The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is a time when one shall listen carefully to the voices of the witnesses - both victims and survivors. Their words are our heritage.
THEY EXPECTED THE WORST - NOT THE UNTHINKABLE.
Charlotte Delbo (10 August 1913 - 1 March 1985): French writer, former prisoner of Auschwitz and Ravensbrück. During the war she was an active member of the French Resistance, working, amongst other tasks, as an editor of underground newspapers. In March 1942 she was arrested by the Germans. After an investigation which lasted a few months, in January 1943 she was deported to Auschwitz together with 229 other women engaged in resistance activities. Delbo received camp number 31,661. Author of many books, for example, "Aucun de nous ne reviendra" ("None of Us Will Return"). Quote from the book "Auschwitz and After".
NIGHT, NIGHT WITHOUT END. NO DAWN COMES.
Tadeusz Borowski (12 November 1922 - 3 July 1951): Polish writer and poet, former prisoner of Auschwitz, Natzweiler-Dautmergen and Dachau-Allach. In February 1943 he was arrested by the Gestapo, while he was searching for his fiancée Maria, whom the Germans had previously . Both were detained in Pawiak Prison and then deported to Auschwitz. Borowski received camp number 119,198. After the war he described his camp experiences in poems and short stories. Quote from his poem "Night over Birkenau".
WE, THE DEAD, ACCUSE!
Quote from the poem of an anonymous Jewish Czech woman. As she walked to the gas chamber on 8th March 1944 she managed to hand in her notes to one of the Sonderkommando prisoners. A poem written by her was sent from the camp to the city of Prague. In 1945 it was published as a part of a collection of selected poems, edited by Erich Kulka and Ota Kraus.
WE HAVE A DARK PREMONITION BECAUSE WE KNOW.
Załmen Gradowski (ca. 1910 - 7 October 1944): Polish Jew and former prisoner of Auschwitz. Before the war he lived in Łunno near Grodno. In November 1942, he was deported to the camp in Kiełbasin; in December he was deported to Auschwitz along with his whole family. During the selection on the ramp he lost, amongst others, his wife, mother and two sisters. He was forcefully conscripted to the Sonderkomanndo in Birkenau, and was one of the prisoners behind the Birkenau revolt of October 1944. It is possible that he was killed the same day during combat, or shot by the SS during the repressions after the revolt. He was the author of two scripts written in Yiddish, which he hid and which were later discovered after the war on the premises of Birkenau. Quote from his manuscripts.
IT HAPPENED, THEREFORE IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN... IT CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE.
Primo Levi (31 July 1919 - 11 April 1987): Italian Jew, chemist and writer, former prisoner of Auschwitz. As a member of the resistance he was arrested in December 1943, and deported to Auschwitz in February 1944. Levi was branded with number 174517. He spent 11 months in Auschwitz III-Monowitz, until the liberation of the camp on 27th January 1945. Author of, among others, his autobiography, "Se questo è un uomo" ("If This Is a Man"). Quote from his book „The Drowned and the Saved”.