Stories of manuscripts hidden, smuggled, saved, and ultimately published, course through Holocaust literature. New to the genre is Harvest of Blossoms, somewhat atypical because it is poetry, and written by a girl who died in the lesser-known Michailowka, Rumania, camp in 1942, at age eighteen. Translated from German (she was multilingual), her writing these fifty poems of death, adolescent love, fright, with many recalling nature’s beauty, comforted her before and during incarceration.
The two editors, next-generation cousins of Selma, have written an extensive introduction. Detailing not only the poet’s volatile and lively life, but the efforts of Selma’s cousin, poet Paul Celan, to bring the manuscript to publication, the introduction includes a capsule history of her native city, Czernowitz, and its Jewish, multilingual culture and post-war implosion into Chernivitsi, UKR.
The poems, all short, touch both remembered joy “[the river] foams and roars and laughs at the chunks of ice,” with the end she knowingly faced “…fade like smoke, and leave no trace.” Through her poetry, Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger has not. Acknowledgments, introduction, notes, suggested further readings and media.