They wore masks, multicolored masks for breakfast, lunch, and
dinner, at work and in the home, in the spring, summer, fall, and winter, different faces for different occasions and seasons;
ordinary faces, nondescript, boring faces, barren faces,
dispassionate faces, forgettable faces;
they possessed charming faces, glittering faces, faces of joy
and hypnotic faces too, hiding dark truths and secrets.
Inside Auschwitz, they wore savage faces, twisted faces,
gnarled faces, brittle faces exploding into monstrous rage.
But at Solahutte, a recreation lodge by the Sola River
outside the death camp, SS officers and SS female
auxiliaries (Helferinnen) shed steel masks of sin,
concealing hidden layers of iron hatred and ineffable
evil metastasizing in brain cells devoid of soul.
And they covered their dark faces with gold masks of
joy and laughter.
They wore multicolored masks and now, we struggle to
decipher who they really were.
Some speak of the banality of evil.
Were they ordinary people-good,
civilized folks obedient to authority,
or a volcano of Aryan identity and
madness ready to explode in the
secret innards of Auschwitz?
I see their smiling faces at Solahutte,
unscarred by savage deeds,
and I suspect the latter.