Words That Burn With­in Me: Faith, Val­ues, Survival

Hil­da Stern Cohen
  • Review
By – January 3, 2012
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.

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