Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Celia of Steel… A Grandson’s Eulogy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 4:38 pm on Thursday, April 8, 2021

By Robert M. Katzman © September 1997

Better tell God she’s coming

Her Granite Heart is still

After ninety-six years

So far from across the sea


Better tell God:

Celia of Steel

Is coming


She’s the last Immigrant

The last of the Europeans

The last of ten children

And with her husband Nathan

The last of twenty


Forged by murderous 

Pograms in Poland

–Slavic for “devastation”–

All blessed by Czar Nicholas II

Celia saw her Grandfather Moshe 

Killed by a mounted Cossack in 1914

And hidden behind a barn door

Watched as her Father Moshe 

Be decapitated in 1916


Tiny Celia turned hard as Steel

Not warm like Copper

Not soft like Gold

But tough, rigid, unyielding

Like a girder holding her

American family together


Her fierce dark eyes saw you

And saw through you

Her words could slice like a blade


You don’t live nearly a century

Without a will of Steel

A determination to live when

So many Central European Jews

Were slaughtered


Teenaged Celia worked her way

Alone across all of Germany

As a waitress in Bier-Gartens

To escape in a ship by the sea

In 1918


But now she’s done with America

Finished with Earth and

The pain and memories she carried

All her long life

A fighter to the end


She never surrendered

Not Celia Warman

She’s just moving on now

To her new Shtetl 

In the sky


Better tell God she’s coming

But He’ll know

They’ll Allknow

By the blazing reflection

Of the Sun’s


She’ll be That Angel

That Angel with 

The Wings of Steel


Never before published, she taught me about the Holocaust and what happened to all in her family–my family– who never made it to America when I was 8 in 1958, horrifying me. I didn’t believe her. I began reading then, all I could find, and 63 years later, I’m still reading/watching/learning, remaining horrified. I saw Anne Frank film the next year in 1959, at 9, adding pictures to her words and the fucking nightmares lasted for years.

Yom HaShoah is the Jewish Day of Remembrance for all 6 million who were killed in the Holocaust. I am not assuming that everyone knows about this.? If this memory of a valiant woman moves you, please share the link. She was the smartest person in my family, sharp to her end, and cold as ice. She watched her father die.

She died before my eyes. I was 47, and I can still see her rise, and fall back again, like it was yesterday.


Comment by Donald Larson

April 8, 2021 @ 4:50 pm


A wonderful tribute to a woman of resistance!


Comment by Beth Walsh

April 8, 2021 @ 6:15 pm

A beautiful story of will, resistance and determination. Thank you for sharing and yes, I shared it with my friends.
Hugs and more hugs, Bob.

Comment by Marilyn Zimmerman

April 8, 2021 @ 10:52 pm

“A woman of Valor”

Comment by Jim Payne

April 9, 2021 @ 3:12 am

So well you tell the story of the woman of steel.

Comment by Brad Dechter

April 9, 2021 @ 4:33 am

She’s not alone. You’ve paid a great tribute to some in the generation that saved us. Thank you!
Well said.

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