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Polish Poetry about the Holocaust

Ze Śmiercią na ty [On familiar terms with death].

Warsaw: Spoldzielnia Wydawnicza, 1946. Octavo (17 × 11.5 cm). Original printed wrappers; 80 pp. Partially unopened and uncut. Signed and inscribed by the author to Tadeusz Kwiatkowski. Very good.

First edition. A collection of poems by the Polish-Jewish writer, activist, historian, and Holocaust survivor Michał Borwicz (1911–1987). The first part of the volume was written in the Lviv ghetto (Janowska concentration camp), where the author was held until 1943. Borwicz escaped from the camp in the fall of 1943 with the help of Żegota, a secret Polish organization aiding the Jews in occupied Poland. The remainder of the poems were written while Borwicz was a partisan fighter after his escape from the ghetto. In the introduction he explains that the assembled pieces are “found poetry” made up of story fragments, secret messages, orders, instructions, bits of journal entries and soldier’s songs and should be read as such. In 1945–1947 he was active in the Central Jewish Historical Commission, for which he documented atrocities in the Krakow ghetto, gathering documents and oral accounts.

Wrapper illustration by the graphic artist Maria Hiszpańska-Neumann (1917–1980). Hiszpańska’s studies in the Arts Academy in Warsaw were interrupted by WWII, during which she was active in the Home Army. Arrested by the SS, she was sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp as a political prisoner, where she made many drawings. Hiszpańska managed to escape the camp in April 1945. After the war she designed numerous book covers, working primarily in woodcut techniques. The item contains a dedication by the author to the Polish satirist and screen writer Tadeusz Kwiatkowski (1920–2007).

Book ID: 52311

Price: $350.00