An anthology of poems about Auschwitz in English. In new design! The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has published The Auschwitz Poems: An Anthology in English. This is a large volume of 400 poems by 250 poets from around the world. Some were Auschwitz prisoners like Primo Levi, Halina Birenbaum, Charlotte Delbo, Friedrich Löwy and Tadeusz Borowski, and others are modern poets including the Nobel-Prize winners Roald Hoffmann, Elie Wiesel, Salvatore Quasimodo, Wisława Szymborska, and Czesław Miłosz.
The poems by former prisoners represent an exceptional documentation of a world now past of contempt and evil, and serve as evidence of crime and messages about the truth of Auschwitz. They were written to preserve the internal freedom and affirm the humanity of the poets.
Adam A. Zych, the editor of the anthology, says that "camp, lager, prison poetry proved that it is possible and imperative to remain a human person and a creative being in even the most difficult conditions, rather than an object doomed to contempt and destruction."
The work by postwar poets is a significant discourse with the view of the German philosopher and sociologist Theodor Adorno that writing poetry after Auschwitz is an act of barbarity. Henryk Jasiczek, one of the Polish poets whose work features in the anthology, wrote that "One can look on the world / through / the magnifying glass of amazement /the diminishing glass of doubt / through the fingers through tears / black blue and rose-colored glasses / and through / ( . . . ) the thousands of empty glasses / of the Auschwitz Museum."
The current edition is the largest selection of poetry about Auschwitz. Previous years saw the publication, also under the editorship of Adam A. Zych, of the Polish-language Na mojej ziemi był Oświęcim... in two volumes (1987 and 1993), the English-language Auschwitz Poems (1999) and the German-language Auschwitz Gedichte in 1993 and the two-volume Auschwitz Gedichte in 2001.
This publication is available in English.