Obituary: Polish Writer & Holocaust Survivor Zofia Posmysz Passes Away, Aged 98

By Logan Martell

Polish writer and Holocaust survivor Zofia Posmysz has passed away as of August 8, 2022, according to Opera Narodowa.

Born on August 23, 1923, Posmysz lived in Krakow until the invasion of Poland in 1939. Over the course of the Nazi occupation, she was arrested for distributing anti-Nazi leaflet, and was transferred from the Montelupich Prison to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. She would be later be sent from there to Ravensbruck camp, and then to the Neustadt-Glewe camp where she would be liberated by the US Army in 1945.

After studying at the University of Warsaw, Posmysz wrote the radio drama “Passenger from Cabin 45” based on her experiences during the war. The work was quickly produced and then adapted for the television and film screens in the subsequent years.

In 1962, she published her autobiography, which was adapted into the 1968 opera “The Passenger” by Alexander Medvedev and Mieczyslaw Weinberg. The opera went unperformed until it finally made its premiere at the Bregenz Festival in 2010.

Posmysz continued writing until the age of 73. Among her accolades, she was made a Knight of the Order of Polonia Restituta in 1964, and an officer of the order in 1970; the Prize of the Polish Radio and Television Committee for Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Radio Drama in 1976; the 2008 Prize of Poland’s Minister of Culture for Outstanding Achievements in the Cultural Heritage Field, among others.