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Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family's Correspondence from Poland Hardcover – October 15, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (October 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521882745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521882743
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.3 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,353,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Sustained personal documentation from those who lived and died in the Holocaust is rare. That makes this collection of letters a precious gift to historians. Written from November 1939 to December 1942, the letters collected here are from nine members of the Hollander family in the Kraków ghetto to Joseph Hollander, who had emigrated to the U.S. in 1939. Discovered by Joseph's son Richard in 1986, these vibrant letters—written in German and Polish—are helped enormously by an essay by the younger Hollander about his father's life and relationship to his family. From Joseph's 74-year-old mother wondering Can I still hope to take you in my arms? to his brother-in-law Salo's worry that the mail is not coming through, the letters evoke intense feeling, as we know that almost all of the correspondents died in the Holocaust. That many of these letters—co-edited and put into historical context by Browning and Tec, two leading Holocaust scholars—do not mention the increasingly dangerous political situation in Kraków but rather dwell on personal matters makes them all the more moving. (Nov. 5)
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Review

STARRED REVIEW
"Sustained personal documentation from those who lived and died in the Holocaust is rare. That makes this collection of letters a precious gift to historians."
Publisher's Weekly

"Browning and Nechama Tec offer a historical context, and Hollander tells how his family found strength through letters. This is an important human and literary document of a family facing the Holocaust."
Booklist

"Anyone interested in the Holocaust should read this powerful book, an inimitable, personal look inside the eve of 'all of the cruelty, mischief, evil, unhappiness, destruction and misery brought by them [the Nazis] on so many millions in the whole world' (35). Few documents written by the victims themselves survive today. Every Day Lasts a Year gives these victims a resounding voice." -Weny A. Maier-Sarti

"Readers of M&R will find Every Day Lasts a Year touching, and exceptionally real. Put simply, the letters speak directly to us, reminding us of lives and hopes that once were..." -Dr. Diane Cypkin, Martydom & Resistance

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Customer Reviews

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Essays supplement the collection of letters.
Mary E. Sibley
This book is a collection of letters sent from a Jewish family in Poland to one of their own who managed to escape Poland on the eve of the German invasion.
Nadyne Richmond
This book is recommended reading for those who would like a better understanding of immigration history.
R. DelParto

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In 1986 while going through the possessions of his parents who had recently died in an automobile accident, Richard Hollander discovered a briefcase that contained dozens of letters neatly arranged and held together with rubber bands. They were all addresssed to his father Joseph Hollander and had large hand-stamped Nazi imprints on them. He knew immediately what he had discovered: the correspondence of his grandmother and other family members from Poland who had perished in the Holocaust. This was the family he had never known, the family that his father had never talked about. At first Mr. Hollander did nothing with the letters. Eventually, however, he had them translated from Polish and German into English. They are published here twenty years later in EVERY DAY LASTS A YEAR: A JEWISH FAMILY'S CORRESPONDENCE FROM POLAND, a quotation taken from Hollander's beloved mother Berta in her May 26, 1941 letter to him.

In addition to the letters which make up the heart of this sad, moving book, Richard Hollander has written a chapter about his father Joseph who arrived at Ellis Island on December 6, 1939 and covers in detail his legal battles to avoid deportation back to Poland. His fight included appeals to the highest echelons of the United States government with a letter to Eleanor Roosevelt intreating the First Lady to intercede for him, his wife and a young lad Arnold who had arrived with them in America.
Christopher Browning in a chapter entitled "The Fate of the Jews of Cracow under Nazi Occupation" and Nechama Tec in "Through the Eyes of the Oppressed" provide valuable information about the conditions that existed in Cracow, Poland when Joseph Hollander's family wrote these letters from November, 1939 to December, 1941.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By F. S. L'hoir VINE VOICE on November 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is difficult to read "Joseph's Story," the first chapter of "Every Day Lasts a Year," without being moved to tears. Richard S. Hollander's riveting narrative of his father's escape from the Nazis and eventual imprisonment (with his wife and a refugee child) by heartless INS officials on Ellis Island is also impossible to put down. One can feel only shame for the United States' immigration policies of 1939 which turned a blind eye to the plight of Jewish refugees in their desperate attempts to flee a Europe that was already in flames.

Christopher Browning's account of the Jews of Cracow and Nechama Tec's analysis of the letters, which Mr. Hollander found in a suitcase in the attic after his parents' tragic death, are also of great interest. As for the letters themselves, although they are of deep personal significance to the family, because of the censorship of the Nazi oppressors, they have to be read "between the lines." Without the analysis, they give us only a glimpse of the increasingly frustrated hopes of the writers to escape what the reader knows is their inevitable fate. One perceives the noose tightening only by omission in what becomes a catalogue of instructions first, not to send packages and next, thanks for received parcels of coffee and tea, measured out by the decagram. It is as if the repetition of "nothing to write today" and the profusions of "affectionate kisses" stand in juxtaposition to an evil that for the reader remains unseen, and for the writer remains unspeakable.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert D. Harmon VINE VOICE on November 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
To a historian, the best source is a first-hand account, and in Joseph Hollander's trove of letters, written by family members lost in the Holocaust, is a new and valuable addition to the history of that war. Moreover, this book gives voice to people - to an entire people - the Nazis had sought to remove from all memory. That their words survive is enough: it makes this book a value.

This book is more than a collection of letters from the Krakow ghetto; the editors have thoughtfully provided three essays. One is a thoughtful introduction by Richard Hollander, Joseph's son, about his father's precarious arrival in the U.S.A. and attempts to free his family. The other editors wrote two well-footnoted essays on the fate of the Jews of Krakow, and on the fate - and surviving sources - of other Jews there. They are helpful to future historians, quite consciously so.

Richard Hollander's essay perhaps should have been footnoted as well, but no matter: he makes enough reference to the INS and other records of the time, and Joseph Hollander was enough of a cause celebre in immigration court that historians should have little trouble finding his record.

It's also helpful that Joseph Hollander had the foresight, and his son the wisdom, to keep all the other paperwork of his day-to-day life at that time: receipts, photographs, passports, financial records, and so forth. Richard Hollander was able to put the letters into this context, and it enriches his own account.

The essays are lucid and helpful; the correspondence is well translated and poignant - and the editors have helpfully annotated them. Though the letter-writers had to be circumspect, even cryptic, in their letters through the Nazi mails, the editors have helped us understand.

Not to be missed, by those interested in the fate of Europe's Jews, or that dark period in general, or in original works of history.
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