Then its contents went into hiding again, for the next fifty years. Finally, facing heart surgery in 1996, Sala gave her daughter its contents: more than 350 letters, postcards, and birthday cards (right) handmade by prisoners. The items are scheduled to be on display this month in the Graduate Library's new first-floor gallery.
The exhibit has eight triptychs, each with a three-foot-square center panel and smaller side panels, the shape suggesting an unfolded letter. The panels show images of correspondence sent to Sala by her family, first from her village of Sosnowiec and later from labor camps in Germany and occupied Poland. One image is a jagged page of the diary Sala began on the day of her deportation:
If you could have looked deep in my heart, you would have seen how desperate I was; still I tried to keep a smile on my face as best I could, though my eyes were filled with tears.
Other entries echo that optimism: