About the Book: Pearls and Lace


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“…For this is what I see and feel,
And this is what I live:
The autumnal season”

Magdalena Klein, author

MAGDALENA KLEIN (1920-1946), the youngest child of a middle-class Jewish family in northwestern Romania, was an eyewitness to the rise of fascism in Europe and the horrors of World War II. She saw and felt the vicious attitudes of the ruling Hungarian government at that time as her family was first forcibly removed to the Jewish ghetto in the city of Nagyvarad, then deported to the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Magda survived, but lost many of her family members, a loss she could not bear. She became increasingly reclusive, and in June 1946 she died of an overdose of medication.

The poetic journal Magda kept during those years shows the stark contrast between her youthful love of life and the grim reality of the world around her. On one hand are her intellectual brilliance and her confidence in herself; on the other are the apparent hopelessness of her situation and her doubt about the future.

…Why are we uselessly persecuted?
Why is our fate so desolate?

But fight and contempt give us strength
To bear the filth of hatred.
And shaking off every speck of dust
This indistructible nation shall stand just…”

“…And what happened yesterday I’ve felt, not seen.
Oh, I’m so scared in this cursed world
Where I lost my dearest shining light
In a horrible tempestuous night…”

by Magdalena Klein CLEAR=ALL>

Susan Geroe, editor PEARLS and LACE, a collection of poems selected from Magda’s notebooks and translated from Hungarian by her niece, Susan Simpson Geroe, is a testament to the human spirit that transcends even the most horrific events of history.

From Magdalena Klein, Susan Geroe (editor) Pearls and Lace.
Copyright © 1996 Fithian Press. Excerpts used by permission of editor.