Selma Meerbaum Eisinger

Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger (August 15, 1924 – December 16, 1942) was a Romanian-born German-language poet. A Jew, she was a victim of the Holocaust and died at the age of 18 in a labor camp in Ukraine.
Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger was the daughter of a shopkeeper Max Meerbaum in Cernăuţi (Czernowitz), a town in the Northern Bukovina region of Romania (subsequently Chernivtsi, Ukraine). Eisinger was the surname of her stepfather. At an early age she began to study literature. Her work shows a heavy influence by those she studied: Heinrich Heine, Rainer Maria Rilke, Klabund, Paul Verlaine and Rabindranath Tagore. In 1939 she began to write poetry, and was already a skilled translator, being able to translate between French, Romanian, Yiddish and her native German. After German troops invaded in 1940, and the region where she lived was ceded to the Soviet Union in July 1941, the family was forced to relocate to the city's ghetto. In 1942 the family was deported to the Mikhailovska labor camp in rural Ukraine, where Selma soon died of typhus.
Meerbaum-Eisinger's work comprises 57 poems, which were written in pencil and hand-bound into a volume named Blütenlese (English: Blossom Vintage/The Reaping of Blossoms). 52 poems were of her own and the rest were translations from French, Yiddish and Romanian. The volume was dedicated to her love and best friend, Lejser Fichman, a year her senior. It was planned that Fichman would give the book of poems to another friend of Meerbaum-Eisinger's, who would have the book published upon its arrival in Israel. However, Fichman died en route and was unable to transmit the book. Her poems were rediscovered and published by Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel, in 1979, edited by Adolf Rauchwerger. In 1980 they were then published in Germany, through the efforts of journalist and researcher Jürgen Serke. The lost volume was published in its entirety under the title Ich bin in Sehnsucht eingehüllt (English: I am engulfed in longing). An audiobook of the poems was produced in November 2005.

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