- Title: POLAND: Stories from Nazi death camp portrayed in comic book series
- Date: 29th May 2009
- Summary: SMOLEN LOOKING AT BOOK SMOLEN TALKING WITH BOOK'S AUTHORS AND PUBLISHER
- Embargoed: 13th June 2009 13:00
- Location: Poland
- Country: Poland
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA80NH63LCJNY32O654T9G5JI4F
- Story Text: ''Love in the Shadow of Death" is the first of a series of comic books portraying real life stories of inmates in a death camp set up by the German army in occupied Poland during the Second World War.
The story of a romance between a Polish inmate Eward Galinski and Jewish Mala Zimetbaum is designed to reach younger readers.
In cartoon format it tells the story of how they met, fell in love and died attempting to escape the camp.
Former inmate Kazimierz Smolen remembers them and how their story moved other inmates at the time.
''The last of us who survived always remember those who perished not in the context of the horror we were going through, but we remember them as colleagues who lived and we wonder if they will leave this place or not - just like us. To this day we talk this way, we try not to speak about the horror that affected us, because you cannot live in mourning for your whole life, it's impossible," Smolen said.
The story has been passed on among families of survivors after the war and plans to put it into comic book form raised some concerns for Smolen. He was satisfied after reading the book and says that it shows life in the camp as it really was.
''We paid attention to portray the facts correctly and we especially made sure that the drawings by illustrators presented the original look of the camp from the time of World War II, the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp," said historian Adam Cyra, who has been researching the camp's history for the last 25 years and now advises on the project.
The authors paid special attention to detail, down to inscriptions on the buttons of the uniforms worn by the guards.
"We stuck to historical truth because our idea is to spread knowledge about Auschwitz, the Holocaust, and we are addressing this to young people who belong to the generation of the picture rather than the word. Reading is not doing very well in recent years, that's why we are trying different forms to reach the young reader," said publisher Beata Klos.
Further episodes of the comic book will tell the stories of an inmate who entered the camp in order to organise a resistance movement from within, and of a Franciscan monk, Maximilian Kolbe, who volunteered to suffer death by starvation in the place of a fellow inmate.
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