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Children of a Vanished World Hardcover – October 25, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 156 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1st edition (October 25, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520221877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520221871
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 9.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A happy, and therefore bittersweet, glimpse of an altogether more innocent world." -- Denver Post holiday photography book roundup, 11/28

"A lovely book, and one that elicits poignantly mixed feelings...the portraits in this book are so vivid, so communicative, so utterly unmasked as to call for some reciprocal gesture of response." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Seventy magnificent photos...they break your heart, knowing how many of these smiling faces must have perished in the Holocaust." -- New York Post

"Such a haunting record of life before Nazism is exceedingly rare, and to be treasured." -- Independent on Sunday (UK)

"That rare glimpse into a disappearing time." -- Dallas Morning News

"The gentle moments Vishniac's camera captured are haunting." -- Columbus Dispatch

From the Inside Flap

"Vishniac came back from his trips to Eastern Europe in the 1930s with a collection of photographs that has become an important historical document, for it gives a last-minute look at the human beings he photographed just before the fury of Nazi brutality exterminated them. Vishniac took with him on this self-imposed assignment—besides this or that kind of camera and film—a rare depth of understanding and a native son's warmth and love for his people. The resulting photographs are among photography's finest documents of a time and place."—Edward Steichen

"Not to forget, not to allow oblivion to defeat memory: That is his obsession. Defying all dangers, surmounting all obstacles, he travels from province to province, from village to village, capturing slums and markets, a gesture here, a movement there, reflections of hope and despair, so that the victims will not wholly vanish into the abyss—so that they will live on, past torture and past massacre. And he has won the wager: They live still."—Elie Wiesel

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Richard Gotshall on October 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In a haunting collection of black-and-white photographs, Roman Vishniac records the lives of Jewish children in Eastern Europe in the early part of the century, before the start of the Holocaust. The text is a series of children's songs (in Hebrew with English translation), which are touching and show how much children are alike whether they're from one side of the world or another. But the shadow of the Holocaust, while never shown, shades readers' appreciation of the images. This is a book I will not soon forget.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Shlomo Pestcoe on July 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a powerful book. In its pages we find starkly beautiful black and white photographs of children laughing, crying, playing, studying, working, in the course of their daily life... unaware of the horrific nightmare that will overtake them soon and destroy their world.
The children's eyes look at you with all the innocent curiousity and wonder of eternal, universal childhood. You look again and apprehension grips you: in a few short years after being photographed, the future of many of these children will be brutally terminated in an unmarked mass grave or a crematorium. The poignancy of this harsh reality is driven home when you read editor Mara Vishniac Kohn's dramatic description of her father's desperate, futile efforts to use his photographs as a means of arousing the conscience of the world and inspiring action to save these children and their families. We learn that Roman Vishniac sent these photos to the White House, only to recieve a perfunctory note thanking him for "the excellent pictures you sent the President."
I must express my heartfelt compliments and appreciation to the editors, Mara Vishniac Kohn and Miriam Hartman Flacks, for the way in which they have presented these precious images-- accompanying them with the lyrics of appropriate Yiddish children's songs, in the original Yiddish and English transliteration and translation, rather than the standard dry caption text. I am especially grateful to the editors for including the music and annotation for these wonderful songs.
This book belongs in every home and library.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Gannon on June 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book moved me a great deal. The black and white images convey such innocence in the children. The simplicity of the beautifully produced photographs juxtaposed with children's songs and rhymes (in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English) gives the impression of viewing the images in a gallery. The photographs, the narrative, and the publication itself are of very fine quality. And the message is unforgettable.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Patrick H on May 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am an amateur photographer. 90% of good photography is in finding the right subject. These photos are stirring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dep on May 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Children of a Vanished World has to be one of the most moving books I have ever read. So many wonderful pictures of so many beautiful children. The sweetness and innocence of the children was so apparent. When you include the music and lullabies, this book is truly about a world of children. Sadly, that world is gone, probably with most of the people in the photographs. I am so very glad I had the opportunity to read this book and would highly recommend reading it. I am also going to try and play the music on the piano, since I do play piano. Very well worth buying this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dean Philips on June 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This beautiful, quiet, luminous set of photographs provides a window on the Jewish world of prewar Eastern Europe through images of children from that era. Roman Vishniac captures many candid scenes of daily life and work for these children and their families. Look closely at their faces: you may be reminded of your grandparents' and great grandparents' photos from this period; but with a depth and sense of place not found in studio photographs. In its historical context, haunting and memorable. For the right person, a memorable gift, and worth owning yourself. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Photographer Roman Vishniac has made a significant contribution in these collection of photographs of a lost era - between 1935 and 1938, Vishniac travelled the cities and villages in Eastern Europe, taking pictures of children in the Jewish communities of Poland, Romania, Russia, and Hungary. Little did those children know that the shadow of death loomed over them, as Hitler and the Nazis were becoming ever more powerful, and anti-semitism was about to become more prevalent, on a scale that no one could have imagined possible.

These pictures are so precious - they tell a story of childhood and innocence, of happy times, of children being children, before they were robbed of all their happiness, security and innocence. The compelling portraits are accompanied by selected nursery rhymes, songs, poems and chants for children's games, both in Yiddish and in English translation. This is an important piece of documentation for we all know the fate of most of the Jewish communities in eastern Europe during WW II. I can't help but wonder at the eventual fates of these children, but at least the photographs in this book stand as a testament to the rich lives they once led, filled with hope and possibility.
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