Hilda Stern managed to write poetry and prose in the Lódz Ghetto and even in the Auschwitz death camp. Following this she was forced to go on a death march to a camp in Berlin, from which she was liberated by American soldiers after three weeks. During her year in an Austrian DP camp, Stern rewrote much of her lost work and composed more expressing what it was like to be a displaced person. Years later, after her death, her husband discovered the writings. Translated into English, and with a narrative recovered from recorded interviews she made with story-teller Gail Rosen, it is a book that fascinates. How she managed to create works of beauty and pathos from such heartbreak is genius; her stories and recorded interviews have the rare quality of being lyrical even when what they are describing is tragic.
Rosen now performs Stern’s work, set to music, which has been released as a DVD.
Marcia W. Posner, Ph.D., of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, is the library and program director. An author and playwright herself, she loves reviewing for JBW and reading all the other reviews and articles in this marvelous periodical.