By Anna Clover

The poem is inspired by Grandmother, (a Holocaust survivor), and the stories she has told me over my life.

Although my Nan’s first 25 years were dominated, first by anti-Semitism, and then by war, her stories have always centred on the personal and I am continuously surprised by how easy I find them to relate to.

For many years I have been particularly drawn to my Nan’s telling of her relationships with men, the stories seem so modern and so unaffected by the politics that dictated the details of all other aspects of her life, and yet she is acutely aware that had it not been for the Holocaust, for the personal and political upheaval everyone she knew was suffering, then her life would have been unimaginably different. The positivity she finds in this has always inspired me. ‘You live differently, you live more, if there is a very real chance you will die tomorrow. We all thought we would probably die tomorrow. if it hadn’t been for Hitler, I do worry I may not have ever done anything interesting’.

This is my response to stories my Nan has told me about her childhood in Germany and her late teens and early twenties living as a refugee in Scotland.

Ruth (Listen to mp3)

Ruth (Download word doc.)

(NB Please note this poem contains strong language and adult themes.)

 Anna is a facilitator, making theatre with various groups across London and working with young people with additional needs. She also performs in devised theatre shows and is currently focusing on developing her writing, particularly in getting involved in spoken word.

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