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Zuzanna Ginczanka

Zuzanna Ginczanka

*** (Non omnis moriar…)

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Translated by Roksana Wolska
Non omnis moriar – my proud Jewish possessions,
Meadows of tablecloths, wardrobes like fortresses
In my kingdom there will be no succession.
Vast sheets, precious linen and my dresses,
My pastel dresses will be left here after I close the door.
I have left here no heirs, only eager traitors,
So may you ransack my rooms and shatter them all.
Ms Chominowa from Lviv, resourceful wife of a collaborator
And Volksdeutscher’s mother. Sometimes the best business is war.
May my things serve you well, since I cannot stay.
My dear ones, could I have expected more
the night when the Schutzpolizei came and you gave me away?
Let my friends sit down, each one with a glass of wine,
And drown in them my burial – and their own delight.
Tapestries, platters, candlesticks – all which used to be mine
Will now be theirs, so may they drink all night.
And at the break of dawn may they search for gems and gold
In sofas, mattresses, quilts, in all my precious things.
Oh, how skillfully they will search for all that can be sold
In bundles of tow, horse hair and strings.
Pillows will fill the air with clouds of whirling feathers,
which will stick to their hands and turn them into wings.
After all if not by them, it will be done by strangers.
And my blood will glue the wings and tow together
So they will cease to be human and become angels.
Translated by Roksana Wolska
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Zuzanna Ginczanka

Zuzanna Ginczanka (1917–1944) – a poet and satirist. She was born as Sara Polina Gincburg to a family of assimilated Jews in Kyiv on the 9th of March 1917. She spent her childhood in Rivne. She debuted already in secondary school by publishing her poem Uczta wakacyjna [A Holiday Feast] in the school magazine Echa szkolne. In 1935, after passing her graduation examination, she moved to Warsaw. He studied pedagogy at the University of Warsaw. She published her poems in Wiadomości Literackie and Szpilki and participated in the Skamander poetry movement. In 1936, the only poetry volume issued in her lifetime – O centaurach [Of Centaurs] - was published. After the outbreak of the war, she moved to Lviv, but she had to escape from there after being denounced by the neighbour whom she commemorated in her poem Non omnis moriar. From 1942 she hid in Krakow and neighbouring areas. In the autumn or winter of 1944, she was arrested by the Gestapo, probably as a result of another denunciation. She was executed in the courtyard of the prison at ul. Czarneckiego in Krakow or in the camp in Płaszów. In 2014, a collection of her poems entitled Wniebowstąpienie ziemi [The Ascension of Earth] was published.

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