Life and Death in Verses Case Study: The Writings of Lili Kasticher, the Only Woman who Wrote in Auschwitz

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Author: Lily Halpert Zamir, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Israel
Email: lilyzami@gmail.com
Published: December 8, 2017
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.4.si.02

Citation: Halpert Zamir, L. (2017). Life and Death in Verses Case Study: The Writings of Lili Kasticher, the Only Woman who Wrote in Auschwitz. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 4(si). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.4.si.02


Abstract

This paper focuses on the unique works of a young woman named Lili Kasticher, written at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp from April to November 1944. Lili, the only woman known to have written at Birkenau (Shik, 2012), risked her life by stealing pieces of paper and pencil stubs to write poetry and encouraged her friends to do the same, offering them a prize – a portion of her bread. The notes bearing her writings were concealed on her person until her liberation in the spring of 1945. The possession of a piece of paper or writing implement was absolutely forbidden in Birkenau. Anyone caught with such contraband was immediately sentenced to death. Consequently, inmates at Auschwitz produced no written material, with rare exceptions, such as the records kept by the Sonderkommando or the postcards that Germans ordered their victims to write, as discussed below (Levi, 1995).

Keywords

Sonderkommando, Auschwitz–Birkenau, death camp, underground writing