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Helene & Irene Silverblatt–Harvest of Blossoms: Its Discovery and Remembrance

October 19, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Harvest of Blossoms

A presentation by
Helene and Irene Silverblatt

Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger was only eighteen when she died in a labor camp in Ukraine. In the course of a life cut short, Selma wrote over fifty poems in German. She recorded them in an album meant for her love, Leiser Fichman, who had already been deported to a Romanian labor camp. Selma was from Czernowitz, the city her cousin, Paul Celan, described as a place where people and books used to live. Selma and Paul grew up together, and he played an instrumental role in the eventual publication of her poetry. While Selma’s poetry has been translated into French, Spanish, Dutch, Ukrainian and Japanese, Harvest of Blossoms is the first English edition of her complete work. A reading of Selma’s poetry takes the audience to Czernowitz between the Wars, as well as to today’s Chernivtsi.

Drs. Irene and Helene Silverblatt will talk about the history and miraculous survival of Selma’s album of poetry that traveled from a labor camp in Romania, to DP camps in Europe, and finally to Israel where it is housed in Yad Vashem. Their presentation includes slides of Czernowitz/Chernivtsi, as well as recordings of musical compositions written using Selma’s poems from European and American composers.


Irene Silverblatt, PhD, professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, studies the cultural expressions of power. These interests are both historical and contemporary, and have taken Silverblatt to the Inca Empire, the colonial Andes and, most recently, to contemporary Europe. She has received Guggenheim, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (Harvard University), Rockefeller Foundation and Social Science Research Foundation fellowships.

Helene Silverblatt, MD, is a professor of Psychiatry and Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Her programmatic and academic focus is on healthcare work force development and distribution as a way to transform primary care practice and health care delivery.


October 19, 2017
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Berkeley Center for Jewish Studies


The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life
2121 Allston Way
Berkeley , CA
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