitled, “The Holocaust and Survival: An Exploration through Poetry,” was presented by Minadora Macheret, a graduating senior English major, who chose to write the poems as a part of her Capstone project.
Macheret presented her poems, giving background information as necessary for those who attended to follow along.
Macheret’s grandmother, Diana Seiden, who is 86 years old, was escaping from her home of Krivoy Rog, Ukraine with her family through commercial trains to Russia and in the process was separated from them.
As a result, Seiden spent five years going from farm to farm working with the empty promise of food. Much of her family suffered in concentration camps through the Holocaust. Seiden eventually contracted Tuberculosis and was taken in a by a woman until she was well again.
Following her suffering, she was reunited with her family, only after recognizing a small child in the area she was in and as a result was able to get into contact with her family.
“My grandma always was, is, and will be a survivor and inspiration,” said Macheret.
Macheret wrote her poems to capture the unreleased feelings and experiences of her grandmother, as recounted to her through cooking together. Her grandmother refused to speak of her experiences to others and only spoke to Macheret through their shared hobby of cooking Ukrainian dishes.
Seiden, a retired real estate agent, speaks English but speaks Russian as her native language, in which the poems are often translated.
Macheret wrote the poems as if she was her grandmother in order to illustrate the emotions and experiences and get the full meaning of them across.
“When you’re writing it, it’s easy to get stuck in the emotion,” Macheret said of her poems. “Sometimes I need to just walk away from it and not go near it,” she said.
Macheret’s presentation received enthusiastic applause upon reading her poems and sparked many questions from audience members.
An audience member asked her whether or not her grandmother felt relieved about her writing the poems. “I think you understand me more than I thought,” Macheret rsaid sharing the words of her grandmother after having seen her granddaughter’s project.
Macheret took the study abroad class, “Ecuadorian History and the Holocaust,” in Ecuador in 2012 and participated in service learning there. Through her experiences there she has made connections and will be returning this summer to share her poems with people and to teach them about her grandmother’s experiences.
“A Modern Krystal Nacht” by Minadora Macheret
Fucking Jewish Pig
sprayed on my car.
It easily melted into dew—.
Shards of glass glistened
as God tried to fit his hand
through the sharp edges.
The fog returned sticky, almost
sweet—and stuck. I couldn’t wipe it away.