Polish-Israeli writer Halina Birenbaum has received the title of “Merited for Warsaw”.
Born in the Polish capital in 1929, she spent her childhood in the city’s Jewish Ghetto and was later a prisoner of Nazi German concentration camps of Majdanek (from May to July 1943), Auschwitz, Ravensbrück and Neustadt-Glewe.
She lost most of her family during the war. Having settled in Israel in 1947, Birenbaum made a career as a writer and translator. Her books and volumes of poetry are inspired by her war-time experience. The most popular of her books, “Nadzieja umiera ostatnia” (“Hope is the last to die”), has been translated into English, German, French, Japanese, and Hebrew.
Halina Birenbaum has been honoured for her indefatigable efforts to promote Polish-Jewish reconciliation.
At a ceremony in Warsaw, which was also attended by members of Halina Birenbaum’s family, Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska, chairperson of the Warsaw City Council, said that Birenbaum’s life is an extraordinary biography and her books about life in the Warsaw Ghetto and the times of war are of immense merit.
“As long as such people are with us and can talk to us, it is very important to listen to them. Warsaw has to listen to its citizens, those who lived here, who keep coming here and who love this city,” she said.
In 2001, Halina Birenbaum was named A Person of Reconciliation by the Polish Council of Christians and Jews. (mk/rg/rk)