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A Cup of Tears: A Diary of the Warsaw Ghetto [Paperback]

Abraham Lewin , Antony Polonsky , C. Austin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 April 1990
Part of the diary of Abraham Lewin, a 47-year-old school teacher who kept a record of the events in Warsaw from 1941 to 1943 which compelled Jews to live in a ghetto. It documents how far the Jews were aware of their fate and how they reacted to the threat of deportation to the death camps.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Fontana Press; New edition edition (26 April 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006375707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006375708
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,167,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
In November 1940, the Nazis sealed off the Warsaw Ghetto. Among the 400 000 Jews were incarcerated in the hell of the Warsaw Ghetto was 47 year old schoolteacher Abraham Lewin, whose diary chronicles the suffering, sickness, starvation, brutality and death in the Warsaw Ghetto, and the genocide of nearly all of it's 400 000 people by the Nazis.
Particularly heartrending is the fate of children under the Nazi terror. Many murders of children and young people are recounted here, as well as the strvation of Jewish children in the ghetto , their bodies swollen with starvation, crying for food. We read of such heartbreaking incidents such as the arrest of a prettily dressed ten year old girl as she cried "Mr Policeman".
The author's own young daughter, who was taken to her death by the Nazis , was a member of the Zionist youth group Hashomer Hatzair, which was to play a large role in the resistance against Nazi rule during the Warsaw Ghetto uprisings.
Hitler's threats to anihilate the Jews are mirrored by those of Iranian modern day Hitler Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Islamo-Nazi regime, Hamas and Hezbollah. What begins with the Jews does not however end with the Jews- that the Nazis would go on to murder Gypsies, Poles, Czechs, Serbs, Russians and many others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
A Cup of tears. Diary of Warsaw Ghetto - Brilliant and moving and well written. Told me exactly what I wanted to know - felt as though I was there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A complete story of a fmily in the Warsaw ghetto 27 Mar 2014
By Tahnna
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Among all the testimonies about life in the Warsaw ghetto, this one is interesting too.It describes the history over a few years, is complete. even if it is not known, it is interesting to read this book.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incisive Diary Clarifies Many Holocaust-Related Misconceptions 7 Sep 2007
By Jan Peczkis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Abraham Lewin kept a diary from early 1942 through early 1943. He focused on the mass deportation of Warsaw's Jews to their deaths at Treblinka in mid-late 1942.

Lewin elaborates on the cooperation of Poles and Jews in the smuggling of food and other items into the Warsaw Ghetto, including the habit of the Polish Blue Police (Policja Granatowa) turning a blind eye to such smuggling (p. 62). He sided with those Jews who believed that Polish-Jewish relations had improved as a result of their common suffering (pp. 123-124). And, although Lewin mentions some examples of Poles denouncing fugitive Jews, he later makes it clear that Poles were not responsible for the roundup and extermination of Jews. For example: "Twenty Ukrainians, Jewish policemen (a few dozen) and a small number of Germans lead a crowd of 3,000 Jews to the slaughter." (p. 151).

In common with some other chroniclers, Lewin reserves his harshest criticism for the collaborationist Jewish ghetto police. For example: "Russian pogromists would have been unable to make a more thorough and shattering pogrom than that carried out by the Jewish police." (p. 160). "Today, the Jewish police carried out the `action' with savage brutality. They simply ran riot." (p. 164).

Some recent Holocaust materials have included the totally preposterous suggestion that the Poles somehow consented to the extermination of the Jews on their soil, or that Polish protests may have saved the Jews. In actuality, the Germans had not the slightest concern about the wishes of the Polish untermenschen. A protest was a form of suicide, as Lewin relates: "A Christian woman on Leszno Street, seeing the wagons with those who have been rounded up, curses the Germans. She presents her chest and is shot. On Nowy Swiat, a Christian woman stands defiantly, kneels on the pavement and prays to God to turn his sword against the executioners--she had seen how a gendarme killed a Jewish boy." (p. 141)

Although Jews and Poles may have been "unequal victims", Lewin doesn't neglect the latter: "Let us not forget: the Poles are in second place in the table of tragic losses among the nations, just behind the Jews. They have given, after us, the greatest number of victims to the Gestapo, and this does not take into account the destruction of the country." (p. 124). "Jewish and Polish blood is spilled, it mingles together and, crying to the heavens, it demands revenge!" (p. 125).

