In the Mountains and On the River chronicles the history of the Slovak Jews between 1848 and 1945. It is based on an in-depth historical investigation by the author Gabriel Groszman, numerous memoirs by members of his extended families and documents obtained from historical institutes in Slovakia, Italy, Israel and the United States. The narrative takes us through the successive periods of the Habsburg Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, democratic Czechoslovakia and the fascist Slovak Republic, culminating in the destruction of Jewish life in Slovakia during the Holocaust. The multi-generational family histories reflect the shared destiny of Slovak Jewry and their achievements in spite of discrimination, followed by open persecution leading to exile, death, or in the case of a fortunate minority, survival. The stories of several families come to life through the written and verbal accounts of the survivors and descendents of people murdered during the Holocaust.
“... Thank you for your very frank, very well written book. You have done a real service by letting the ones who are now silent and most forgotten speak ...With best regards and wishes, — A. Einstein.”
“This book is a horrifying, but necessary, reminder of one of the ugliest chapters in the history of human civilisation. Passionate, tormenting’”—New York Herald-Tribune
“It is a picture of utter hell”—Saturday Review of Literature
—General Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Army, ret.; author of My Share of the Task
June 5, 1967. The nineteen-year-old state of Israel is surrounded by enemies who want nothing less than her utter extinction. The Soviet-equipped Egyptian Army has massed a thousand tanks on the nation’s southern border. Syrian heavy guns are shelling her from the north. To the east, Jordan and Iraq are moving mechanized brigades and fighter squadrons into position to attack. Egypt’s President Nasser has declared that the Arab force’s objective is “the destruction of Israel.” The rest of the world turns a blind eye to the new nation’s desperate peril.
June 10, 1967. The Arab armies have been routed, ground divisions wiped out, air forces totally destroyed. Israel’s citizen-soldiers have seized the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan. The land under Israeli control has tripled. Her charismatic defense minister, Moshe Dayan, has entered the Lion’s Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem to stand with the paratroopers who have liberated Judaism’s holiest site—the Western Wall, part of the ruins of Solomon’s temple, which has not been in Jewish hands for nineteen hundred years.
It is one of the most unlikely and astonishing military victories in history.
Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews with veterans of the war—fighter and helicopter pilots, tank commanders and Recon soldiers, paratroopers, as well as women soldiers, wives, and others—bestselling author Steven Pressfield tells the story of the Six Day War as you’ve never experienced it before: in the voices of the young men and women who battled not only for their lives but for the survival of a Jewish state, and for the dreams of their ancestors.
By turns inspiring, thrilling, and heartbreaking, The Lion’s Gate is both a true tale of military courage under fire and a journey into the heart of what it means to fight for one’s people.
In 1943, with Lvov's 150,000 Jews having been exiled, killed, or forced into ghettos and facing extermination, a group of Polish Jews daringly sought refuge in the city's sewer system. The last surviving member this group, Krystyna Chiger, shares one of the most intimate, harrowing and ultimately triumphant tales of survival to emerge from the Holocaust. The Girl in the Green Sweater is Chiger's harrowing first-person account of the fourteen months she spent with her family in the fetid, underground sewers of Lvov.
The Girl in the Green Sweater is also the story of Leopold Socha, the group's unlikely savior. A Polish Catholic and former thief, Socha risked his life to help Chiger's underground family survive, bringing them food, medicine, and supplies. A moving memoir of a desperate escape and life under unimaginable circumstances, The Girl in the Green Sweater is ultimately a tale of intimate survival, friendship, and redemption.
The renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal became the fifth generation to inherit this small and exquisite collection of netsuke. Entranced by their beauty and mystery, he determined to trace the story of his family through the story of the collection.
The netsuke—drunken monks, almost-ripe plums, snarling tigers—were gathered by Charles Ephrussi at the height of the Parisian rage for all things Japanese. Charles had shunned the place set aside for him in the family business to make a study of art, and of beautiful living. An early supporter of the Impressionists, he appears, oddly formal in a top hat, in Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party. Marcel Proust studied Charles closely enough to use him as a model for the aesthete and lover Swann in Remembrance of Things Past.
Charles gave the carvings as a wedding gift to his cousin Viktor in Vienna; his children were allowed to play with one netsuke each while they watched their mother, the Baroness Emmy, dress for ball after ball. Her older daughter grew up to disdain fashionable society. Longing to write, she struck up a correspondence with Rilke, who encouraged her in her poetry.
The Anschluss changed their world beyond recognition. Ephrussi and his cosmopolitan family were imprisoned or scattered, and Hitler's theorist on the "Jewish question" appropriated their magnificent palace on the Ringstrasse. A library of priceless books and a collection of Old Master paintings were confiscated by the Nazis. But the netsuke were smuggled away by a loyal maid, Anna, and hidden in her straw mattress. Years after the war, she would find a way to return them to the family she'd served even in their exile.
In The Hare with Amber Eyes, Edmund de Waal unfolds the story of a remarkable family and a tumultuous century. Sweeping yet intimate, it is a highly original meditation on art, history, and family, as elegant and precise as the netsuke themselves.
In early 1939, America's rigid immigration laws made it virtually impossible for European Jews to seek safe haven in the United States. As deep-seated anti-Semitism and isolationism gripped much of the country, neither President Roosevelt nor Congress rallied to their aid.
Yet one brave Jewish couple from Philadelphia refused to silently stand by. Risking their own safety, Gilbert Kraus, a successful lawyer, and his stylish wife, Eleanor, traveled to Nazi-controlled Vienna and Berlin to save fifty Jewish children. Steven Pressman brought the Kraus's rescue mission to life in his acclaimed HBO documentary, 50 Children. In this book, he expands upon the story related in the hour-long film, offering additional historical detail and context to offer a rich, full portrait of this ordinary couple and their extraordinary actions.
Drawing from Eleanor Kraus's unpublished memoir, rare historical documents, and interviews with more than a dozen of the surviving children, and illustrated with period photographs, archival materials, and memorabilia, 50 Children is a remarkable tale of personal courage and triumphant heroism that offers a fresh, unique insight into a critical period of history.
The Holocaust, in which 11 million people died, was the largest atrocity of the 20th century and perhaps the hardest to understand. Approximately 6 million Jews and 5 million others including Roma people, Poles, Russian prisoners of war, political prisoners, homosexuals, people of colour, Jehovah's Witnesses, and various other minorities were first persecuted and then murdered.
How, both morally and logistically, had this came to happen? From received sentiments of anti-Semitism at the beginning of the 20th century, through the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party, to the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 and finally Second World War, the victimisation of these minorities intensified beyond precedent. With the complicity of a nation hatred became policy. Under the control of sadists, bureaucrats and even ordinary soldiers, irrational acts were then enacted on an industrial scale, and with the use of concentration camps, Western Europe witnessed its most shocking treatment of humanity in modern history.
