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City of Life, City of Death: Memories of Riga 2nd Edition

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0870817885
ISBN-10: 0870817884
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"With each memoir by a survivor, Riga's tragic fate becomes better known. Thus Max Michelson's book, filled with poignant and moving episodes, deserves to be read by anyone wishing to learn more about the life and death of a Jewish community which included the great historian Shimon Dubnov. But it is also a story of courage and rebirth of a young man who wants to find meaning in his survival."
Elie Wiesel

About the Author

Max Michelson, a retired engineer, is married and lives in Framingham, Massachusetts. With his wife Julia, he has raised two sons, and Michelson regards his three grandchildren as the best thing that has ever happened to him.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Colorado; 2 edition (September 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870817884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870817885
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,304,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Edward M. Janes on March 18, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"City of Life, City of Death" by Max Michelson (Sept 2004) is a dichotomous accounting of life in Riga, Latvia. The author, a survivor of the Riga Ghetto (and Kaiserwald, Stutthof and Magdeburg concentration camps) essentially divides his book into two phases; life before and after the Nazi invasion of the Baltics and Soviet Russia (June, 1941).

Michelson draws in and endears the reader to his parents, cousins and friends painting a near idyllic picture of the pre-war lifestyle they enjoyed in their upper-middle class existence. This deep familiarization makes the sudden changes that occurred all the more stark and shocking; their dreams for life shattered and unbelievably replaced with a doomed race for survival.

Written in a crisp and often dispassionate style, this study bears witness to unspeakable crimes and atrocities visited upon the Jews of Riga; an important contribution to Holocaust literature and documentation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found out about this book only because a Google search for something completely different listed a portion of a sentence with my father's name in it. I clicked on that link and discovered that my father was mentioned in this book.

I purchased this book and was fascinated to learn that the author and my father followed similar paths leading up to the war, and almost the identical path during the war. It seems as if they were in the same camps at the same times, working the same work details, and even came to the US on the same ship. They even had the same lifelong hangup: refusal to eat potato skins.

The writing style is conversational, with all that implies: easy to read, narrative, thoughts jump around a bit just as you would expect from a person telling his own story.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about Jewish life in Riga about 1925 to 1945.
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