Zofia Posmysz, who persevered 3 years of imprisonment in focus camps for associating with the Polish resistance to Nazi career in World War II, then won approval for her works at the Holocaust as a journalist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter, died on Aug. 8 in Oswiecim, Poland. She used to be 98.
Her loss of life, within the town the place the remnants of the Auschwitz focus camp were preserved as a reminder of people’ capability for unfathomable evil, used to be introduced by way of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.
Ms. Posmysz (pronounced POCE-mish) used to be born on Aug. 23, 1923, in Krakow, Poland, right into a Roman Catholic circle of relatives. She used to be arrested by way of the Gestapo in May 1942 for associating with fellow scholars at an underground college who had been passing out anti-Nazi leaflets. She used to be taken to Auschwitz, the place some 1.1 million other folks, a overwhelming majority of them Jews, would perish.
She survived brutality at Auschwitz however used to be later assigned to paintings on the camp’s kitchen and stockroom. In mid-January 1945, she used to be transferred to the Ravensbrück focus camp and its offshoot Neustadt Glewe, from which she used to be liberated on May 2.
With 20 different girls, she walked again to Krakow and lived for a few years in Warsaw, the place she had an older sister.
Her writing profession started when she used to be employed as a newspaper reporter and editor. She didn’t search a byline for her first article, an account of the struggle crimes trials in Nuremberg, Germany. Instead, she signed off along with her identity quantity at Auschwitz: 7566.
Ms. Posmysz started writing for Polish radio within the early Nineteen Fifties. While on task in Paris in 1959, she walked within the Place de l. a. Concorde amongst vacationers, a lot of them talking German.
“Suddenly, someone appeared behind me,” she recalled lengthy in a while on “Stories From the Eastern West,” a Polish podcast. “It was the voice of my overseer. All this time she’s been living a peaceful life in Paris.” She temporarily learned that the girl used to be now not, if truth be told, her former guard at Auschwitz, however that second “just wouldn’t leave me alone,” she recalled.
It spawned her best-known paintings, “The Passenger in Cabin 45,” later titled “The Passenger.” It used to be launched as a radio play in 1959, a unique printed in 1962 that used to be translated into 15 languages, a movement image, by which she collaborated at the script with the director, Andrzej Munk, and an opera.
The opera used to be composed by way of the Polish-born Mieczyslaw Weinberg, who used to be Jewish and had misplaced his oldsters and a sister within the Holocaust, whilst the libretto used to be written by way of Alexander Medvedev, a Russian. It used to be conceived within the Soviet Union and finished in 1968; the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich praised the opera, but it surely used to be banned by way of the Soviets.
The opera reverses the instant in Paris when Ms. Posmysz concept she had come across her former Auschwitz guard. It tells of Liese, a middle-aged German lady who’s aboard an ocean liner certain for Brazil within the early Sixties, accompanying her husband, who is ready to soak up a diplomatic put up there. Liese is surprised to look a fellow passenger who’s staying in Cabin 45. She thinks it may well be Marta, who used to be an inmate at Auschwitz when Liese used to be her guard.
It premiered at an Austrian track competition in 2010 and used to be carried out by way of the Houston Grand Opera on the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan in 2014 as a part of the Lincoln Center Festival. Ms. Posmysz sat within the target audience and gained a chronic ovation when she used to be offered.
“Weinberg’s music daringly shifts from depicting the life of the well-heeled Germans aboard the ship to the horrors of the death camp,” Anthony Tommasini wrote in his assessment for The New York Times. “The hero of the evening and, truly, of the opera, was Ms. Posmysz, whose novel was drawn from her own experiences at Auschwitz.”
An inventory of Ms. Posmysz’s survivors used to be now not instantly to be had. She used to be married. Her father used to be shot and killed by way of Germans throughout the struggle, which her mom survived. She additionally had an older sister.
Ms. Posmysz used to be amongst former Auschwitz prisoners who welcomed the German-born Pope Benedict XVI throughout his talk over with there in 2006.
In January 2020, the survivors attended a rite on the former loss of life camp for the seventy fifth anniversary of its liberation. The tournament got here amid rising fear over a resurgence of antisemitism within the United States and Europe, in addition to emerging acrimony between Russia and Poland over who bore a big percentage of duty for Germany’s invasion of Poland, touching off World War II.
Ms. Posmysz used to be not able to wait the rite, however she used to be acutely aware of assaults on Polish leaders by way of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin.
“I fear that over time, it will become easier to distort history,” she advised The Times then. “I can never say it will never happen again, because when you look at some leaders of today, those dangerous ambitions, pride and sense of being better than others are still in play. Who knows where they can lead?”