Clatter of wheels like heart beating… About the Holocaust in poem Still by Wisława Szymborska

Janusz Waligóra, Poland, ID LLCE2016-347;         The topic of the article is an interpretation of Still, one of few poems by Wisława Szymborska related direct to the Holocaust. Janusz Waligóra draws attention especially to sorrow and sympathy expressed by the text that commemorates Jewish victims of war. The author explains how the characteristic topic closely connected with the Holocaust  was used in Szymborska’s poem. He also focuses on other poetic figures which transform the description of an individual event into the synthesis of destruction.

Szymborska in her poem raises not only a question relating to the extermination of the Jews but she also talks about anti-Semitism. Some typical Old Testament names (and one Slavonic name) appear in her text to show a tragedy of Jews and uncover attitudes of Poles towards the Holocaust. This sensitive subject was banned in Poland during the time of Stalinism. The poem Still which comes from the book Wołanie do Yeti (Calling out to Yeti) published in 1957 is a kind of Szymborska’s standpoint in ongoing discussion (Polish people as enemies, bystanders or helpers to the Jewish) in the 50’s after Polish October (a political thaw in 1956).

Keywords: Holocaust, war, anti-Semitism, literature, Wisława Szymborska