Al Filreis

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Larry Eigner writes through survivor of the death camp at Chelmno

Larry Eigner’s “Dance.” He’s made a poem that uses language spoken by Simon Srebnik as he revisits Chelmno with Claude Lanzmann (decades after having barely survived that death camp). The Eigner poem is discussed by Michael Davidson in this essay: http://www.poetspath.com/Scholarship_Project/davidson.html .

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Life sentences

Recently the son of a long-time friend of writer Jerre Mangione sent me a typescript he found among his mother’s papers—an unpublished version of Jerre’s “Life Sentences” series. These were single-sentence poem-like things, satires all. Here’s one of them.

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Representations of the Holocaust — fall 2021 course

I have taught “Representations of the Holocaust” now for 36 years. This time we gathered together “in the room,” as we like to put it. Yes, in the room, having been kept from such human spaces for nearly three semesters. How could this course have been taught in any other...

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Life partners

My mom, the indefatigable Lois Filreis, 91 y.o. & plucky as ever, made the trip on her own from Florida to spend Thanksgiving with us here in Philadelphia. Thanksgiving Day marked five years exactly since my dad, Sam Filreis, died—yes, with us all here that day in my house. Thanksgiving...

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Prewar photo of doomed Filreis family members

Members of the Filreis family (all of them doomed to die later in the ghetto or to be gassed at Treblinka) gathered in a Warsaw graveyard, near family members’ plots, during my grandfather Ben’s brief visit back to Poland (in part to persuade family members to emigrate to Brooklyn—he did...

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Room in a mind-saving farmhouse @ $32.50/month

After a just-okay first year at college—Colgate University in Hamilton NY—I felt complexly disaffected from on-campus/near-campus social and intellectual life. I found some friends who felt similarly and a group of us went to see a farmhouse seven miles off campus (near the tiny village of Lebanon). A summer-only house,...