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