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While There's Life…: Poems from the Mittelsteine Labor Camp 1944-1945

Ruth Minsky Sender


Surviving one more day in the camps was spiritual resistance. The poems in this collection were written by Riva Minska (Ruth Minsky Sender) during her incarceration as prisoner #55082 in the Nazi slave labor camp in Mittelsteine, Germany. She wrote them in little notebooks while hiding in her bunk. Every Sunday, she would read these moving verses aloud to the 50 other women in the room. They were her critical and faithful audience. She endeavored to depict scenes from their lives-their anguish, their pain and their longings-to give everyone a little courage and the will to continue. As her mother, Nacha Minska, used to say: “While there’s life, there’s hope.” This was how they spent their Sundays, and anyone who had a bit of talent did their best to bring a little happiness into their tragic lives.

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