cover image I Remember Nothing More

I Remember Nothing More

Adina Blady-Szwajgier, Adina Blady Szwajger. Pantheon Books, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-679-40034-9

In the literature of the Holocaust, this journal is among the most memorable, haunting and elegantly crafted, as, from her hospital bed in today's Warsaw, Szwajger, a pediatrician, a Polish Jew born in 1917, dredges into her memory of the events that followed the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact in 1939. Her portraits of children suffering the brutality of war are particularly wrenching. Szwajger recalls a children's hospital at which she worked as a medical student with a prized ``ticket'' to travel between the Warsaw ghetto and the ``Aryan side.'' We're shown the youngsters, starving, four to a bed; we feel Szwajger's anguish when the hospital is disbanded and she spares her patients their even crueler fate by administering overdoses of morphine to them. She sears us again at a monastery's children's center, describing its violent closure by the Nazis who hung the slaughtered priests on display. With false identity papers, Szwajger, a ``courier girl'' for the Jewish Fighting Organization, journeys throughout Poland carrying money to Jews and finding safe houses for them. Her husband is sent to a camp; she escapes a massacre at a Home Army hideout. Then, telling us about another act of euthanasia she committed, she decries: ``I don't want to write any more. Not a sentence more. About anything.'' But it is enough, for Szwajger's testimony makes its impress as a classic. Photos. (March)