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In January 1943, unable to flee Germany, the four members of the Arndt family went underground to avoid deportation to Auschwitz. Ellen Lewinsky and her mother, Charlotte, joined them; a year later, Bruno Gumpel arrived. Hiding in a small factory near Hitler’s bunker, without identification cards or food-ration stamps, they were dependent on German strangers for survival.
When Russian soldiers finally rescued the group in April 1945, the families were near death from starvation. But their will to live triumphed and two months later, four of the survivors—Erich Arndt and Ellen Lewinsky, and Ruth Arndt and Bruno Gumpel—reunited in a double wedding ceremony.
Survival in the Shadows chronicles the previously untold story of the largest group of German Jews to have survived hiding in Berlin through the final and most deadly years of the Holocaust.
Relayed to Barbara Lovenheim by three survivors from the group, the riveting story is a touching portrayal of the bravery of these seven Jews, and a heartfelt acknowledgment of the fortitude and humanity of the compassionate Germans who kept them alive.
Eastern Europe, 1944: Three women believe they are pregnant, but are torn from their husbands before they can be certain. Rachel is sent to Auschwitz, unaware that her husband has been shot. Priska and her husband travel there together, but are immediately separated. Also at Auschwitz, Anka hopes in vain to be reunited with her husband. With the rest of their families gassed, these young wives are determined to hold on to all they have left—their lives, and those of their unborn babies. Having concealed their condition from infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, they are forced to work and almost starved to death, living in daily fear of their pregnancies being detected by the SS.
In April 1945, as the Allies close in, Priska gives birth. She and her baby, along with Anka, Rachel, and the remaining inmates, are sent to Mauthausen concentration camp on a hellish seventeen-day train journey. Rachel gives birth on the train, and Anka at the camp gates. All believe they will die, but then a miracle occurs. The gas chamber runs out of Zyklon-B, and as the Allied troops near, the SS flee. Against all odds, the three mothers and their newborns survive their treacherous journey to freedom.
On the seventieth anniversary of Mauthausen’s liberation from the Nazis by American soldiers, renowned biographer Wendy Holden recounts this extraordinary story of three children united by their mothers’ unbelievable—yet ultimately successful—fight for survival.
The little-known story of the disasters that immediately struck when America pressured Israel to divide “God’s land.” Here is the record of America's treatment of Israel, and God's quick response.
• The American industrialist honored by Hitler for promoting American anti-Semitism.
• The Nazi camp in New York wiped out by God with a monster storm after a 40,000-person Nazi rally.
• The Jewish merchants who helped fund and supply the American Revolution at their own expense.
• The Jewish friend whom George Washington called for help, when one more battle would win the war, but the war chest was empty.
• The U.S. President who died suddenly after promising the Arabs there would be no State of Israel without their approval.
• The U.S. President who ordered, “Whatever it takes, save Israel!” and a massive military support operation was sent when Israel faced defeat by the Arabs.
• The four U.S. Presidents who betrayed Israel, and saw America immediately ravaged by increasingly costly disasters.
Each President, whether you love him or hate him, makes a decision regarding Israel . . . and there are consequences!
America’s future leaders (teens and young adults) must read this message, or make the same mistakes that have destroyed nations before them.
God always keeps His promises!
Our Crime Was Being Jewish contains 576 vivid memories of 358 Holocaust survivors. These are the true, insider stories of victims, told in their own words. They include the experiences of teenagers who saw their parents and siblings sent to the gas chambers; of starving children beaten for trying to steal a morsel of food; of people who saw their friends commit suicide to save themselves from the daily agony they endured. The recollections are from the start of the war—the home invasions, the Gestapo busts, and the ghettos—as well as the daily hell of the concentration camps and what actually happened inside.
Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and this hefty collection of stories told by its survivors is one of the most important books of our time. It was compiled by award-winning author Anthony S. Pitch, who worked with sources such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to get survivors’ stories compiled together and to supplement them with images from the war. These memories must be told and held onto so what happened is documented; so the lives of those who perished are not forgotten—so history does not repeat itself.
Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Arcade, Good Books, Sports Publishing, and Yucca imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Our list includes biographies on well-known historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela, and Alexander Graham Bell, as well as villains from history, such as Heinrich Himmler, John Wayne Gacy, and O. J. Simpson. We have also published survivor stories of World War II, memoirs about overcoming adversity, first-hand tales of adventure, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Jack and Rochelle first met at a youth dance in Poland before the war. They shared one dance, and Jack stepped on Rochelle’s shoes. She was unimpressed. When the Nazis invaded eastern Poland in 1941, both Jack (in the town of Mir) and Rochelle (in the town of Stolpce) witnessed the horrors of ghettoization, forced labor, and mass killings that decimated their families. Jack and Rochelle managed, in their separate ways, to escape into the forest. They reunited, against all odds, in the winter of 1942–43 and became Jewish partisans who fought back against the Nazis. The couple’s careful courtship soon blossomed into an enduring love that sustained them through the raging hatred of the Holocaust and the destruction of the lives they had known.
Jack and Rochelle’s story, told in their own voices through extensive interviews with their son, Lawrence, has been in print for twenty years and is celebrated as a classic of Holocaust memoir literature. This is the first electronic edition.
“A story of heroism and of touching romance in a time of fear and danger.” —USA Today
Jankiel Wiernik was a Jewish property manager in Warsaw when the Nazis invaded Poland and was forced into the ghetto in 1940. Despite surviving the horrors of the ghetto at the advanced age of 52, he was sent to a fate worse than death at the notorious death camp at Treblinka, which he immortalized in his memoirs.
“On his arrival at Treblinka aboard the Holocaust train from Warsaw, Wiernik was selected to work rather than be immediately killed. Wiernik’s first job with the Sonderkommando required him to drag corpses from the gas chambers to mass graves. Wienik was traumatized by his experiences. He later wrote in his book: “It often happened that an arm or a leg fell off when we tied straps around them in order to drag the bodies away.” He remembered the horrors of the enormous pyres, where “10,000 to 12,000 corpses were cremated at one time.” He wrote: “The bodies of women were used for kindling” while Germans “toasted the scene with brandy and with the choicest liqueurs, ate, caroused and had a great time warming themselves by the fire.” Wiernik described small children awaiting so long in the cold for their turn in the gas chambers that “their feet froze and stuck to the icy ground” and noted one guard who would “frequently snatch a child from the woman’s arms and either tear the child in half or grab it by the legs, smash its head against a wall and throw the body away.” At other times “children were snatched from their mothers’ arms and tossed into the flames alive.”
