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From a Ruined Garden, Second Expanded Edition: The Memorial Books of Polish Jewry (Indiana-Holocaust Museum Reprint) Paperback – July 22, 1998
"Hitler's Forgotten Children" by Ingrid von Oelhafen
The Lebensborn program abducted as many as half a million children from across Europe. Through a process called Germanization, they were to become the next generation of the Aryan master race in the second phase of the Final Solution. Hitler's Forgotten Children is both a harrowing personal memoir and a devastating investigation into the awful crimes and monstrous scope of the Lebensborn program. Learn more | See related books
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About the Author
Jack Kugelmass is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, author of The Miracle of Intervale Avenue: The Story of a Jewish Congregation in the South Bronx and Masked Culture: The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, and editor of Between Two Worlds: Ethnographic Essays on American Jewry.
Jonathan Boyarin, an anthropologist and ethnographer, is author of Polish Jews in Paris: The Ethnography of Memory, Storm from Paradise: The Politics of Jewish Memory, and Thinking in Jewish.
Zachary M. Baker is Head Librarian at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.
Top Customer Reviews
The books provide in some sense a record of the town they are written about, and often a picture of the people themselves. They connect up with the Jewish traditional Literature of Lamentation. In the words of the authors, " The memorial books came to be seen as substitute gravestones. " The memorial books are structured on a continuum from simple acts of naming to highly elaborated acts of narrative." The authors make clear that even a list of names serves the purpose of remembering. In their introduction the authors quote Shlomo Pultusker," When I review in thought my life in Rozhan, events, splinterrs of half- forgotten memories, appear before my eyes. People , formerly flesh and blood and everyday Jews, were transformed by the tragic events into figures similar to heroes in the dramas one reads.Of all the people of that time, individuals stand out whose names stick in memory..And to these people, most of whose remains lie in no cemetary, may my humble words about them serve as an eternal monument and redeem them from merciless oblivion. With trembling and fear of God I write my modest words, which are no more than a pale reflection of what was in reality."
Three million Polish Jews were murdered in the Shoah.
These books are the fragmented, inadequate witness of what they were.
Some interesting historical background finds mention in this work. For instance, there is a description of how Kaiser Wilhelm's soldiers entered Czestochowa during WWI, plundering the rural wealth and imposing such things as starvation rations on the Poles. (pp. 152-153).
In the interwar period, Polish peasant cooperatives were formed to eliminate the Jewish middleman. Jews, in turn, banded together to preserve their monopolies, sometimes successfully (for example, see pp. 62-63). In the Polish textile industry, Jews were frequently the factory owners, while Poles and Jews competed for jobs as weavers. (pp. 76-78).
The Jewish communities were often insular. At Chmielnik, two rabbis had a dispute in 1920 as to who has authority over their community. The matter eventually reached Polish courts (p. 156), and both sides tried to bribe Polish officials for a favorable decision. (p. 157). For a time, each rabbi claimed to have sole authority to declare foods kosher, and said that food authorized by the other rabbi was TREYF (ritually unclean). The same reasoning went behind the recognition of valid marriages. (pp. 157-158). Finally, decades later, after the Nazi German invasion of Poland, the two rabbis reconciled.
Not only Polish peasants, but also the Jews had their own superstitions, including the evil eye. (pp. 122-123, 150).Read more ›