Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a contemplative monk who spent 27 years
inside the walls of a Trappist monastery in Kentucky. Only in his last year was he
permitted to travel at any length. Even though he was never at Auschwitz this
poetry places him there so as to let a generous sensitivity and tenacious faith like
his respond to this horrendous calamity.

Merton stands for all those who, in the light of Auschwitz, ask the question:
where was God, and in so asking expose their belief to severe trial. Merton's
struggle with this question was lived out elsewhere. Only the location has been
shifted in the poetry that follows.
. . . Welcome . . . I look upon Auschwitz as being the central, most significant calamity of the 20th century.
Monk in Auschwitz
Charles L. Cingolani
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