31 March 2020

Mykhailivka: Camp to Village

Yahad-In Unum: "Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger, a Romanian-Jewish poet, was born in 1924 in Czernowitz in Romania, present-day Chernivtsi, Ukraine to a Jewish family. In [1941], upon the German occupation of the region, her family was forced to move to the city’s ghetto. The following year, they were deported to the labor camp of Michailowka in Ukraine, a site where Yahad has conducted research and where Selma ultimately perished after contracting typhus. Decades after her death, her collection of poems describing beauty found amidst a landscape of death were discovered and published. Her poems speak to the notion of creative resistance in the Holocaust—the idea that the spirit can rebel through art. In her last letter to a friend from the Michailowka camp, Selma still wrote of how art could be used to comprehend her experience: 'I have been here less than three months and I imagine that I will surely go out of my mind. Especially in these unspeakably bright and white nights that overflow with longing. Sing sometimes, late at night, when you are alone: Poljushka. Perhaps you will understand my frame of mind…Of course, one bears it anyway. One endures, although one things again and again: Now, now it is too much.' (Harvest of Blossoms: Poems from a Life Cut Short)"

Courtesy: Yahad-In Unum