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Prose Works by Tadeusz Borowski (and others)

Other unusual Holocaust experiences

I originally discovered Mr. Borowski through a wayward book of poetry in a used bookstore at a college town. Another poet had submitted a set of poems for publication, and the letter of refusal the poet received from the publisher stating that he had been unable to publish other books because of the cost of translating and printing Borowski's poetic works was within the book. Meanwhile, This Way To The Gas is considered a twentieth century classic.

Of course, it isn't much of a leap to see why: While the stories limit themselves to the Holocaust and its effects, the poems take their cuts wherever they find them. Indeed, some of his angriest words are aimed at the West.

Another criticism of Borowski's work is that with his prose the story tells itself, whereas he tends to allow his emotions to run rampant in his poetry. While I can understand people's discomfort, part of poetry is the expression of emotion. Detachment is easier even in a short story, as plot and perspective (most of the time third person omniscient) dictates that bias be subsumed into the storyline. Not only that, but every poetry fan remembers hearing bad poem after bad poem that wore its emotional bias on its sleeve as its excuse to break every remaining rule of quality authorship.

However, I think that everyone who has read Borowski should know his poetic works, as these works are what lead up to This Way To The Gas. They portray his thoughts and experiences and show the development of his muse, as well as help explain some of his decisions later in life (such as embracing the Communist world-view).


There are no books of his poetry being sold (as far as I know). However, I can offer his prose work, as well as a book of him and two other halocaust survivors:

Both the book image and the words underneath function as links you can use to purchase a Paperback copy of these books. If you want Hardcover (To donate to a public library perhaps, or for your personal collection), select the link labeled "Hardcover Version" below the paperback link.

cover   cover

This Way for the Gas,
Ladies and Gentlemen
ISBN:0140186247

Paperback only

We Were in Auschwitz
ISBN:1566491231

With Janusz Nel Siedlecki
and Krystyn Olszewski
Hardcover Only


Tadeusz wasn't the only person who survived the Holocaust. Indeed, his story is one of the more normal ones: Someone with leeway to escape fate finds a place within the system and lives off exploiting others.

However, extreme times may call for extreme adaptations. Consider the following examples:

Again, both the book image and the words underneath function as links you can use to purchase a Paperback copy of these books. If you want Hardcover (I suggest paperback because Hardcover may not be buyable. One link I've changed to "Large Print Edition" because it was still in print, unlike the hardcover version), select the link labeled "Hardcover Version" below the paperback link.

cover   cover   cover

Europa, Europa
ISBN:0471283649

Hardcover Version

Stella
ISBN:0385471793

Hardcover Version

The Reader
ISBN:0375707972

Large Print Edition


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