A doctor's memoir of her struggle to save the children of the Warsaw Ghetto.
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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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