Poem of the Week S01 E27 : Auschwitz, written and read by Katie Donovan.

One of the blackest days in human history. The confirmation of long held allied fears, that the Nazi war machine was operating death camps. Auschwitz was liberated on the 27th of January 1945 by the Soviet army. Although Auschwitz was not the first concentration camp to be liberated, the full scale of the Nazi’s final solution was not revealed until the emaciated survivors of the Reich’s largest death camp staggered out from beneath “Arbeit Macht Frei”. An estimated 1.3 million people were sent to the camp, of whom at least 1.1 million died; from the gas chambers, from starvation,  forced labor, infectious diseases, individual executions, and from medical experiments. My question for Katie Donovan was, how could poetry hope to make sense of such evil and what attracted her to such a monstrous topic in the first place? Listen back to find out.


Poem of the Week invites you to listen to contributors recite some of their favorite poems and talk about what these poems mean to them. Presented by Morgan O’Reilly, this podcast series, originally broadcast on Near FM 2017/18, features some of Ireland’s most exciting new voices such as Jessica Traynor, Kate Dempsey, Kenneth Nolan and Alan Jude Moore alongside local people and community activists from the North Dublin area, this series offers a unique and diverse range of contributors. 

Each week the featured poem will also commemorate a significant date in the calendar year fostering new and challenging perspectives into poems you thought you knew. The poems have been selected with the advice and support of Ireland’s former Professor of Poetry, Paula Meehan.