“Wiernik escaped Treblinka during the revolt of the prisoners on “a sizzling hot day” of August 2, 1943. A shot fired into the air signalled that the revolt was on. Wiernik wrote that he “grabbed some guns” and, after spotting an opportunity to make a break for the woods, an axe...”
In the chaos following World War II, the U.S. government faced many difficult decisions, including what to do with the Third Reich's scientific minds. These were the brains behind the Nazis' once-indomitable war machine. So began Operation Paperclip, a decades-long, covert project to bring Hitler's scientists and their families to the United States.
Many of these men were accused of war crimes, and others had stood trial at Nuremberg; one was convicted of mass murder and slavery. They were also directly responsible for major advances in rocketry, medical treatments, and the U.S. space program. Was Operation Paperclip a moral outrage, or did it help America win the Cold War?
Drawing on exclusive interviews with dozens of Paperclip family members, colleagues, and interrogators, and with access to German archival documents (including previously unseen papers made available by direct descendants of the Third Reich's ranking members), files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and dossiers discovered in government archives and at Harvard University, Annie Jacobsen follows more than a dozen German scientists through their postwar lives and into a startling, complex, nefarious, and jealously guarded government secret of the twentieth century.
In this definitive, controversial look at one of America's most strategic, and disturbing, government programs, Jacobsen shows just how dark government can get in the name of national security.
This is the story of No. 22483, who had been shipped from Belgium to Buchenwald. This is an account of what No. 22483 saw and felt during his calvary from Antwerp to the Malin distribution camp in France and from there to the extermination camp of Buchenwald.
To say that this book contains the scenes of a twentieth-century Inferno may sound commonplace. Yet, every page of this book reminds one of Dante’s Inferno, with one exception: the Inferno the author writes about consumed the lives not of the sinful whom divine justice cast into the immortality of suffering.
This Inferno was thronged by millions, many of whom were babies and little children, mothers and young women who had hoped to become mothers. It was thronged with people who deserved their fates because they were men in the sense that God meant them to be. They were in Inferno because they were strong men and brave, the real heroes of our days. They were doomed because the Nazi super-race set up a different scale of values which regarded heroism as the greatest of sins and considered depravity the greatest of virtues. Reading this book one feels that the titanic Dante himself would have been staggered by the demented criminality the judges of the just displayed.
This is the story of No. 22483 of Buchenwald, one of the millions who were doomed and one of the few who escaped. Throughout, the writing is poignant, vibrant with humanity, a cry “de profundis” and a vow that it must never happen again. This book should be long remembered.
In 1944, on the morning of her twenty-third birthday, Isabella Leitner and her family were deported to Auschwitz, the Nazi extermination camp. There, she and her siblings relied on one another’s love and support to remain hopeful in the midst of the great evil surrounding them.
In Fragments of Isabella, Leitner reveals a glimpse of humanity in a world of darkness. Hailed by Publishers Weekly as “a celebration of the strength of the human spirit as it passes through fire,” this powerful and luminous Pulitzer Prize–nominated memoir, written thirty years after the author’s escape from the Nazis, has become a classic of holocaust literature and human survival.
This ebook features rare images from the author’s estate.
The history of Jews in the United States is one of racial change that provides useful insights on race in America. Prevailing classifications have sometimes assigned Jews to the white race and at other times have created an off-white racial designation for them. Those changes in racial assignment have shaped the ways American Jews of different eras have constructed their ethnoracial identities. Brodkin illustrates these changes through an analysis of her own family's multi-generational experience. She shows how Jews experience a kind of double vision that comes from racial middleness: on the one hand, marginality with regard to whiteness; on the other, whiteness and belonging with regard to blackness.
Class and gender are key elements of race-making in American history. Brodkin suggests that this country's racial assignment of individuals and groupsconstitutes an institutionalized system of occupational and residential segregation, is a key element in misguided public policy, and serves as a pernicious foundational principle in the construction of nationhood. Alternatives available to non-white and alien "others" have been either to whiten or to be consigned to an inferior underclass unworthy of full citizenship. The American ethnoracial map-who is assigned to each of these poles-is continually changing, although the binary of black and white is not. As a result, the structure within which Americans form their ethnoracial, gender, and class identities is distressingly stable. Brodkin questions the means by which Americans construct their political identities and what is required to weaken the hold of this governing myth.
When his parents were murdered in the Belżec death camp, he became the sole survivor of his entire family. After liberation, Henry volunteered for the Israeli Army and fought for Israel’s independence. He came to Canada in 1965 with his wife Hela and their two children.
His story is one of strength and courage. His survival is nothing short of a miracle.
According to German wartime media, it was German citizens who were targeted for extinction by a vast international conspiracy. Leading the assault was an insidious, belligerent Jewish clique, so crafty and powerful that it managed to manipulate the actions of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. Hitler portrayed the Holocaust as a defensive act, a necessary move to destroy the Jews before they destroyed Germany.
Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, and Otto Dietrich's Press Office translated this fanatical vision into a coherent cautionary narrative, which the Nazi propaganda machine disseminated into the recesses of everyday life. Calling on impressive archival research, Jeffrey Herf recreates the wall posters that Germans saw while waiting for the streetcar, the radio speeches they heard at home or on the street, the headlines that blared from newsstands. "The Jewish Enemy" is the first extensive study of how anti-Semitism pervaded and shaped Nazi propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust, and how it pulled together the diverse elements of a delusionary Nazi worldview. Here we find an original and haunting exposition of the ways in which Hitler legitimized war and genocide to his own people, as necessary to destroy an allegedly omnipotent Jewish foe. In an era when both anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories continue to influence world politics, Herf offers a timely reminder of their dangers along with a fresh interpretation of the paranoia underlying the ideology of the Third Reich.
Finalist for the 2017 RBC Taylor Prize
More than 70 years after the Nazi camps were liberated by the Allies, a new Canadian Holocaust memoir details the rural Hungarian deportations to Auschwitz-Birkenau, back-breaking slave labour in Auschwitz I, the infamous “death march” in January 1945, the painful aftermath of liberation, a journey of physical and psychological healing.
Tibor “Max” Eisen was born in Moldava, Czechoslovakia into an Orthodox Jewish family. He had an extended family of sixty members, and he lived in a family compound with his parents, his two younger brothers, his baby sister, his paternal grandparents and his uncle and aunt. In the spring of1944--five and a half years after his region had been annexed to Hungary and the morning after the family’s yearly Passover Seder--gendarmes forcibly removed Eisen and his family from their home. They were brought to a brickyard and eventually loaded onto crowded cattle cars bound for Auschwitz-Birkenau. At fifteen years of age, Eisen survived the selection process and he was inducted into the camp as a slave labourer.
