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A Surplus of Memory: Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (A Centennial Book) Hardcover – May 7, 1993

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Product Details

  • Series: A Centennial Book
  • Hardcover: 702 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition edition (May 7, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520078411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520078413
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,581,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This absorbing, important memoir by a leader of the Jewish resistance in the Warsaw ghetto uprising is a great human drama that reaffirms the moral dignity and courage of ordinary people in the most extreme circumstances. Zuckerman (1915-1981), known by his underground pseudonym Antek, was a founder and commander of the Jewish Fighting Organization, which waged guerrilla warfare against the Nazis in April and May 1943. After the doomed uprising, he helped countless Jews who hid in "Aryanized" Warsaw. He and his wife, Zivia Lubetkin, a fellow resistance fighter, assisted the exodus of Jews to Palestine, where they themselves later emigrated. First published in Israel in 1991 and issued in this fluent translation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the uprising, Zuckerman's autobiographical narrative extends from the German invasion of Poland in 1939 to Polish pogroms against Jews in 1946. The book sheds invaluable light on Jewish resistance to the Nazis and on Jewish-Polish relations. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Zuckerman, known by his underground name, Antek, was one of the leaders of the Jewish Fighting Organization who directed the uprising, from the outside, in the Warsaw ghetto in 1944. He remained in Poland until early 1947, organizing emigration to Palestine, where he then settled until his death in 1981. When his memoirs first appeared in Hebrew two years ago, they were harshly criticized for their rambling character and criticism of the tactics and strategy of the Jewish underground--criticisms that seem misplaced. Zuckerman is certainly bitter and argues convincingly that if the Jewish Fighting Organization had focused on deterring Jewish collaboration, the deportation of the Jews would have been more difficult to carry out. Interestingly, Zuckerman, who had access, is much less critical than most Jewish historians of Polish behavior in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. His memoirs will be essential reading for those interested in the Jewish tragedy during World War II.
- Antony Polonsky, Brandeis Univ., Watham, Mass.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Gary Glassman on February 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
" I don't think there's any need to analyze the Uprising in military terms. This was a war of less than a thousand people against a mighty army, and no one doubted how it was likely to turn out. This isn't a subject for study in a military school. Not the weapons, not the operations, not the tactics. If there's a school to study the human spirit, there it should be a major subject. The really important things were inherent in the force shown by Jewish youths, after years of degradation, to rise up against their destroyers and determine what death they would choose: Treblinka or Uprising. I don't know if there's a standard to measure that." -Yitzhak Zuckerman From A Surplus of Memory A Surplus of Memory is Yitzhak Zuckerman's memoir of the events of 1939-1946, the period before, during and after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Zuckerman, or "Antek," his pseudonym in the Jewish underground, was a commander of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB), which became the primary fighting force in the Jewish ghetto. After the Uprising, Antek led clandestine operations in Aryan Warsaw, then commanded a unit of Jewish fighters during the Polish Uprising. After the war, he helped Jews returning from exile in the Soviet Union from death camps, and those emerging from hiding after the Nazi occupation. Antek became a major figure in Brikha, the movement that smuggled Jews into Palestine after the war. He finally immigrated to Palestine in 1947 and co-founded Lohamei Ha-Getaot, the Ghetto Fighters' Kibbutz where he established a Holocaust museum. He was also a witness at the trial of Adolph Eichmann. Antek was a member of Zionist youth organizations in Poland before the war.Read more ›
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jan Peczkis on August 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Yitzhak Zuckerman's (Cukierman's) fabulous book stands out in stark contrast to much of the superficial and distorted material that is so often used in Holocaust education. Then again, he was an eyewitness, so he should know. Unlike the anti-Polish slant of most Holocaust educational material, Zuckerman finds much good and bad in both nationalities, and repeatedly sternly warns those who would espouse hatred for Poles. He also has high praises for Zegota, the Polish underground organization that rescued thousands of Jews. Zuckerman is unusually frank and candid in telling the full story of what happened during this cruel time. For instance, Holocaust films invariably show the collaborationist Polish blue police, but not the Jewish ghetto police. Zuckerman, on the other hand, makes it obvious that it was the Jewish collaborationist police which inflicted more of the sufferings on the imprisoned Jews. Most Holocaust materials only show Poles who would betray Jews to the Nazis, while Zuckerman surprises the reader by pointing out that he was just as frequently accosted by Jewish blackmailers as Polish ones. Unlike the movie Schindler's List, which showed a Polish girl cheering as Jews were deported, Zuckerman recounts a diametrically-oppposite personal experience as an incognito Jew (with false documents expertly made by the Polish underground) on the Aryan side of Warsaw. As the Warsaw Ghetto was being burned by the Germans, very few Poles rejoiced, and these were primarily from the criminal element. Zuckerman found that many Poles cried as they saw the ghetto burn.Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jan Peczkis on October 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This review expands an earlier one. Consider first the Passover 1940 pogrom: "The Germans incited the Poles to attack the Jews and those attacks were filmed, with the Nazis playing the saviors of the Jews against the Poles." (p. 40).

Relative to the "resettlements" to Treblinka, Zuckerman faulted the tardiness of militant Jewish counteraction: "Our blame is that we could have delayed the sentence, we could have forced them to bring 10,000 Germans to do the work done by 2,000 to 3,000 Jewish police." (p. 209). The Germans would've used firearms, causing massive bloodshed, and thereby inducing more Jews to resist or escape instead of obediently boarding the death trains.

The retrieval of usable 1939-war weaponry for the Polish and Jewish Undergrounds wasn't straightforward: "With the defeat of the Polish Army, groups of Poles or individual Polish soldiers tried to hide weapons in woods and hiding places, and only they knew where they were hidden. Sometimes weapons were hidden near some village where the peasants were afraid to give them to Poles or partisans, because giving weapons to the enemies of the Germans was a death sentence on the whole village since the Germans applied collective responsibility. And there was always somebody, who, out of cowardice or obsequiousness, would tell the Germans where the weapons were. The ordinary person didn't keep weapons because that jeopardized himself, his family, and his courtyard. And everyone was afraid his friend or neighbor would denounce him." (pp. 252-253). Zuckerman's statements debunk the double-standard arguments, advanced against Poles (e. g., by Jan T. Gross), regarding risk-taking, denunciation, and neighbors'-silence, relative to hiding Jews vis-à-vis Underground involvement.
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