This October, Yale University Press will release a new collection of stories by Tadeusz Borowski (1922-1951). Here in Our Auschwitz and Other Stories, translated by Madeline Levine, offers “the first authoritative translation of Borowski’s prose fiction, including numerous stories that have never appeared in English before.”
Arrested and taken to Auschwitz in 1943, Borowski is one of the most important writers of the Holocaust. His book of stories, This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, is essential reading about what happened in Auschwitz.
The following poem by Borowski is taken from a site dedicated to his poetry. To read other poems click here.
I did not join the Home Army
I did not work for the Resistance.
I spent my nights studying
at the underground university.
My friends looked death in the face,
many were killed, as in any battle,
and I wrote about Liebert,
Staff, epithets and rhythm.
I did not smuggle goods to Warsaw,
I never went to trendy bars.
I wrote poems. Not for fame,
but because I had to. Trifles. Youth.
I was not a gold broker,
I didn't know the rates of exchange.
I had a girl. Long nights, my love ...
Where is she? Torture ...
That was my life ... poems, love,
without character, empty, pale.
Perhaps it would not have been wasted
if I'd killed just one single German.
By the way, there is a competition to design a cover for This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman. To read about it, click here.