One day, Eisen received a terrible blow from an SS guard. Severely injured, he was dumped at the hospital where a Polish political prisoner and physician, Tadeusz Orzeszko, operated on him. Despite his significant injury, Orzeszko saved Eisen from certain death in the gas chambers by giving him a job as a cleaner in the operating room. After his liberation and new trials in Communist Czechoslovakia, Eisen immigrated to Canada in 1949, where he has dedicated the last twenty-two years of his life to educating others about the Holocaust across Canada and around the world.
The author will be donating a portion of his royalties from this book to institutions promoting tolerance and understanding.
Based on first-person accounts from diaries, interviews, and surviving relatives, Isaac’s Army chronicles the extraordinary triumphs and devastating setbacks that befell the Jewish underground from its earliest acts of defiance in 1939 to the exodus to Palestine in 1946. This is the remarkable true story of the Jewish resistance from the perspective of those who led it: Isaac Zuckerman, the confident and charismatic twenty-four-year-old founder of the Jewish Fighting Organization; Simha Ratheiser, Isaac’s fifteen-year-old bodyguard, whose boyish good looks and seeming immunity to danger made him an ideal courier; and Zivia Lubetkin, the warrior queen of the underground who, upon hearing the first intimations of the Holocaust, declared: “We are going to defend ourselves.” Joined by allies on the left and right, they survived Gestapo torture chambers, smuggled arms, ran covert printing presses, opened illegal schools, robbed banks, executed collaborators, and fought in the two largest rebellions of the war.
Hunted by the Germans and bedeviled by the “Greasers”—roving bands of blackmailers who routinely turned in resistance fighters for profit—the movement was chronically short on firepower but long on ingenuity. Its members hatched plots in dank basements, never more than a door knock away from summary execution, and slogged through fetid sewers to escape the burning Ghetto to the forests surrounding the city. And after the initial uprising was ruthlessly put down by the SS, they gambled everything on a bold plan for a citywide revolt—of both Jews and Gentiles—that could end only in victory or total destruction. The money they raised helped thousands hide when the Ghetto was liquidated. The documents they forged offered lifelines to families desperate to escape the horror of the Holocaust. And when the war was over, they helped found the state of Israel.
A story of secret alliances, internal rivalries, and undying commitment to a cause, Isaac’s Army is history at its most heart-wrenching. Driven by an unforgettable cast of characters, it’s a true-life tale with the pulse of a great novel, and a celebration of the indomitable spirit of resistance.
Advance praise for Isaac’s Army
“Told with care and compassion, Matthew Brzezinski’s Isaac’s Army is a riveting account of the Jewish resistance in wartime Poland. This is an intense story that transcends the horror of the time and finds real inspiration in the bravery of those who fought back—some of whom lived to tell their stories. Highly recommended.”—Alan Furst, author of Mission to Paris
Despite the Nazi oppression of all Jews in the lands under their control, Judith Sternberg Newman and her family were hugely fortunate to have managed get permission to settle in Paraguay in 1940. However their escape was blocked by the German authorities who refused to provide an exit visa, from that moment on, as the author notes, “fate turned against us”. As the author relates in these horrific memoirs are the torments, brutality and death at Auschwitz; the treatment that left here by the end of the war as the only surviving member of her family. She emigrated to America in 1947 where she was able to practise at her chosen profession in nursing and raise a family.
In a landmark work of history, Nikolaus Wachsmann offers an unprecedented, integrated account of the Nazi concentration camps from their inception in 1933 through their demise, seventy years ago, in the spring of 1945. The Third Reich has been studied in more depth than virtually any other period in history, and yet until now there has been no history of the camp system that tells the full story of its broad development and the everyday experiences of its inhabitants, both perpetrators and victims, and all those living in what Primo Levi called "the gray zone."
In KL, Wachsmann fills this glaring gap in our understanding. He not only synthesizes a new generation of scholarly work, much of it untranslated and unknown outside of Germany, but also presents startling revelations, based on many years of archival research, about the functioning and scope of the camp system. Examining, close up, life and death inside the camps, and adopting a wider lens to show how the camp system was shaped by changing political, legal, social, economic, and military forces, Wachsmann produces a unified picture of the Nazi regime and its camps that we have never seen before.
A boldly ambitious work of deep importance, KL is destined to be a classic in the history of the twentieth century.
On October 14, 1943, six hundred Jews imprisoned in Sobibor, a secret Nazi death camp in eastern Poland, revolted. They killed a dozen SS officers and guards, trampled the barbed wire fences, and raced across an open field filled with anti-tank mines. Against all odds, more than three hundred made it safely into the woods. Fifty of those men and women managed to survive the rest of the war. In this edition of Escape from Sobibor, fully updated in 2012, Richard Rashke tells their stories, based on his interviews with eighteen of the survivors. It vividly describes the biggest prisoner escape of World War II. A story of unimaginable cruelty. A story of courage and a fierce desire to live and to tell the world what truly went on behind those barbed wire fences.
Philip (Fiszel) Bialowitz, now an American citizen, relates his eyewitness story in “realtime” perspective, from his childhood before the war to his life in the Izbica ghetto, his six months of internment and resistance at Sobibór, and his rescue by courageous Polish farmers. He also recounts the challenges of life following the war as a displaced teenager and his eventual efforts as a witness to the truth of the Holocaust.
Raised in a devout Roman Catholic family in the Netherlands, Paul Glaser was shocked to learn as an adult of his father's Jewish heritage. Grappling with his newfound identity and stunned by his father’s secrecy, Paul set out to discover what happened to his family during World War II and what had caused the long-standing rift between his father and his estranged aunt, Rosie, who moved to Sweden after the war. Piecing together his aunt’s wartime diaries, photographs, and letters, Paul reconstructed the dramatic story of a woman who was caught up in the tragic sweep of World War II.
Rosie Glaser was a magnetic force – hopeful, exuberant, and cunning. An emancipated woman who defied convention, she toured Western Europe teaching ballroom dancing to high acclaim, falling in love hard and often. By the age of twenty-five, she had lost the great love of her life in an aviation accident, married the wrong man, and sought consolation in the arms of yet another. Then the Nazis seized power. For Rosie, a nonpracticing Jew, this marked the beginning of an extremely dangerous ordeal. After operating an illegal dance school in her parents’ attic, Rosie was betrayed by both her ex-husband and her lover, taken prisoner by the SS and sent to a series of concentration camps. But her enemies were unable to destroy her and, remarkably, she survived, in part by giving dance and etiquette lessons to her captors. Rosie was an entertainer at heart, and her vivacious spirit, her effervescent charm, and her incredible resourcefulness kept her alive amid horrendous tragedy. Of the twelve hundred people who arrived with her at Auschwitz, only eight survived. Illustrated with more than ninety photos, Dancing with the Enemy recalls an extraordinary life marked by love, betrayal, and fierce determination. It is being published in ten languages.
