The Project




a Tribute

Edjo Frank

Jewish despair and hope haiku


All rights reserved – © Edjo Frank 2010




The last days of August 2010 I finished this project that was strongly appealing to me for quite a long time.

The project consists of a series of Haiku poems, written in English, on the tragedy that encountered my relatives and the Jewish people as a whole during the Shoah.

I wanted to account for the dark history, during World War II that overcame my family and caused that I have never known my grand-parents and many other relatives.

I wanted to pay a tribute to the life and merits of all of them, the greater part of whom were massacred and the few that survived.

As a small boy I felt and knew instinctively that there was a strong reason why my questions remained unanswered.  My mom and dad went undercover and participated in the resistance group around the illegal Dutch journal “Het Parool”. The two survived, taking with them a burden for life.

They told me a lot of formal information and stories, mostly cleaned of the emotional load.

The important missing part – emotion – came much later, little by little, when my father had to be mentally treated by professor Bastiaanse and afterwards started to write down his memoirs in his books in a novelized way. And through the interviews and video testimonies recorded by Steven Spielberg at my parents’ home for the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.

Until now my sister Joyce and I are puzzling to find missing links of relatives and their offspring.

Dordrecht, the Netherlands

31th August 2010.

Following are the first 3 haiku poems of the project.



Whisper tender wind

Name giving ancestors

Moaning melodies


The child clung to her

Empty eyes in worn suitcase

The rebbe looked away

Countless blind faces

Recall a vanished world

Footprints on blank soil


Rebbe: Yiddish, master, teacher, or mentor, is a Yiddish word derived from the identical Hebrew word Rabbi.

Shtetl: pronounced very similarly to the South German diminutive “Städtle”, “little town”;

Gemara and Makshan:

the Gemara and the Mishnah together make up the Talmud. The Talmud thus comprises two components: the Mishnah – the core text; and the Gemara – analysis and commentary which “completes” the Talmud

makshan (questioner, “one who raises a difficulty”) and tartzan (answerer, “one who puts straight”)

Kaddish: a prayer found in the Jewish prayer service. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God’s name. The term “Kaddish” is often used to refer specifically to “The Mourners’ Kaddish”, said as part of the mourning rituals in Judaism in all prayer services as well as at funerals and memorials. When mention is made of “saying Kaddish”, this unambiguously denotes the rituals of mourning

Shabbes: Yiddish “rest” or “cessation” is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night

Challah: (Khale – Yiddish) is a special braided bread eaten by Ashkenazi Jews and most Sephardic Jews, on the Sabbath and holidays

Hanukkah: the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE, Hanukkah is observed for eight nights, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar

Haiku (俳句)

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry, consisting of 17 moras (or on), in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 moras respectively. Although haiku are often stated to have 17 syllables, this is inaccurate as syllables and moras are not the same. Haiku typically contain a kigo (seasonal reference), and a kireji (cutting word). In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line, while haiku in English often appear in three lines, to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku. Previously called hokku, haiku was given its current name by the Japanese writer Masaoka Shiki at the end of the 19th century.

A working definition of “mora” was provided by the American linguist James D. McCawley in 1968: a mora is “Something of which a long syllable consists of two and a short syllable consists of one.

(Information retrieved from

3 Responses to The Project

  1. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four
    emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that
    service? Many thanks!

    • edjofrank says:

      Very sorry for this inconvenience – never happened before. I am informed that this might be caused by a spam filter or other irregularity on the receiver’s side. The only solution I can suggest is to unsubcribe this weblog.

    • edjofrank says:

      You cannot do this for him/her. Here are brief instructions for unsubscribing from a blog if the person has a username account:

      1. click the “unsubscribe” link on the emails of the posts received at the very bottom of the emails.
      2. go here >!/read/edit/ locate and click the “x” next to any blog there to unfollow it and no longer receive posts in the Reader or by email.
      3. go to the blog in question and click the unfollow/follow link on your Admin bar.

      If they do not have a username account then 1. applies.
      1. click the “unsubscribe” link on the emails of the posts received at the very bottom of the emails.

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