Email From A Survivor

DIta Kraus was 13 years old when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz . Although too old to attend the forbidden school in Block 31 ( the children’s block ), she was given the job of librarian, protecting, repairing, and hiding the books from the Nazis. Her true story was the basis for the novel, The Librarian of Auschwitz. I recently read the novel and it made such an impact on me, that I wanted to contact Dita Kraus and tell her. Though I could not find any contact information for her online, I did find the email address for her son Ron, a clinical psychologist, living in Israel in the same town as his mother. I had written a poem about Dita and included it with my email. A few hours after sending my email I received a response from Ron Kraus, thanking me and saying he had forwarded it to his mother. That was two days ago. Today my husband and I were on the way home after having lunch with family , when I decided to check my email. I’m so glad I did. As I was going through my email and deleting the ones I didn’t want, I suddenly saw an email that I very much did want : From : Dita Kraus Subject: Poem. Seeing this, my eyes grew big and my heart started to pound. I couldn’t believe it. Dita Kraus, a 90 year-old woman living in Israel who had been through and seen horrors beyond imagination at Auschwitz and later Bergen-Belsen, had actually taken the time to respond to my email.

In her email to me, Dita said that my poem touched her deeply, that she would never have expected a poem to be written about her. Imagine, after going through the horror that she went through, a poem I wrote touched her deeply! She went on to say that she was not such a hero as the author, Antonio Iturbe made her out to be in the novel, and felt that the poem was more about the Dita in the book than the real her , yet she ended her email by saying she is grateful to me, and signed it simply : Yours, Dita .

Though Dita said she was not such a hero as made out to be in the novel , anyone who can go through what she did , and not only survive, but thrive , is a hero in my book. Thank you Dita for taking the time to respond to an email from a stranger . I am grateful to you as well.