Przeżyłam Oświęcim

Author Krystyna Żywulska Polish

On View Gallery Watson Library

Krystyna Żywulska’s, Przeżyłam Oświęcim (I Survived Auschwitz)—one of the earliest Polish accounts of the Holocaust—was part of the school curriculum in Poland from 1949 to 1965. It was first distributed in several hundred thousand editions in both the original Polish and in the Russian translation. The first uncensored edition was published in 2004. The cover and illustrated plates depicting life in the camp are by Polish artist Maria Hiszpańska-Neumann (1917–1980).

In June 1943, Żywulska was arrested by the Nazis in Lotz and imprisoned as a member of the Polish resistance. She was transported to the Pawiak Prison in Warsaw, from which she was taken to the Auschwitz-Birkeneau death camp. She escaped the 1945 death march that forced prisoners to evacuate Birkenau. Żywulska concealed her Jewish identity from the Germans, escaping the fate of most prisoners. She wrote satirical songs and poetry that spread through oral tradition within and beyond the camp. Żywulska’s works are in the archives at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the Archives at Auschwitz. In 1963, Żywulska published another autobiographical novel, Pusta Woda (Empty Water), which describes her experience in the Warsaw Ghetto and reveals her Jewish identity to her readers.

Przeżyłam Oświęcim, Krystyna Żywulska (Polish, 1914–1992)

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