Theme: Agony

Irene Nemirovsky: Words About an Old Wound

This time Satis Shroff's Zeitgeistlyrik deals with a female writer who was deported to Auschwitz where she died: Nemirovsky who has written Suite Francaise, David Golder, Le Bal (including Snow in Autumn),The Courilof Affair, All Our Worldly Goods is a brilliant story teller with an in-depth understanding of the hidden flaws and cruelties of the human heart. She writes about what people do to us and what time does to people..
Irene Nemirovsky: Cold Blood 
Subtitle: Moaning in All Eternity
Six decades ago,
My life came to an end,
In Auschwitz.
I, Irene Nemirovsky, a writer
Of Jewish-Russian descent,
Died in Auschwitz.
 I live now in my books,
In my daughter’s memories,
Who’s already an octogenarian,
Still full of love and fighting spirit:
For she fights against
The injustice of those gruesome days.
I was thirty-nine,
Had asthma,
Died shortly after I landed in Auschwitz.
I died of inflammation of my lungs,
In the month of October.
That very year the Nazis deported
Michael Epstein, dear my husband,
Who’d pleaded to have me,
His wife, freed from the clutches
Of the Gestapo.
They also killed him.
My daughters Denise 13,
And Elizabeth 5,
Were saved by friends
Of the French Resistance,
Tucked away in a cloister for nuns,
Hidden in damp cellars.
They had  my suitcase with them,
Whereever they hid,
Guarding it like the Crown Jewels.
To them it was not only a book,
But my last words,
That I’d penned in Issy-l’Eveque.
I wanted to put together five manuscripts
In one: Suite Francaise,
That was my writer’s dream.
I could put only
‘Storm in July’ and ‚Dolche’
I passed away early in August 1942.
Too early.
In my two books I’ve written
About the flight of the Parisians
From the victorious Germans,
The awful situation in an occupied hamlet.
Small people and collaborators,
Who’d go to extremes
To save their skins,
Like ants in a destroyed ant-hill.
It’s sixty years hence,
But my work hasn’t lost ist glow,
Like the lava from an erupting volcano.
You can feel its intensity,
 When an entire nation
Was humiliated and had to capitulate,
Losing its grace, dignity and life.
I was born in Kiew,
Fled to Paris via Finnland and Sweden,
After the Russian Revolution.
I was a maniac,
When it came to reading,
Had a French governess,
Went often to the Cote d’ Azure and Biarritz.
I studied literature in Sorbonne in 1919.
Shortly thereafter,
I began to write:
About my Russian past,
My wandering years.
The colour of the literature I wrote
Is blood from an old wound.
From this wound I’ve drawn
The maladies of the society,
Human folley.
I was influenced by writers,
From Leo Tolstoi to Henrik Ibsen.
An unhappy childhood,
Is like when your soul has died,
Without a funeral:
Moaning in all eternity.   
Image © (c) satisshroff


More By  :  Satis Shroff

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