The librarian of Auschwitz

In November 1942, Dita Kraus was sent to the Theresienstadt ghetto. From there she was transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she became the librarian of the smallest library in the world.

December 21, 2017 16:05
DITA KRAUS, 88, at her Netanya home.

DITA KRAUS, 88, at her Netanya home.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Among the famous library collections written about in Alberto Manguel’s book The Library at Night is the one that existed at Block 31 – the Children’s Block – in Auschwitz-Birkenau. This minuscule library, consisting of about 12 books, was run from 1943 to 1944 by a 14-year-old Czechoslovakian girl named Dita Polachova. It was a job that preserved her sanity amid the inferno of Auschwitz.

Today, Dita, 88, lives alone in Netanya. Conscious of the dwindling number of survivors, I brought my sister, children and two nephews to hear her story.


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