Lewin mentions the German "action" against the rural Poles in the Zamosc region (p. 227), and comments: "In fact, there are reports of unrest and turmoil among the Poles over the mass-expulsions of Poles in the Zamosc area." (p. 233). Lewin had no illusions as to what the Germans were capable of: "They began with us and will finish with other peoples: Poles, Czechs, Serbs and many others." (p. 239).

In the 19th century, Polish mystic Andrzej Towianski thought of the Polish people as the "Jesus Christ of Nations", whose sufferings would save the world (p. 264). But Poles were not alone in such musings. Interestingly, Lewin wrote of his entertaining of Towianski-like thoughts about the Jewish people (p. 117).
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A window into the genocide and misery of the Warsaw Ghetto 21 April 2008
By Gary Selikow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In November 1940, the Nazis sealed off the Warsaw Ghetto. Among the 400 000 Jews were incarcerated in the hell of the Warsaw Ghetto was 47 year old schoolteacher Abraham Lewin, whose diary chronicles the suffering, sickness, starvation, brutality and death in the Warsaw Ghetto, and the genocide of nearly all of it's 400 000 people by the Nazis.
Particularly heartrending is the fate of children under the Nazi terror. Many murders of children and young people are recounted here, as well as the strvation of Jewish children in the ghetto , their bodies swollen with starvation, crying for food. We read of such heartbreaking incidents such as the arrest of a prettily dressed ten year old girl as she cried "Mr Policeman".
The author's own young daughter, who was taken to her death by the Nazis , was a member of the Zionist youth group Hashomer Hatzair, which was to play a large role in the resistance against Nazi rule during the Warsaw Ghetto uprisings.
Hitler's threats to anihilate the Jews are mirrored by those of Iranian modern day Hitler Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Islamo-Nazi regime, Hamas and Hezbollah. What begins with the Jews does not however end with the Jews- that the Nazis would go on to murder Gypsies, Poles, Czechs, Serbs, Russians and many others.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Testament to “a Swollen Sea of Misfortune and Jewish Blood” 11 Nov 2013
By Daniel L. Berek - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Holocaust diaries are, without exception, very difficult reading. Among these painful eyewitness accounts, one of the most searing than that of Abraham Lewin, a former school teacher. Both in his academic background and quality of writing, Lewin bears comparison with fellow Warsaw Ghetto diarist Chaim Kaplan, a one-time principal of a Hebrew school in Warsaw until his academy was shut down and banned by the Nazis and Kaplan banished to that city's notorious Ghetto. Both men took it upon themselves to record everything they saw, heard, and knew, that is, to bear witness. Unlike Kaplan, however, Lewin rarely mentioned his reasons for writing. The most likely reason was Kaplan kept a diary, while Lewin was a journalist for Emmanuel Ringelblum’s Oyneg Shabbes underground activity. “In these tragic times, whenever several Jews gather together and each recounts just a part of what he has heard and seen, it becomes a part of what he has heard or seen, it becomes a mountain or a swollen sea of misfortune and Jewish blood. Jewish blood, pure and simple. We gather every Sabbath, a group of activists in the Jewish community, to discuss our diaries and writings. We want our sufferings, these ‘birth pangs of the Messiah,’ to be impressed upon the memories of future generations and on the memory of the whole world,” recounted Lewin on June 6, 1940.
The first part of Abraham Lewin’s work was in Yiddish.

The second part is a stark recounting of the Great Deportation of 1942; for this section, he used the more formal Hebrew. In great detail, Lewin chronicled the shrinking of the Ghetto, both in physical size and population, the latter due both to the relentless transports to Treblinka and from starvation, disease, and Nazi cruelty within the Ghetto walls, which were ever-tightening, like a noose around the survivors. His writings take on a tone of extreme bitterness after losing his beloved wife and daughter. Abraham Lewin managed to survive longer than most others, but his writings end abruptly on Saturday, January 16, 1943. Accompanied by a eulogy given on September 13, 1941 (itself a short document of exceptional poignancy), Lewin’s writings emerged from one of the two milk cans of the Ringelblum archive, offering readers an exceptionally important and well-detailed (and beautifully written) eyewitness account of those terrible and terrifying years of the horror that was the Warsaw Ghetto.
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