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Poems from Bergen-Belsen, 1944

Uri Orlev
AGE: 13 up

Uri Orlev was 13 years old when he was sent to Bergen-Belsen in 1944, together with his aunt and his younger brother. His mother had been killed and his father was far away in Russia. During his two years in the camp, he wrote 15 poems in Polish in a notebook his aunt had given him. The notebook survived, and now, some 60 years later, Orlev has translated them into Hebrew. The poems show a teenager too mature for his age, who witnessed suffering, hunger and death day after day. "God, where is justice, where is morality, when some are dying while others live," he writes when he describies Jews being crammed into trains transporting them to their death as Poles enjoyed their freedom.
In his introduction to the book, Orlev writes: "I wrote the drafts on a plank that I pulled off my bunk. Only after I was satisfied with the draft did I copy it into my notebook... Sometimes my aunt stood me on a table and I would recite my poems to the others in the hut, usually on Jewish Holy Days or for other children`s birthdays."

Bilingual edition, with Polish

Poems from Bergen-Belsen, 1944
Title Poems from Bergen-Belsen, 1944
Author’s Last Name Orlev
Author's First Name Uri
Language(s) Hebrew, French, Polish
Genre youth
Publisher (Hebrew) Yad Vashem
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2005
No. Pages 77 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Shirim Mi-Bergen-Belsen, 1944
Representation Represented by ITHL


Polish/Hebrew: Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, 2005
French: Paris, Ed. de l'Eclat, 2011
Italian: Florence, Giuntina, 2012

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