Budapest (MTI) – Polish Jewish author Zalmen Gradowski’s Auschwitz fragments regarded as the most authentic documents of the Holocaust has been first published in Hungarian to mark this year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Gradowski was a prisoner of Auschwitz-Birkenau in German-occupied Poland from 1942 and worked for 16 months in the Sonderkommando slave labour unit in the gas chambers and the crematoria until his death in October 1944.
He wrote a secret diary to describe his life in the death camp and buried it in a time capsule. The document was found among the ashes of the perished in March 1945, after the liberation of the camp.
“Gradowski knew exactly that he would die. It became the purpose of his life to record what he had seen and hide it. He is supposed to have written more but only two fragments survived,” János Kőbányai, director of the publisher Múlt és Jövő, told MTI.
“What happened in Auschwitz was the worst that has ever happened to mankind, and Gradowski’s report covered what he saw in the midst of the Apocalypse,” he said.
The fragments were first published in Hebrew in 2012. The Hungarian translation made by Zsombor Hunyadi, a young PhD student of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, is based on the original Yiddish text.