The concentration camp at Dachau was the first established by the Nazis, opened shortly after Hitler came to power in 1933. It first held political prisoners, but later also forced laborers, Soviet POWs, Jews, and other "undesirables." More than 30,000 deaths were documented there, with many more unrecorded. In the midst of the horror, some inmates turned to poetry to provide comfort, to preserve their sense of humanity, or to document their experiences. Some were or would later become established poets; others were prominent politicians or theologians; still others were ordinary men and women. This anthology contains 68 poems by 32 inmates of Dachau, in 10 different original languages and facing-page English translation, along with short biographies. A prologue by Walter Jens and an introduction by Dorothea Heiser from the original German edition are joined here by a foreword by Stuart Taberner of the University of Leeds. All the poems, having arisen in the experience or memory of extreme human suffering, are testimonies to the persistence of the humanity and creativity of the individual. They are also a warning not to forget the darkest chapter of history and a challenge to the future not to allow it to be repeated. Dorothea Heiser holds an MA from the University of Freiburg. Stuart Taberner is Professor of Contemporary German Literature, Culture, and Society at the University of Leeds.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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