A compelling story of two intertwined journeys: a Jewish refugee family fleeing persecution and a young man seeking to reclaim a shattered past. In the twilight of the Cold War (the late 1980s), nine-year old Lev Golinkin and his family cross the Soviet border with only ten suitcases, $600, and the vague promise of help awaiting in Vienna. Years later, Lev, now an American adult, sets out to retrace his family's long trek, locate the strangers who fought for his freedom, and in the process, gain a future by understanding his past.
Lev Golinkin's memoir is the vivid, darkly comic, and poignant story of a young boy in the confusing and often chilling final decade of the Soviet Union. It's also the story of Lev Golinkin, the American man who finally confronts his buried past by returning to Austria and Eastern Europe to track down the strangers who made his escape possible . . . and say thank you. Written with biting, acerbic wit and emotional honesty in the vein of Gary Shteyngart, Jonathan Safran Foer, and David Bezmozgis, Golinkin's search for personal identity set against the relentless currents of history is more than a memoir—it's a portrait of a lost era. This is a thrilling tale of escape and survival, a deeply personal look at the life of a Jewish child caught in the last gasp of the Soviet Union, and a provocative investigation into the power of hatred and the search for belonging. Lev Golinkin achieves an amazing feat—and it marks the debut of a fiercely intelligent, defiant, and unforgettable new voice.
From the Hardcover edition.
"If you can imagine that the Jew to the German was like a cockroach. In the United States, if you step on a cockroach . . . it doesn't mean anything to you. The same thing, exactly the same thing, the Jew was to the German--a cockroach. . . . One particular Shabbos (Sabbath), they shot twelve or thirteen people in my area. In other words, the German had the right, if he saw me, any Jew that he saw in the street, he could go over to you calmly, take out his revolver, and put it to your head, and shoot you down like a . . . roach. . . . It was a free-for-all."--Testimony of Sol Einhorn, cited in Holocaust Testimonies: European Survivors and American Liberators in New Jersey
Issued in London in 1917, the Balfour Declaration was one of the key documents of the twentieth century. It committed Britain to supporting the establishment in Palestine of “a National Home for the Jewish people,” and its reverberations continue to be felt to this day. Now the entire fascinating story of the document is revealed in this impressive work of modern history.
With new material retrieved from historical archives, Jonathan Schneer recounts in dramatic detail the public and private fight for a small strip of land in the Middle East, a battle that started when the Ottoman Empire took Germany’s side in World War I. The key players in this conflict are rendered in nuanced and detailed relief: Sharif Hussein, the Arab leader who secretly sought British support; Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist folks-mensch who charmed British high society; T. E. Lawrence, the legendary British officer who “set the desert on fire” for the Arabs; and the other generals and prime ministers, soldiers and negotiators, who shed blood and cut deals to grab or give away the precious land.
A book crucial to understanding the Middle East as it is today, The Balfour Declaration is a riveting volume about the ancient faiths and timeless treacheries that continue to drive global events.
The camp where I stayed for several years has received less publicity than the larger and more smoothly run DACHAU and RAVENSBRÜCK camps where mass extermination was carried out with cold efficiency.
Our camp was called BRZEZINKI, in German BIRKENAU. Some prisoners nicknamed it RAJSKO. In literal translation this means “HEAVEN-LIKE”.
In Brzezinki-Birkenau, mass murder was carried out on such a fantastic scale that the executioners had set up five crematories. Almost all the inmates were destroyed and only a few lived long enough to greet their liberators. Except for one book written by a Polish woman thus far, no report has been graved on flintstone by any of the liberated Polish Jobs.
I am not a writer and my story will be a plain and frank account of things which I have witnessed and experienced in nine prisons and in three concentration camps, from which I was miraculously saved by God. It is not my aim to evoke your pity, nor to arouse your wrath against the Germans. I wish only to help you to realize what happens when man rejects God and when his passions become his sole master. He will then commit every kind of inhuman crime, whereas if he follows the Golden Rule he will withstand the most ruthless pressure and even in the midst of inhuman sufferings will desperately cling to his faith.
I wish to stir the conscience of statesmen so that they may unify their efforts in preventing a repetition of the crimes committed in the name of an omnipotent and evil deity—the STATE.”-Foreword
An influential figure in Adolf Hitler’s early inner circle from the start, Alfred Rosenberg made his name spreading toxic ideas about the Jews throughout Germany. By the dawn of the Third Reich, he had published a bestselling masterwork that was a touchstone of Nazi thinking.
His diary was discovered hidden in a Bavarian castle at war’s end—five hundred pages providing a harrowing glimpse into the mind of a man whose ideas set the stage for the Holocaust. Prosecutors examined it during the Nuremberg war crimes trial, but after Rosenberg was convicted, sentenced, and executed, it mysteriously vanished.
New York Times bestselling author Robert K. Wittman, who as an FBI agent and then a private consultant specialized in recovering artifacts of historic significance, first learned of the diary in 2001, when the chief archivist for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum contacted him to say that someone was trying to sell it for upwards of a million dollars. The phone call sparked a decade-long hunt that took them on a twisting path involving a pair of octogenarian secretaries, an eccentric professor, and an opportunistic trash-picker. From the crusading Nuremberg prosecutor who smuggled the diary out of Germany to the man who finally turned it over, everyone had reasons for hiding the truth.
Drawing on Rosenberg’s entries about his role in the seizure of priceless artwork and the brutal occupation of the Soviet Union, his conversations with Hitler and his endless rivalries with Göring, Goebbels, and Himmler, The Devil’s Diary offers vital historical insight of unprecedented scope and intimacy into the innermost workings of the Nazi regime—and into the psyche of the man whose radical vision mutated into the Final Solution.
The Lady in Gold, considered an unforgettable masterpiece, one of the twentieth century’s most recognizable paintings, made headlines all over the world when Ronald Lauder bought it for $135 million a century after Klimt, the most famous Austrian painter of his time, completed the society portrait.
Anne-Marie O’Connor, writer for The Washington Post, formerly of the Los Angeles Times, tells the galvanizing story of the Lady in Gold, Adele Bloch-Bauer, a dazzling Viennese Jewish society figure; daughter of the head of one of the largest banks in the Hapsburg Empire, head of the Oriental Railway, whose Orient Express went from Berlin to Constantinople; wife of Ferdinand Bauer, sugar-beet baron.
