Poems and Letters by Ilse Weber, translated by Michael Swartz, with an afterword by Vlaike Migdal, and an essay by Ruth Brady. Letters and poems composed 1933 to 1944
First published in 2008, translated in English 2016
Bunim and Bannigan, Ltd, Publisher
Ilse Weber's letters and poems were found in an attic in London in 2000. She wrote some sixty poems while an inmate at the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia, where she, her husband and their young son were sent in 1942. In 1944 she, her husband and their son were transferred to Auschwitz. After she died her husband hid the poems, it was a punishable offense to write anything about your experiences, in a garden shed, he was a camp gardener. After the war he retrieved the poems and took them to London. They remained in an attic until 2000 and were first published in 2008.
Weber belongs in the grand tradition of Holocaust poets including Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs and Dan Pagis.
Dancing on the Powder Keg also included a very moving collection of letters Ilse Weber wrote starting in 1933 revealing the growing cancerous corruption in Nazi dominated Czechoslovakia. She continued to write letters once confined to the camp but censors required they be very upbeat.
Dancing on the Powder Keg has been endorsed by Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Memorial Center as a valuable contribution to Holocaust Literature.
Dancing on the Powder Keg is a very important book, deeply moving. Ilse Weber was a successful writer of children's books and radio scripts.
The production values on this book are very high. I commend the publisher Bunim and Bannigan, Ltd for making this translation, including very illuminating essays by experts, available in English.