"Nothing of the former world holds true anymore," Zofia nalkowska wrote in her Wartime Diaries on 7 May 1943. "Nothing has remained." The burning of the Warsaw ghetto had broken Nalkowska's privileged life in two; in the years to come, the need to bear witness to the horrors she had seen firsthand would lead this gifted member of the Polish avant-garde to write the stories in Medallions.
Considered a masterpiece of antifascist world literature, Medallions stands as a culmination of Nalkowska's literary style - a style that the Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz once described as "the iron capital of her art and one of the very few exportables in our national literature." Nalkowska's narratives, written in documentary form with simple, concise, severely elegant prose, give voice to the experience of victims and witnesses of the Nazi genocide.
Medallions includes 7 short stories and one summation, "The Adults and Children of Auschwitz". These terse, sometimes fragmented pieces take the form of testimonials, private interviews, and chance conversations in which the protagonists, speaking for themselves, with their sometimes limited understanding of the human drama, also speak on behalf of millions. More than mere historical record, Medallions offers the reader startling immediacy - the repetition of a past event as it persists in the testimonial present, in the scars on the consciousness and conscience of individuals.