The Bloch-Bauers were art patrons, and Adele herself was considered a rebel of fin de siècle Vienna (she wanted to be educated, a notion considered “degenerate” in a society that believed women being out in the world went against their feminine “nature”). The author describes how Adele inspired the portrait and how Klimt made more than a hundred sketches of her—simple pencil drawings on thin manila paper.
And O’Connor writes of Klimt himself, son of a failed gold engraver, shunned by arts bureaucrats, called an artistic heretic in his time, a genius in ours.
She writes of the Nazis confiscating the portrait of Adele from the Bloch-Bauers’ grand palais; of the Austrian government putting the painting on display, stripping Adele’s Jewish surname from it so that no clues to her identity (nor any hint of her Jewish origins) would be revealed. Nazi officials called the painting, The Lady in Gold and proudly exhibited it in Vienna’s Baroque Belvedere Palace, consecrated in the 1930s as a Nazi institution.
The author writes of the painting, inspired by the Byzantine mosaics Klimt had studied in Italy, with their exotic symbols and swirls, the subject an idol in a golden shrine.
We see how, sixty years after it was stolen by the Nazis, the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer became the subject of a decade-long litigation between the Austrian government and the Bloch-Bauer heirs, how and why the U.S. Supreme Court became involved in the case, and how the Court’s decision had profound ramifications in the art world.
A riveting social history; an illuminating and haunting look at turn-of-the-century Vienna; a brilliant portrait of the evolution of a painter; a masterfully told tale of suspense. And at the heart of it, the Lady in Gold—the shimmering painting, and its equally irresistible subject, the fate of each forever intertwined.
Here are the fascinating and long-forgotten roots of the “Jewish difference”–the violence that greeted the Jewish Diaspora in first-century Alexandria. Wistrich suggests that the idea of a formless God who passed down a universal moral law to a chosen few deeply disconcerted the pagan world. The early leaders of Christianity increased their strength by painting these “superior” Jews as a cosmic and satanic evil, and by the time of the Crusades, murdering a “Christ killer” had become an act of conscience.
Moving seamlessly through centuries of war and dissidence, A Lethal Obsession powerfully portrays the creation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the fateful anti-Semitic tract commissioned by Russia’s tsarist secret police at the end of the nineteenth century–and the prediction by Theodor Herzl, Austrian founder of political Zionism, of eventual disaster for the Jews in Europe.
The twentieth century fulfilled this dark prophecy, with the horrifying ascent of Hitler’s Third Reich. Yet, as Wistrich disturbingly suggests, the end of World War II failed to neutralize the “Judeophobic virus”: Pogroms and prejudice continued in Soviet-controlled territories and in the Arab-Muslim world that would fan flames for new decades of distrust, malice, and violence.
Here, in pointed and devastating detail, is our own world, one in which jihadi terrorists and the radical left blame Israel for all global ills. In his concluding chapters, Wistrich warns of a possible nuclear “Final Solution” at the hands of Iran, a land in which a formerly prosperous Jewish community has declined in both fortunes and freedoms.
Dazzling in scope and erudition, A Lethal Obsession is a riveting masterwork of investigative nonfiction, the definitive work on this unsettling yet essential subject. It is destined to become an indispensable source for any student of world affairs.
From the Hardcover edition.
Arrested by the Gestapo in 1942 for involvement in the resistance, the author spent three years in Birkenau. Severyna Szmaglewska (1916-1992) began writing this book immediately after escaping from an evacuation transport in January 1945, and it is the first account of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp and an eloquent and important analysis of the individual experience of modern war. It was ready for print before the end of 1945, after several months of feverish work. In February 1946 the International Tribunal in Nuremberg included it in the material making up the charges against the Nazi perpetrators, and called upon the author to give testimony. Since 1945, Smoke over Birkenau has been reprinted frequently and widely translated. Critics, and three generations of readers, praised it for truthfulness, accuracy, and lasting literary merit: as memories of war-time genocide fade with the passage of time, Szmaglewska’s readers are able to stay in touch with extremes of experience which must never be forgotten. “Smoke over Birkenau is not a book about death or hatred,” one critic wrote. “It is a powerful act of the will to live and a profession of the noblest humanism. The victorious idea of life is woven through every page. Maintaining, cultivating, and instilling in oneself the imperative: You must endure! You must live! – a plan carried out unswervingly despite everything.”-Print ed.
A compelling and readable account of the four thousand year history of a people that spans the globe and transcends the ages. From the ancient and simple faith of a small tribe to a global religion with adherents in every nation, the path of the Jews is traced through countless expulsions and migrations, the great tragedy of the Holocaust, and the joy of founding a homeland in Israel. Putting the struggle of a persecuted people into perspective, Max Dimont asks whether the tragic sufferings of the Jews have actually been the key to their survival, as other nations and races vanished into obscurity. Here is a book for Jews and non-Jews to enjoy, evoking a proud heritage while offering a hopeful vision of the future.
On May 13, 1939, the luxury liner St. Louis sailed from Hamburg, one of the last ships to leave Nazi Germany before World War II erupted. Aboard were 937 Jews—some had already been in concentration camps—who believed they had bought visas to enter Cuba. The voyage of the damned had begun.
Before the St. Louis was halfway across the Atlantic, a power struggle ensued between the corrupt Cuban immigration minister who issued the visas and his superior, President Bru. The outcome: The refugees would not be allowed to land in Cuba.
In America, the Brown Shirts were holding Nazi rallies in Madison Square Garden; anti-Semitic Father Coughlin had an audience of fifteen million. Back in Germany, plans were being laid to implement the final solution. And aboard the St. Louis, 937 refugees awaited the decision that would determine their fate.
Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts have re-created history in this meticulous reconstruction of the voyage of the St. Louis. Every word of their account is true: the German High Command’s ulterior motive in granting permission for the “mission of mercy;” the confrontations between the refugees and the German crewmen; the suicide attempts among the passengers; and the attitudes of those who might have averted the catastrophe, but didn’t.
In reviewing the work, the New York Times was unequivocal: “An extraordinary human document and a suspense story that is hard to put down. But it is more than that. It is a modern allegory, in which the SS St. Louis becomes a symbol of the SS Planet Earth. In this larger sense the book serves a greater purpose than mere drama.”
From their nomadic beginnings and the rise of Moses to the kings David and Solomon through the Diaspora and the unthinkable horror of the Holocaust—and culminating in the founding of the state of Israel—this is the sweeping tale of the Jews. Howard Fast, author of the classic Spartacus, displays his gift for compelling narrative throughout this eminently readable and well-researched saga.
In Fast’s telling, truth is stranger, and more inspiring, than fiction. “Here, I decided, was one of the most exciting and romantic adventures in all the history of mankind,” he explains in his introduction. “It had a continuity that spanned most of recorded history. It was filled with drama, passion, tragedy, and faith; and with all due reverence for the scholars, it pleaded for a storyteller to tell it as a story, indeed as the story of all stories.”
