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Shielding the Flame: Intimate Conversation with Dr.Marek Edelman, the Last Surviving Leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising [Hardcover]

Hanna Krall , J. Stasinska , L. Weschler


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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class account of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during WWII 14 April 2008
By Eugene Tenenbaum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is the same as "To Outwit God" (an accurate translation of the original) included in the volumes under ISBN-10: 0810110504 and ISBN-10: 081011075X. It is a first class account of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - a very small Jewish resistance against the Nazis at the time of the Holocaust during the Second World War - from its only surviving commander. There is no better information on the subject. The account was well written and reads smoothly, but the subject is... death. A literal translation of the title is "To Keep Pace Ahead of God" and refers to doing something with yourself before God will (in the face of deportation to the death camp in Treblinka), dying on own terms, choosing the way and moment of dying, dying like a human being (with arms in hand), etc. Regrettably, it was not translated accurately.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncompromising 31 Dec 2001
By Michael Eberstadt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a beautiful book that must be read over and over during different times in one's life. It is uncompromising and honest. It is about people, not characters. It will deliver as much as the reader is willing to receive.
5.0 out of 5 stars Stream of Consciousness Narration 25 May 2014
By PDI - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a first person narrative concerning the author's experience in Warsaw during WW11. It is somewhat incoherent because it is a recording of an interview taken over time. Still an interesting read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe I am biased.... 23 April 2013
By Emi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Maybe I am biased, but I think everybody should read this book. I had the privilege of listening to Mark Edelman speak about Jewish Uprising in Warsaw, and his matter - a - fact recollection of those tragic events was a read food for thought
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative Reflections on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Aftermath 19 July 2009
By Jan Peczkis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Krall's interview with Marek Edelman begins with how Poles and Jews have ignored each other's situation since WWII. However, she creates a symmetry that never existed. Polish books were never as strongly Polonocentric as Jewish books are Judeocentric. For example, history books written under Communism did individualize the Jews as victims, not merely "Polish citizens". On the other hand, Polish suffering is invisible in the vast majority of educational and popular Holocaust materials. [Perhaps the real objection is the fact that Polish books did not promote the notion that Jewish suffering was special, and above that of other peoples.]

The mother of ZOB leader Mordechai Anielewicz was a peddler who sold fish. She, or her son, would paint the gills of leftover fish with red coloring so that the fish would look fresh. (p. 4, 11, 14). This practice is also mentioned in other books, and one cannot help but wonder if it did not contribute to the notion of Jewish merchants being swindlers.

A large part of the reason for the Polish Underground being unwilling to support the ZOB more substantially owed to its taint of Communism. Though some ZOB leaders have tried to deny this, it does come through. Marek Edelman mentioned singing the Internationale on May Day during the Uprising. (pp. 71-72, 92). Jurek Wilner, another prominent ZOB member, tried to teach a nun about Marx while she was trying to teach him about God. (pp. 98-99).

Seldom-told details of the Uprising are told. For instance, the planners of the Uprising had not foreseen that the Germans would start massive fires as part of their strategy for quelling the Uprising. (p. 66). This, of course, greatly reduced the effectiveness of the elaborate shelters and hideouts that had been constructed. Furthermore, the Germans had sound-detection equipment to help locate hiding Jews. (p. 92).

AK (Polish Home Army) Zbigniew Mlynarski "Kret" and his group tried to aid the Uprising externally by exploding a hole in the ghetto wall so that the Jews could flee the ghetto en masse. (pp. 96-97). Unfortunately, they could not get close enough to the wall before they were thrown back with heavy casualties. Earlier, the BBC had delayed its reporting about the daily deportation of Jews to Treblinka not out of malevolence towards Jews, but because it would at first not believe the reports, and wanted confirmation from other sources. (p. 195).

After the war, Edelman became a cardiologist, and part of his conversation with Krall focuses on medical issues. Observations in the ghetto had included the course of starvation in humans. Interestingly, most of the organs shrank during the process, but the brain did not. The need to treat penetrating chest wounds during the war eventually led to the development of open-heart surgery after the war.
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