The author was a young Jewish doctor at the children's hospital in the Warsaw Ghetto from 1940 to 1942. When the hospital was forced to close the children that had survived were taken to the death-camps. Blady-Szwajger became a reluctant courier for the resistance. She left the ghetto and began to carry paper money pinned into her clothing to those in hiding. She and her flat-mate pretended to be good-time girls having fun and threw parties to disguise the coming and going of their male visitors. This heroic memoir pays tribute to all the men and women who paid with their lives for the safety of others.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Polish
In the literature of the Holocaust, this journal is among the most memorable, haunting and elegantly crafted, as, from her hospital bed in today's Warsaw, Szwajger, a pediatrician, a Polish Jew born in 1917, dredges into her memory of the events that followed the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact in 1939. Her portraits of children suffering the brutality of war are particularly wrenching. Szwajger recalls a children's hospital at which she worked as a medical student with a prized "ticket" to travel between the Warsaw ghetto and the "Aryan side." We're shown the youngsters, starving, four to a bed; we feel Szwajger's anguish when the hospital is disbanded and she spares her patients their even crueler fate by administering overdoses of morphine to them. She sears us again at a monastery's children's center, describing its violent closure by the Nazis who hung the slaughtered priests on display. With false identity papers, Szwajger, a "courier girl" for the Jewish Fighting Organization, journeys throughout Poland carrying money to Jews and finding safe houses for them. Her husband is sent to a camp; she escapes a massacre at a Home Army hideout. Then, telling us about another act of euthanasia she committed, she decries: "I don't want to write any more. Not a sentence more. About anything." But it is enough, for Szwajger's testimony makes its impress as a classic. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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