Written in Auschwitz Case Study: Works Written in Auschwitz by Sonderkommando Participants, Polish Political Prisoners and Lili Kasticher

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Author: Lily Halpert Zamir, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Israel
Email: lilyzami@gmail.com
Published: November 2, 2018
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.5.2.03

Citation: Zamir, H. (2018). Written in Auschwitz Case Study: Works Written in Auschwitz by Sonderkommando Participants, Polish Political Prisoners and Lili Kasticher. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.5.2.03


Abstract

This study focuses on the works of three different groups of writers who dared to write in Auschwitz-Birkenau, where anyone caught with a piece of paper or a pencil stub was immediately sentenced to death. Accordingly, inmates produced virtually no written material (Shik, 2012), with certain rare exceptions: (1) The Sonderkommando, who documented everyday life at the camp, concealing their records in jars that they buried near the crematoria in the hope that someone would find them after the war, as indeed occurred. (2) Certain Polish political prisoners, who kept records in Auschwitz and managed to save their works. (3) Lili Kasticher, the only woman known to have written at Birkenau who did not belong to any organization; all her writings thus constituted her own private heroic initiative. She risked her life by stealing pieces of paper and pencil stubs to write poetry and encouraged her friends to do so, offering them a prize, a portion of her bread ration. Her writings were concealed on her person until her liberation in spring 1945.

Keywords

Sonderkommando, political prisoner, Auschwitz-Birkenau, death camp, writing