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Jewish Roots in Poland: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories Hardcover – June, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

Jewish Roots in Poland: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories, by Miriam Weiner, is a big and beautiful book, in more ways than one. It is illustrated with hundreds of antique and contemporary photographs of Polish cities and towns; and the depth and scope of its genealogical resource lists will help many Jews find amazing truths about their heritage. It's estimated that upwards of 75 percent of American Jews can trace at least one grandparent to Poland as it was defined before the Nazi invasion of 1939. Their search for roots will be inestimably assisted by Weiner's guide to extant documents such as tax rolls and Jewish community records. This book makes no pretense to being a literary triumph, but its practical usefulness makes Jewish Roots in Poland a poignant tribute to the ancestors of today's Diaspora--which means it is also, effectively, an invaluable tool for charting Jewish people's future. --Michael Joseph Gross


Archives of Innocence
For centuries until the Nazis, Poland was the heart of Jewish life in Europe. More than 75 percent of American Jews, it is estimated, can trace at least one grandparent to somewhere in Poland as it existed before the German onslaught of 1939. Poland's Jews bore the brunt of the Holocaust. But a significant part of their history has survived in municipal and Jewish archives. Jewish Roots In Poland: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories (Roots to Roots Foundation / YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, $50), by Miriam Weiner, a co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy, offers an authoritative guide to what records still exist and where they can be found. A town-by-town index to archives shows, for example, that in Lublin tax rolls go back to 1716 and Jewish community records to 1775. But there is far more than archival listings. There are hundreds of poignant photographs and old tinted postcards of scenes from the early years of the century, panoramas of aching nostalgia, given what we know about what was to come. A 1916 picture of a town square in Oswiecim, near what was to become the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, serves as a reminder that before such places became synonyms for horror, they were just places, with streets where people shopped and children played. -- NY Times Review 4/05/98

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 446 pages
  • Publisher: Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots; 1st edition (June 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965650804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965650809
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By on January 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Jewish Roots In Poland is an incredible masterpiece, full of invaluable information and experiences for both the researcher in the quest for roots and the ordinary reader who wants to visit those roots. It has the careful and elaborate detail necessary for serious research and the beautifully rich illustration necessary for serious visualization and enjoyment. A portion of the book is devoted to explaining and listing exactly what material is available for the genealogist (professional or amateur) who is looking for family. Ms Weiner not only tells what is available and where it is located, but also details exactly how to access it. She has the help of those very experts who are in charge of the archives for these explanations. There are, in addition, illustrations of every kind of record that is available. This in itself - the consideration of the kinds of records that were kept and the various ways of keeping them - is a fascinating dimension. Another substantial segmented is devoted to the uniquest of travel literature. There are a number of pages devoted to each of the 28 cities now within the Polish border that had a pre-Holocaust population of 10,000 or more. For each city there is a remarkable collection of photographs: the city before the Holocaust and now, its synagogue(s), its cemeterie(s), its holocaust memorial. For each there is also a bibliography. The archival holdings in Poland are indexed by town and by repository. The contribution of a number of experts in the field enriches the text, and from beginning to end Ms Weiner's collection of photographs enriches the page. Marching up and down the outer edge of the appendix pages are more towns, cemeteries, archives and synagogues. This is a gift to the Jewish community - worth many times its price.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 20, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I just received the newly published book by Miriam Weiner, "Jewish Roots in Poland - Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories."
Upfront, I must say I am an unabashed admirer of Miriam Weiner, since before she "found" four generations of my KUSHNER family going back to the mid eighteenth century in Podolia. I had look forward to the publication of this book for a long time, expecting it to be something special because I know, from experience, just how amazing Miriam's level of detail can be. But, I honestly had no idea how wonderful and valuable the book would be in actuality. It is overwhelming.
First off, this is an incredible book for Poland researchers, wishing to retrieve archival documents for their ancestors who lived in Polish towns and cities. It lists, archive by archive, all the known archival holdings (of genealogical significance) - by type and time period, for each Polish town.

In addition, it offers a wonderful pictorial view of Jewish Poland at both the beginning and end of the 20th century. Especially fascinating were photos of the same place taken "now" and "then."

Even if one never visits an archive or intends to visit an archive, this book is a treasure! " After the first glance, it will probably not be relegated to the genealogy resource shelf of your library; more probably will spend time on the coffee table as well.The artistic detail and printing are exquisite
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sukasz on July 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a most important connection to lost history. For many of us, the premature death of our loved ones has left many things and memories unsaid. This is a bridge to times and places we need to know about.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is a unique book that must be read by anyone interested in Jewish life in Poland before the Holocaust.
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