Kramer presents the horror of the genocide and the spirit of those who resisted in this collection of poems. Placing each group in historic and literary context with introductory essays, the poets—originally writing in Yiddish—speak from the ghettos, way-stations, and the death camps.
"Kramer, a poet and scholar specializing in the translation of Yiddish literature, has been collecting and translating poetry written by victims and survivors of the Holocaust for 50 years, determined to preserve this indelible evidence of their courage and grief. The poignant works collected here include poems by Europeans and Russians who attained recognition as published writers, as well as poems and songs by people who never intended to become poets but who were driven to express the unbearable emotions aroused by the horrors of the Nazi era. Kramer has translated and preserved poems written under nightmarish circumstances in Jewish ghettos, way stations, death camps, and forests, poems full, not of fear and loathing, but of shock, of course, and sorrow and also deep spirituality, love, and forgiveness. Most are not works of art but the prayers of martyrs and the elegies of mourners, and as such, they glow with all that is good and strong in the human heart."—Booklist