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On 16 November 1940, the Nazis sealed off a large section of central Warsaw, where they compelled all the Jews of the Polish capital to live. Over 400,000 people were cut off from the outside world in the ghetto, among them a 47-year-old school teacher who kept a record of the terrible events and conditions. Part of Abraham Lewin's diary, covering the period from April 1942 to January 1943, was found hidden in a milk churn after the war and is now published in English for the first time. This document, fit to rank with the accounts of Anne Frank and of Emanuel Ringelblum, is especially illuminating on how far the Jews were aware of their possible fate and on how they reacted to the threat of deportation to the death camps. Antony Polonsky's introduction and notes place the events in the history of the Warsaw Ghetto and the fate of Polish Jewry as a whole, and demonstrate how Lewin's diary is an important contribution to the knowledge of the Holocaust.
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Text: English (translation)From Publishers Weekly:
A secondary-school teacher born to Hasidic parents, Lewin helped build and maintain the underground archives in the Warsaw ghetto and is presumed to have died just before or during the tragic ghetto uprising. His diary, translated into English for the first time, is a powerful and important document that rings with the moral force and literary skill of an Old Testament prophet. The sections preserved cover only the period from April 1942 to January 1943, but Lewin hears all, sees all, records all: the starvation and disease, the desperate grasping for signs of hope; the cooperation among Poles and Jews; the children smuggling food; the slaughter of Jews in surrounding communities and then in the sealed-off Warsaw ghetto; the daily deportations to the Treblinka death camp (which took his wife from him). Lewin's absolute clarity of vision gives this grim document compelling power.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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