The Truth

—Rose Mallinger, 97, killed last week in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, was incorrectly labeled a “Holocaust survivor” in a viral meme, which included a photograph of a woman who was also not her

Did Rose survive The Holocaust?
Did she escape from Germany
or Poland? Did she have to flee,
Haunted by loved ones that she lost?

She’s old enough, she looks the part,
she fleshes out the grieving meme,
but no, not so, at last it seems
that version of her falls apart.

The photograph’s not even Rose,
whose true and sweet and storied face
reminds me how a life of grace
can light what darkness tries to drown.

What is the truth? What is the lie?
How will grief and beauty travel?
How will what’s good start to unravel?
The simple facts won’t be denied:

Rose went to temple for shabbat
and then, in violence was lost.
Did she survive the holocaust?
She did not. She did not.

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