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Words to Outlive Us: Eyewitness Accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto Paperback – 22 Jul 2004

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (22 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 186207660X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862076600
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,451,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'An extraordinary collection of eyewitness accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto' -- Observer

'An extraordinary collection of eyewitness accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto...' -- Ian Thomson, Observer

'These stories exist because the writers needed to prove to themselves that what they were witnessing was true’ -- Michael Glover, Financial Times

‘A gift of collective memory, a poignant document of life and death' -- Sunday Times

‘A gift of collective memory, a poignant document of life and death...Fastidiously edited and well translated’ -- Sunday-Times

‘A monumental work of record as well as a shocking indictment of humanity. Essential reading’ -- Times Educational Supplement

‘A monumental work of record as well as a shocking indictment of humanity...Essential reading’ -- Times Educational Supplement

‘A unique, chilling and valuable collection…voices not just from history but from beyond the graves of those who suffered’ -- Contemporary Review

‘Groundbreaking book...these are the words that cry out to be read and remembered’ -- Good Book Guide

‘You certainly won’t read a more harrowing book this year...Grynberg has produced a superb work of history.' -- RTE Guide

About the Author

The late Michal Grynberg, a noted Polish scholar of the Holocaust, devoted decades of his life to compiling and publishing firsthand accounts from ghettos throughout Poland. Philip Boehm is a playwright, theatre director, and author of numerous translations from Polish and German.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Thie book collects together letters written by Jews in Warsaw from the coming of the Nazis and throughout the life of the warsaw ghetto. It serves as a chilling testament (much like Anne Frank's Diary) to the awful pitiless treatment of ordinary people, young, old, women, boys, girls, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters. Ordinary lives suddenly wrenched apart on a systematic scale. How can we forget? By not reading books like this.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For people who want to understand the Holocaust 17 April 2003
By Hau LP - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I read this book after I watched the movie "The Pianist". The true accounts in this book shocked and moved me. By combining with the visual impact from the movie, I am able to relate what I read with what I watched from the movie. After reading the book, I admired the courage, the-will-to-survive, and the brilliance of the Jewish people. I suggest to people who are interested to know what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto, but who has no such background on the holocaust, watched the movie first, then read this book. It is not a dry history book. The acccounts were written by people who have superb writing skill, though they might not know themselves.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How some fought back and why others could or would not 3 May 2003
By John L Murphy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
So often, we read accounts of the Shoah afer the fact. Not to diminish their power, but primary testimony as the events happened, understandably a rarer extant survival, speaks directly and eloquently with a visceral power. The accounts here, by a cross-section of thoughtful, self-deprecating, agonized, and bewildered observers, show why those in the ghetto were so diminished and demoralized.
Years of abuse, mental and physical, years of starving and disease and uncertainty wreaked havoc on the Jews in Warsaw. Reading these accounts, you understand how awful were the limited choices between giving in and holding out could both be. Also, what here emerges more fully is the extent to which Jews were exploited with the hopes of work permits, resettlement, visas, and hush money by informers, turncoats, bosses, and those willing or forced to collaborate. The constant anxiety underscores the bodily suffering of the ghetto's inhabitants.
Revealed here are the predicaments hundreds of thousands of people like you and me faced, nearly half-a-million crowded into an area the size of Central Park. What often has been distorted into kitsch or melodrama in later re-creations in its original context remains unforgettably eloquent.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important work, drawn from eyewitness testimonies 24 Jan. 2012
By Z Hayes - Published on
Format: Paperback
As the years pass, fewer survivors remain from the period of horror that was the Holocaust. It is all the more important to preserve as much as possible of accounts of this period. One of the biggest concentration of Jews in Europe during WW II was in the Warsaw Ghetto, where hundreds of thousands of Jews were confined within the boundaries of a deliberately sealed-off section of the city. Though the ghetto was eventually razed (most of its occupants had been deported, mainly to the extermination camp at Treblinka; fewer still had managed to escape; and many brave souls had perished while fighting the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising), evidence of the ghetto's existence and of what had occurred there was found among the rubble, thanks to the efforts of Emanuel Ringelblum, historian of the Warsaw Ghetto. Ringelblum had overseen the project called Oneg Shabbat which served to document the happenings in the ghetto, and of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis (Ringelblum and his family were executed by the Nazis sometime in 1944).

This book is not a reproduction of Ringelblum's Warsaw ghetto archives, but but a compilation of testimonies by twenty-nine eyewitnesses who had been Jews living either in the ghetto during the course of the war, or who had been hiding on the Aryan side of Warsaw. Nine of the accounts were written by women; five were written by members of the Jewish Police that oversaw other Jews in the ghetto (many of whom were not looked upon too kindly by their fellow Jews on account of the job they did); the eyewitnesses came from a wide variety of professions (doctors, shopkeepers), and the ages of the eyewitnesses range from eleven years of age to forty-five, so readers get insights from diverse perspectives. The fate of a few of these diarists are known, but the fate of many others remains a mystery, presumably dead.

The accounts are organized in a chronological manner, from the beginnings of the ghetto (built using Jewish labor and Jewish funds); ghetto institutions; roundups, selections, deportations; passive and active resistance inside the ghetto; on the other side of the wall; and, liberation. This is followed by notes on the chapters; a glossary; biographies of the writers; and, an index.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Holocaust Reading 24 Nov. 2007
By Vellum C. Page - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THe breadth of these first-person journal entries is awesome and profound. These are real voices from the Warsaw Ghetto. They truly are Words to outlive us. I have been lately somewhat obsessed with the tragedy of the Warsaw Ghetto. I have read several books about the time, and the plight of the Jews there. This one gives such powerful details, organized around around different subjects. These are the words of the people who lived it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holocaust accounts 26 April 2010
By asiana - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wonder what these people would have become if they had had the opportunity to live? Makes one very reflective.
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