I was an eyewitness to the Holocaust. 'What is the meaning of life?' I ask myself after all my experiences.
The meaning of life is to live life fully... to love, to share, to be.
A poet, lecturer, composer and author of several books, Magda Herzberger is one of the few remaining survivors of the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis upon the Jewish people during World War II. Against all odds, she survived three death camps: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bremen, and Bergen-Belsen.
Magda was born in 1926 in the city of Cluj, Romania. An only child, she was raised by her loving parents in the heart of Romania. There she lived a happy childhood surrounded by many young cousins, and enjoying family get-togethers with handmade ice cream and freshly roasted corn-on-the-cob.
But Magda's world was shattered when Adolph Hitler's troops occupied her native city in 1944. Being of Jewish faith, she and her family were deported on cattle cars to the German concentration camps.
Magda has spent the last 33 years writing and speaking about how the Nazis almost murdered her entire family and finally left her to die in a pile of dead bodies at Bergen-Belsen. It was her physical stamina combined with her tenacious spirit and faith in God that helped her to survive the most unimaginable horrors. Magda's mother also survived, passing away in 1994 at the age of 93.
Magda is a remarkable poet, drawing on her thoughts about life, faith, hope, love, her feelings as a Holocaust survivor, and a variety of other subjects. Her book Inspirational Poetry is one of her unpublished manuscripts consisting of a selection of the best writings of her 43-year writing career. Behind each of her poems there is a story to be told and experienced.
She is also the author of four previously published books: The Waltz of the Shadows (an autobiography in poetry form), Eyewitness to Holocaust (an autobiographical essay consisting of prose and poetry), Will You Still Love Me? (a collection of love poems dedicated to her husband), and Songs of Life (a book of poetry on a variety of subjects.).
Magda's most recent publication is her astounding autobiography Survival, which was published in 2005 by 1st World Library, Inc. of Austin Texas. Two additional manuscripts: How to Survive during Hard Times and Depression and Survival in the Holocaust, are currently completed.
More than 300 of Magda's poems have been published in anthologies, poetry journals, newspapers, and websites. She also has an unpublished manuscript containing short stories, poetic narratives, as well as a manuscript of fairy tales for children entitled Tales of the Magic Forest. Thirty-seven pages of her memoirs are featured in Sisters in Sorrow: Voices of Care in the Holocaust, a compilation of memoirs of women survivors of the Holocaust, edited by Roger A. Ritvo and Diane M. Plotkin, and published by Texas A&M University Press in 1998.
For the past 33 years, Magda has been lecturing about the Holocaust and reading her poetry in schools, universities, church organizations, nursing homes, literary organizations, and various civic groups. She has been interviewed by several newspapers, as well as many TV and radio programs.
Being an eyewitness to the Holocaust, Magda was invited by Shoah Survivors of the Holocaust Visual History Foundation, which is sponsored by Mr. Steven Spielberg, to give her testimony as a survivor. Her interview took place at her home in Fountain Hills, Arizona on November 17, 1995, and was conducted by Mrs. Louise Bobrow, interviewer for the Foundation. Magda received the videotapes of her interview accompanied by a personal message from Spielberg himself. It demonstrated Spielberg's personal interest in each survivor's testimony. Magda also has been a contributor to the Shoah Foundation's quarterly newsletter, Past Forward (1996-1998).
Magda has also written numerous musical compositions. Among them is "Requiem", dedicated to the memory of all the victims of the Holocaust (composed for baritone solo, soprano solo, and choral and piano accompaniment). It has been performed and televised numerous times over the years.
Magda is a former marathon runner, skier, and mountain climber. She resides in Fountain Hills, Arizona, together with her husband, Eugene Herzberger, M.D., a retired neurosurgeon. They are the proud parents of a daughter Monica, a son Henry, and two grandchildren.
Magda's philosophy on life includes the following ideals: Have faith, hope, and love in your heart... Believe in impossible dreams and make them come true... Cherish each moment of life... and NEVER take anything for granted. Her primary goals are to instill love for poetry in the hearts of people through her work, to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive through the presentations of her experiences in the Nazi death camps, and to show the beauty of life through her writings and music.