Third place entry
The Last Flashlight
A word we are all familiar too,
The belief that if someone is different from you,
That they somehow deserve worse.
Just because of the color of their skin, or the religion that they belong to,
They should be treated poorly.
One look, you decide,
Black or White,
Tall or Short,
Girl or Boy,
But in the end, we are very much the same.
In Society today, it is a huge problem,
But even around 100 years ago, our world didn’t look much different.
It was the year 1941,
The world couldn’t trust anyone,
When Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party,
Took control of the European Country,
Their goal was to eliminate the ones they deemed unworthy,
A five-year tragedy,
A topic still talked about today,
Many people were affected, but the Jewish population was never the same,
6 million died,
Approximately 5 million other lives were lost as well,
For racial, political, Ideological, and behavioral reasons,
All of these innocent people were targeted out of hate,
You may have heard of it as,
Throughout this darkness,
There were, indeed, some light,
The very few that escaped, the ones that fought for life,
They couldn’t have done it, without the remarkable individuals that cared,
The Non-Jewish local citizens,
Who did everything they could,
To save many precious and innocent lives,
The Righteous Among the Nations,
Is what they went by,
The ones that didn’t back down,
Instead, they prepared to fight,
They hid people in their homes, they allowed people to escape,
They lied for them when the time came,
The ones that made it possible for the people to live and tell their stories today.
These truly remarkable people,
Were more than just leaders,
They were heroes,
And they deserve to be recognized.
These people were sacrificial, and determined to save many lives,
They saw the helpless looks in their eyes,
And loved each and every one of them,
For whom they were, not who they were labeled to be.
There was one specific individual,
That stood out amongst the crowd,
Her name was Sofka Skipwith,
And her efforts during the years of the Holocaust and World War Two,
Shall never be forgotten, never to be left behind.
She was once a German Prisoner,
But was released in July 1943,
She was aware of the horrors that await.
At the beginning of 1943, 280 Jews arrived in Vittel from Warsaw,
And from the moment she saw their faces,
She knew she had to help them,
They appeared dazed and confused, spoke softly, and walked very slowly,
They were helpless.
Sofka created fake documents,
She even wrote a list of Jews, and sent it to the camp,
In hopes of protecting them from deportation.
Sometimes they fail, and their plans don’t work,
But that doesn’t mean they give up.
The fake documents were discovered,
Those people were in serious danger,
But she couldn’t do anything about it, she couldn’t save anyone.
But besides them, were many others that needed her help as well.
After the first round was deported,
Sofka was able to do something great,
With her fearless actions, and the help of a friend,
Sofka and Madeline White, another British citizen,
Used their resource with the resistance movement,
And successfully allowed some children to escape.
No, but they weren’t finished yet,
They knew there was someone out there that needed their help,
And when that someone came,
They didn’t waste any time, they knew it was their duty to pay,
It was a newborn baby, left alone in the hospital,
With nobody to claim,
The two women looked into the babies’ eyes,
and immediately fell in love,
They smuggled the newborn out,
Even risked their lives,
For what they knew was right,
And in the end, after all their hard work,
It paid off; the baby survived.
Being referred to as Righteous Among the Nations,
Requires you to be sympathetic, to have a love for all humanity.
These Amazing women were aware that what was going on was absurd,
And while everyone ignored the situation,
They chose to take a stand,
And while she may not have saved millions,
She still made a huge impact at the time.
In a world full of darkness,
Her efforts gave the world a flashlight.
While we may believe that the world has changed,
That something as horrific as the Holocaust won’t ever happen again,
Then society is wrong, it isn’t over yet.
Our world is not all sunshine and rainbows,
Realistically, it can be very scary at times,
But we as a whole, are the cause for the world’s mistakes,
We have people out there, like Sofka,
That want to make a difference, want to make the world a better place.
People like Sofka, inspire me every day,
To be somebody that could change the world someday.
You must have passion, a source of motivation,
That will eventually lead you to success.
You must have love, a love for all people,
What if something like the Holocaust ever happened again?
Would you volunteer to help anyone that needs you?
Not because of who they are,
But out of the kindness and love you have in your heart.
Our world used to be a wreck, you see,
But now we have a better economy,
Over the years, technology and resources have developed,
But that doesn’t mean that we are problem free.
There is still significant amounts of hate and discrimination,
And if we don’t do our part,
A horrific event like the Holocaust could easily start again.
We must put our differences aside,
And come together as one.
We are all just people,
And we were born into this world for a reason.
Memorial Museum, United States Holocaust. “Righteous Among the Nations.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Date Not Listed, encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/righteous-among-the-nations.
Kaye, Ephraim. “Holocaust Survivors: Survivors of the Nazi Extermination Camps.” Survivors of the Nazi Extermination Camps, Desecraters of Memory: Confronting Holocaust Denial, 1997, www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/survivors-of-the-nazi-extermination-camps.
Lipstadt, Deborah E., and Ron Kampeas. “The Holocaust: Non-Jewish Victims.” Non-Jewish Victims of the Holocaust, Holocaust Forgotten, 31 Jan. 2017, www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/non-jewish-victims-of-the-holocaust.
Vashem, Yad. “About the Righteous.” Yadvashem.org, Yad Vashem, date not listed, www.yadvashem.org/righteous/about-the-righteous.html.
Vashem, Yad. “‘Women of Valor.’” Yad Vashem, 14 June 1998, www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/righteous-women/skipwith.asp.
I wrote The Last Flashlight, about how even throughout the period of the Holocaust, there was still a light in the darkness. Similarly, even though it has been a very long time since the Holocaust took place, our world is still a very scary, unsafe place, and it will continue to be that way, generation after generation, until we as a community can put our differences aside, and come together as one to make the world a better place. I thought that maybe writing this poem about something that I am very passionate about, may encourage others to look on the bright side of situations as well.
Sadie Sohns is a student in Maisy Sylling’s eighth grade class at Chase Middle School in Spokane.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.