A Transformative Journey – Forrest Channing Hunter

By Forrest Channing Hunter

Editor’s Note: Forrest Channing Hunter, a student at Governor French Academy in Illinois and a member of Cultural Leadership’s Class Seven, wrote the following poem after visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum during the 20-day Cultural Leadership summer trip.


“Not Another Night, Not Another Star”

By Forrest Channing Hunter


All aboard shouts the conductor;

We’re herded into tiny railroad cars.

Not another night, not another star.


We sit and wait,

But life knows our fate

To be dead and gone without a trace

Not another night, not another star.


The train goes roaring down the track,

But we will never ever be coming back.

The constant noise of frick and frack.

Not another night, not another star.


The train comes to a screeching halt,

There’s no time to sing, dance, or play,

But it’s not my fault.

Never a longer day.

Not another night, not another star.


We see thousands of people just like us,

And we make no racquet, noise, or fuss.

We stand in line,

But we’ve committed no crime.

Not another night, not another star.


Our lives made a living hell,

And I have a story to tell.

But there’s the tolling of the bell.

The smoke and chimney tell it all.


The German troops push and pull

Matched by screams and cries

Yet there are no rules, all just lies.


Upon the dirty road we walk,

Yet no one can talk

About atrocities seen here,

Or places far and near.


The town resumes its normal life,

Unaware of our grief and strife,

The rest is all cheerful and bright

Except for our camp here.


The troops march us through the night

In the midst of our struggle and plight.

Inside the camp we go, very cautious and slow.

Then told to strip from head to toe,

They beat us ‘til we’re black and blue,

And gave us no reason why they were so cruel.


“Bereit, Zielen, Feuern!”

Said the German Kommandeur.

He shot us without reason

And, later, wasn’t charged with murder or treason.


We approach the final room

Full of coughing and gagging.

The Final Solution’s fulfillment.

All the Jews’ bereavement;

Our lives intermingled on a poisonous ground


They lead us in,

Lock the door.

The gas rains down like water from above.

All my family and friends loved

Shall reconvene at that other shore.


They open the door,

Air out the room,

The bodies cold and sore.

Fate has sealed my doom.


They take the bodies out and lay them on the ground;

The troops have no sympathy for dead bodies’ sound.

No sympathy, empathy, or apathy,

Only cruelty, ruthlessness, and brutality.


Killed with out defense

At only our expense,

Nobody cares about me;

I’m just a number now.


They take my body,

Open a chamber,

It becomes hot, a fiery danger.

I’m incinerated.

Let my smoke and ashes be a warning sign to these “super people”

Don’t burn another synagogue or temple!

For these events will transcend history,

And nevermore be a mystery.


It is my time to fly with our gracious Adonai.

With this, I have seen the worst and best of life.

And now I must bid you goodbye

For I have lived my last night.

Not another night, not another star.