2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Life in a warzone/under occupation authentically reported.,
This review is from: Scroll of Agony: the Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. Kaplan; Translated [From the Hebrew] and Edited by Abraham I. Katsh (Hardcover)
I was born in 1961, and I have never lived in a warzone or under occupation, and it is easy to guess how warzones and occupation are both horrible to live under, but it is difficult to learn how horrible they are-to volunteer for such an experience would be called masochism in this materialistic and irreligious society. Kierkegaard said 'life is lived forward but understood backwards' this book is life at it's worst, lived forward and understood forward and it is honest and unremitting.
The diary runs for just under three years, from Sept 1939-Aug1942. The first entry beams with optimism-of course the allied powers will rescue us, of course we will defend ourselves. But neither happens, the Nazis run through Polish government and military like knives thorugh soft butter, and the process of civil persecution starts small but grows rapidly. From banning jewsish businesses and trades, to restricting freedom of movement, to outright demands for bribery by individual guards for small releases from absolute tyranny, and then finally with three sides of the ghetto walls erected and jews dying indiscriminately on the streets the jews are shipped off to the death camps as the fourth wall of the ghetto is erected, and the ghetto becomes a tomb for the living. It is notable how tight and quickly put up the nazi news cordon is, very little news of The Allies' activities gets through. When the author writes an entry he has hope. When he misses days he implicitly loses hope, life would better unlived, unexamined. Each diary entry represents an examination of a day. The author's courage in writing this diary astoinished me. There is a level of gallows humour which leavens the text, for instance when Poles suffer rather then Jews and jews can watch, in the earlier part of the book. But the leavening is not much.
I read my copy care of my local library, I doubt I could afford the book proper and the title was reccomended in sunday newspaper interview with Stephen Berkoff. I am glad I read it and for anyone seeking truth about war reading this is the next best thing to living in a war zone or under occupation.Reccomended reading.
Scroll of Agony: the Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. Kaplan; Translated [From the Hebrew] and Edited by Abraham I. Katsh(1 customer review)
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