Briefly noted: ‘A Delayed Life: The true story of the Librarian of Auschwitz’ by Dita Kraus

After reading Antonio Iturbe’s The Librarian of Auschwitz, the well-researched and agonizing novel based on the true story of Dita Kraus, I was happy to discover that Dita Kraus is still with us, apparently as sharp and feisty as ever at 92.

She has her own website here where she sells her delicate paintings of flowers, a few of the books mentioned in Iturbe’s novel, and provides a link to her own memoir A Delayed Life: The true story of the Librarian of Auschwitz which was published in 2020.

Look at the book with Amazon’s look inside feature, and you’ll find some amazing writing, pragmatic, incisive, and bluntly honest, as this excerpt shows:

From the Publisher

The powerful, heart-breaking memoir of Dita Kraus, THE LIBRARIAN OF AUSCHWITZ

Dita Kraus was born in Prague in 1929 – in her powerful new memoir she writes about her childhood before the war and then during the Nazi-occupation that saw her and her family sent to the Jewish ghetto at Terezín and from there to Auschwitz and then Bergen-Belsen.

Dita writes powerfully and unflinchingly about the harsh conditions of the camps and her role as librarian of the precious books the prisoners had managed to smuggle past the guards. She also writes about the liberation of the camps and her chance meeting with fellow survivor Otto B Kraus after the war.

Part of Dita’s story was told in fictional form in the Sunday Times bestseller THE LIBRARIAN OF AUSCHWITZ by Antonio Iturbe.

I am so impressed with this fine lady, that I ordered the book immediately. Perhaps it will fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge about her. If I had her persistence and bravery and dedication, I could move mountains–that’s pretty much what she did in the family unit school at Auschwitz-Birkenau when she was fourteen years old in this unholy place:

Malcolm

Sunday afternoon potpourri

  • According to Radio Free Europe, “Russian officials have accused Ukraine of mounting a helicopter attack early on April 1 on the fuel depot located near Belgorod, not far from Russia’s border with Ukraine.” My first thought was, “Stop Whining. You’ve destroyed Ukraine and now you feel put upon when they strike back?” While conceding the depot was a viable target, Ukraine says they didn’t do it. Oh really. Well then, kudos to whoever did do it.
  • Spring means watching the yard get shaggy and then trying to figure out what it’s going to take to get the riding mowers running after a winter of just sitting there. One finally cranked up after we put the trickle charger on the battery for a while. Apparently, the other one will need a new battery inasmuch as the charger message said BATTERY SHOT TO HELL.
  • I’m looking forward to reading The Librarian of Auschwitz, next up on my nightstand. Written by Antonio Iturbe, the novel is based on the true story of Dita Kraus. Here’s the publisher’s description: “As a young girl, Dita is imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken from her home in Prague in 1939, Dita does her best to adjust to the constant terror of her new reality. But even amidst horror, human strength and ingenuity persevere. When Jewish leader Fredy Hirsch entrusts Dita with eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak into the camp, She embraces the responsibility―and so becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.”
  • Meanwhile, author Luis Alberto Urrea announced on his Facebook page a soon-to-be-released book of poetry. I like his work a lot, so I’ll be looking forward to Piedra as soon as it becomes available on Amazon and other online sellers. While I’m waiting, perhaps I should re-read my favorite from him The Hummingbird’s Daughter, a historical novel.
  • Speaking of new books, my publisher Thomas-Jacob will soon release a collection of poetry, excerpts, and short stories that includes my story “The Smokey Hollow Blues.” I’m excited about this volume and am looking forward to reading everyone else’s contributions.

Malcolm