She had survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau women's camp for two and a half years, in which so many people perished of exhaustion, hunger, brutal abuse and illness or were murdered in the death machinery of the gas chambers.
For the sake of these people, Seweryna Szmaglewska decided to write down what Birkenau was.
In the final phase of the camp she had seen how the SS tried to destroy evidence, how they tore down the gas chambers and crematoria from the last survivors, and had files and index cards destroyed. She resisted this final act of memory destruction, with all that she had and what she could. Immediately after her escape and return home, she began to write, from five in the morning until dark, without a break, imposing the same workload on herself that was forced upon the prisoners on the death marches.