Fast’s accomplishment is required reading not only for lovers of great literature but also for anyone interested in the march of civilization. Barry Holtz, the editor of The Schocken Guide to Jewish Books hails The Jews as “an exciting and pleasurable [introduction] to a four-thousand-year epic.”
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Howard Fast including rare photos from the author’s estate.
Presented as a personal yet factual narrative, Out from Hiding includes six crucial topics that prove the existence of Sephardic Jewish roots among Latinos:
Historical and genealogical records
DNA evidence corroborating Sephardic Jewish roots among Latinos
Onomastics dealing with the Sephardic origin of surnames
Material evidence found within the Sephardic Latino community
Oral histories disclosing family secrets of thirteen Sephardic Latinos
Sanchezs professional observations and prognostications of the Sephardic Latinos future
Based on continued research, it has been estimated that there are tens of thousands of Hispanic/Latinos with Sephardic Jewish ancestry in America. The majority of these are not aware of their hidden Jewish roots, arent aware of their hidden backgrounds. Out from Hiding is his journey through history, family genealogy, and personal faith. Perhaps it may be your journey, as well.
Mona Golabek tells the tale of her mother Lisa Jura Golabek's escape from Nazi-controlled Austria to England on the infamous Kindertransport.
Jewish musical prodigy Lisa Jura has a wonderful life in Vienna. But when the Nazis start closing in on the city, life changes irreversibly. Although he has three daughters, Lisa's father is able to secure only one berth on the Kindertransport. The family decides to send Lisa to London so that she may pursue her dreams of a career as a concert pianist. Separated from her beloved family, Lisa bravely endures the trip and a disastrous posting outside London before finding her way to the Willesden Lane Orphanage.
Her music inspires the other orphanage children, and they, in turn, cheer her on in her efforts to make good on her promise to her family to realize her musical potential. Through hard work and sheer pluck, Lisa wins a scholarship to study piano at the Royal Academy. As she supports herself and studies, she makes a new life for herself and dreams of reconnecting with the family she was forced to leave behind. The resulting tale delivers a message of the power of music to uplift the human spirit and to grant the individual soul endurance, patience, and peace.
*Includes a reading group guide*
membership in “the tribe” defined by shared religious beliefs? Common
ethnic backgrounds? Familiar holiday practices? Similar tastes in
culture and cuisine? And what do the widely varying answers to those
questions mean for the future of the American Jewish community?
2013, at the suggestion of Jewish Daily Forward editor Jane Eisner, the
Pew Research Center completed the most comprehensive and credible
survey ever conducted among American Jews. Its findings were nothing
short of astounding to communal leaders, demographers and individual
In this new e-book, the venerable Forward – the
premier source of news, analysis and cultural coverage that matters to
the American Jewish community – explains and analyzes the Pew report,
with contributions from its own journalists and a diverse selection of other experts.
sobering and sometimes even amusing, this accessible collection of
articles and essays will inform and enlarge the critical conversation
among American Jews about their communal future.
helpful discussion guide for educators, community and book groups, and
leaders of Jewish organizations.
Yet survive they did, even infiltrating themselves into the camps above to find their missing relatives. When the Russians liberated Lvov, they emerged from the sewers filthy, bent double, emaciated, unrecognizable. When they opened their eyes their eye seemed blood red.
Robert Marshall, author of All the King's Men, has written the harrowing story of the survivor's ordeal based on a long series of interviews and a hitherto private diary, creating a blazing testimony to human faith and endurance. In the Sewers of Lvov was the inspiration for Academy Award nominated In Darkness.
When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, approximately one hundred sixty thousand Jews called Berlin home. By 1943 less than five thousand remained in the nation’s capital, the epicenter of Nazism, and by the end of the war, that number had dwindled to one thousand. All the others had died in air raids, starved to death, committed suicide, or been shipped off to the death camps.
In this captivating and harrowing book, Leonard Gross details the real-life stories of a dozen Jewish men and women who spent the final twenty-seven months of World War II underground, hiding in plain sight, defying both the Gestapo and, even worse, Jewish “catchers” ready to report them to the Nazis in order to avoid the gas chambers themselves. A teenage orphan, a black-market jewel trader, a stylish young designer, and a progressive intellectual were among the few who managed to survive. Through their own resourcefulness, bravery, and at times, sheer luck, these Jews managed to evade the tragic fates of so many others.
Gross has woven these true stories of perseverance into a heartbreaking, suspenseful, and moving account with the narrative force of a thriller. Compiled from extensive interviews, The Last Jews in Berlin reveals these individuals’ astounding determination, against all odds, to live each day knowing it could be their last.
“DACHAU, 1933-1945, will stand for all time as one of history’s most gruesome symbols of inhumanity. There our troops found sights, sounds and stenches horrible beyond belief, cruelties so enormous as to be incomprehensible to the normal mind. DACHAU and death were synonymous.
No words or pictures can carry the full impact of these unbelievable scenes but this report presents some of the outstanding facts and photographs in order to emphasize the type of crime which elements of the SS committed thousands of times a day, to remind us of the ghastly capabilities of certain classes of men, to strengthen our determination that they and their works shall vanish from the earth.
The sections comprising this report were prepared by the agencies indicated. They remain substantially as they were originally submitted in the belief that to consolidate this material in a single literary style would seriously weaken its realism.”-Foreword.
From Inside the Ghetto, Ringelblum, a well-respected historian and archivist, compiled his journal recording daily life in the Ghetto, from its beginnings to the eve of the Ghetto uprising in April 1943. Using accounts and anecdotes from his many friends and neighbours, Ringelblum created a detailed, colourful, and emotional record of one of the most terrible epochs in human history.
Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto is an unflinching, first-hand account of history unfolding before your very eyes.
NEW YORK MAGAZINE No. 706, Wednesday, February 2, 2011, Cultural Page 16 University Professor and Doctor Aurel Sasu, HOMAGE TO THE JEWS FROM THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA, Commentary regarding the volume SALUTE TO THE ROMANIAN JEWS IN AMERICA AND CANADA, 1850-2010: HISTORY, ACHIEVEMENTS, AND BIOGRAPHIES by Vladimir F. Wertsman
The publication of SALUTE TO THE ROMANIAN JEWS IN AMERICA AND CANADA,1850-2010: HISTORY, ACHIEVEMENTS, AND BIOGRAPHIES, XLibris , Bloomington, IN, 2010, 287 pp. by Vladimir F. Wertsman, one of the most valued, respected and dedicated researchers on multiculturalism over the Ocean, was no surprise to anybody in light of the authors previous triptych: THE ROMANIANS IN AMERICA, 1748-1974: A CHNRONOLOGY AND FACT BOOK(1975), THE ROMANIANS IN AMERICA AND CANADA: A GUIDE TO INFORMTION SOURCES, (1980), and THE ROMANIANS IN THE UNITED STATES ANADA CANADA: A GUIDE TO ANCESTRY AND HERITAGE RESEARCH (2003). All of these titles reflect the authors older concerns regarding immigration, integration, and identity preserved via the values of organic tradition.
