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Poems by a Former Warsaw Ghetto Survivor and Resistance Fighter

Pieśni żałobne getta [Ghetto dirges].

[Katowice]: Nakładem Wyd. Julian Wyderka, 1946. Octavo (21 × 15 cm). Original illustrated wrappers; 58, [3] pp. Photographic frontispiece. Signed and inscribed by the author. Very good.

First edition. A collection of laments and funerary songs for the dead of the Warsaw Ghetto written by the Polish-Jewish writer Izabela Stachowicz, who was herself interned in the Ghetto but managed to escape. The laments commemorate specific individuals with titles such as “Song about little Lily” or “Song about Julik Sanderz.” Literary scholar Frieda Aaron writes: “Both in concentration camps and the ghettos, most of the poets created poetry less as a means of self-expression than as succor, a vehicle of mitigating daily disasters. This phenomenon reflects the tradition of Jewish literature that responded to over two millennia of Jewish suffering with poetry, threnodies, and liturgy of consolation” (“Bearing the Unbearable: Yiddish and Polish Poetry in the Ghettos and Concentraton Camps, p. 3). The author, born Izabela Stachowicz (1893–1969), was known as Porucznik Czajka (Leutenant Swallow) in the Polish underground resistance army, which she joined following her escape from the Ghetto, with her portrait in uniform included in the publication. Daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur, prior to the war Stachowicz graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris, befriending Matisse, who drew her portrait, and Stanisław Witkiewicz (Witkacy) who used her as a prototype for his character Hela Bertz. After the war Stachowicz, who possessed a substantial art collection herself, was part of a commission charged with repatriating lost and looted Polish art. Today Stachowicz is best remembered for her humorous semi-autobiographical sketches about her life and travels in the interwar period, published under the name Izabela Czajka Stachowicz. Scarce in the trade.

Book ID: 50837

Price: $650.00