Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Here in Our Auschwitz and Other Stories (Tadeusz Borowski)

Tadeusz Borowski was a Polish writer and journalist who survived time at Auschwitz during World War II. Borowski’s short stories about life in the Polish ghettos and Nazi death camps have been translated by Madeline Levine into a collection called Here in Our Auschwitz and Other Stories.

Borowski’s time in Auschwitz was harsh and brutal. He reflects on working on a railway ramp, witnessing Jewish victims arriving to their deaths in the gas chambers, being told to leave their personal effects at the train station as soon as they arrived. He also describes his time working in a Nazi “hospital” and the torturous experiments done on Jews and others. After the war, a small sampling of writings from Borowski discusses more of his time in Nazi camps. Silence, which is included in this collection, describes the aftermath of the liberation of Dachau. 

Here in Our Auschwitz is certainly not light reading. It is dark and not something that can be easily read. It will require reflection and likely will need some time to digest. Borowski’s stories are a reminder of how evil our worst side of humanity can be and that we need to remain vigilant to ensure the continuation of human rights and decency towards all.