Those who know this passionate book lover (he served many years as senior librarian at the New York Public Library) also know how much he is proud of his Romanian education (he is a graduate of the University "A.I. Cuza" Law School, 1953) and the prestige of Romanian people of culture abroad in whose spirit he was formed. Established in the USA in 1967, the future author did not forget the depth of his primary sources and his Romanian heritage. Regardless how often he appears in the Romanian community, he is admired for his work, advice, and wisdom. His main message is friendship, mutual understanding and respect.
The above mentioned volume on Romanian Jews in America and Canada starts with a "microchronology" of Romanias two millennia Jewish community going back to the year 70 AD, when some Jews found asylum in Dacia after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. Under King Decebal, Jews are permitted to reside without any restriction. They were merchants, translators, and purveyors, Matei Basarab offers asylum to Hungarian Jews who refused to convert to Catholicism, under Alexander the Good and Stephen the Great, the Jews are free to live in any part of Moldavia. Also, Stephen the Great and his son Bogdan Voda kept Isaac Benjamin Shor as their logofat (chancellor). In the 16th century, first Sephardic communities are mentioned in Bucharest and Craiova, also Jewish stable communities are mentioned in Iasi (with a synagogue and cemetery), Suceava, Botosani, Sibiu, Cluj. Vasile Lupu (17th century) accepts several Jewish doctors and pharmacists at his court, Constantin Brancoveanu will do the same one century later. In 1665, a document mentions that along with Valachians and Serbs there were Jews in Michael the Braves Army. Constantin Mavrocordat accords fiscal immunity to Jews settled in Herta, Balti, Orhei, Ocna, and Harlau. From DESCRIPTIO MOLDAVIAE (1717) by Dimitrie Cantemir, we find that Jews could build wooden synagogues without any restrictions. Starting with the 18th century, mixed musical bands (lautari) are formed; they consisted of Romanians, Jews, and Gypsies. After the hardships endured by Jews during the Russian-Turkish War (1769-1774), Alexandru Mavrocordat and Nicolae Mavrogheni accord special protection to the Jewish population. In 1803, there were about 3,000 Jewish families in Moldova, fifty years later, the Jewish population increased to more than 130,000. In the Proclamation of Islaz (1848), the rights of the Jewish community are explicitly mentioned: "the emancipation of the Israelites and political rights for all compatriots of other creeds". In 1852, the first Jewish school is opened in Bucharest, and in 1847 appears ISRAELITUL ROMAN, the first newspaper of the Jewish communities from Moldavia and Walachia
Combining the thrill of a detective story with the inherent poignancy of the history of World War II and its aftermath, Operation Last Chance delivers the important and moving story of one man's heroic efforts to honor the victims of the Holocaust.
“Long before I became acquainted with a German concentration camp—at the time Germany launched her attack on Poland—I had heard much about the horrors of these German torture chambers. Almost everyone who lived in Germany, native or foreigner, knew of someone who had once been in a concentration camp. Everyone had a vague idea of the punishment cells, whippings, starvation rations. But just how the mechanism of a concentration camp functioned, how a prisoner’s day was spent, how he worked, what he ate, what and how he suffered—these things were known only to those who had once been cogs in such a mechanism.
And these did not speak. They did not speak because the fear of the Gestapo haunted them night and day; because on their release from the camp they were made to sign a statement that they would not make public the things they had seen and experienced; because the Gestapo sent those who broke this pledge back to the camp for “atrocity propaganda”; and because those sent back would soon come out again, this time in a crudely built wooden coffin.
It was a long while before I felt strong enough to describe what I had seen and experienced. That I have been able to put it on paper at all, I owe to my daughter, whose untiring energy and resourcefulness not only accomplished my rescue but has also been an invaluable help in preparing the manuscript.”-Author’s Preface.
Glenn Kurtz quickly recognizes the brief footage as a crucial link in a lost history. "The longer I spent with my grandfather's film," he writes, "the richer and more fragmentary its images became." Every image, every face, was a mystery that might be solved. Soon he is swept up in a remarkable journey to learn everything he can about these people. After restoring the film, which had shrunk and propelled across the United States; to Canada, England, Poland, and Israel; and into archives, basements, cemeteries, and even an irrigation ditch at an abandoned Luftwaffe airfield as he looks for shards of Nasielsk's Jewish history.
One day, Kurtz hears from a young woman who had watched the video on the Holocaust Museum's website. As the camera panned across the faces of children, she recognized her grandfather as a thirteen-year-old boy. Moszek Tuchendler of Nasielsk was now eighty-six-year-old Maurice Chandler of Florida, and when Kurtz meets him, the lost history of Nasielsk comes into view. Chandler's laser-sharp recollections create a bridge between two worlds, and he helps Kurtz eventually locate six more survivors, including a ninety-six-year-old woman who also appears in the film, standing next to the man she would later marry.
Painstakingly assembled from interviews, photographs, documents, and artifacts, Three Minutes in Poland tells the rich, harrowing, and surprisingly intertwined stories of these seven survivors and their Polish hometown. "I began to catch fleeting glimpses of the living town," Kurtz writes, "a cruelly narrow sample of its relationships, contradictions, scandals." Originally a travel souvenir, David Kurtz's home movie became the most important record of a vibrant town on the brink of extinction. From this brief film, Glenn Kurtz creates a poignant yet unsentimental exploration of memory, loss, and improbable survival—a monument to a lost world.
Drawing on a remarkably rich archive that includes photographs, objects, official documents, and personal papers, the editors of Jews in Nazi Berlin have assembled a multifaceted picture of Jewish daily life in the Nazi capital during the height of the regime’s power. The book’s essays and images are divided into thematic sections, each representing a different aspect of the experience of Jews in Berlin, covering such topics as emigration, the yellow star, Zionism, deportation, betrayal, survival, and more. To supplement—and, importantly, to humanize—the comprehensive documentary evidence, the editors draw on an extensive series of interviews with survivors of the Nazi persecution, who present gripping first-person accounts of the innovation, subterfuge, resilience, and luck required to negotiate the increasing brutality of the regime.
A stunning reconstruction of a storied community as it faced destruction, Jews in Nazi Berlin renders that loss with a startling immediacy that will make it an essential part of our continuing attempts to understand World War II and the Holocaust.