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Medallions by Zofia Nałkowska


by Zofia Nałkowska

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Jewish Lives

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  Budzul | Jun 1, 2008 |
It's a shocking, factual account of the atrocities committed in Poland in different concentration camps, on the way to them, in Jewish ghettos, and other places of extermination. Nalkowska relates them with no comment, or apparent emotion. Only the motto to the collection hints at the author’s shock and disbelief: “Ludzie ludziom zgotowali ten los.” (People did it to people.)
The accounts come from the hearings of witnesses, detained workers at the camps, a German anatomy professor’s assistant (the professor himself- Dr Spanner- fled in 1944), a cook, an undertaker (or more accurately a woman who took care of graves), people from transports, and direct descriptions of what was left behind in situ. Nalkowska, a playwright and author, was a member of the commission called to examine the crimes against humanity committed during WW II in Poland.
Among the more shocking ones is the description of the production of soap from the cadavers’ fat, but contrary to popular belief, most prisoners in this particular institution in Gdansk-Wrzeszcz, were ethnic Poles.

I had to read it years ago as a part of the high school curriculum in Poland, and having just re-read it, I am equally shocked, and more confident than ever that everybody should read it just to remember what people are capable of.

By the way, there is no subtitle (Jewish Lives) in the Polish version, and in fact, the book is about the extermination of Poles, Jews, and other nations.

Link: Medaliony by Nalkowska (in Polish)

Link to World War II Atrocities in Poland (Wikipedia)

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  Niecierpek | Nov 26, 2006 |
Link to the text in Polish:

“Posągi i medaliony potłuczone leżały wzdłuż alei. Groby z otwartymi wnętrzami ukazały w pękniętych trumnach swoich umarłych” (Kobieta cmentarna) ( )
  Niecierpek | Nov 26, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zofia Nałkowskaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kuprel, DianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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