From Library Journal
The area of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic was once home to almost five million Jews. Today fewer than 120,000 live there. Gruber (Jewish Heritage Travel, Wiley, 1992) traveled throughout the region to probe contemporary Jewish life there and explore its connection with a richer and more glorious past. She describes Jewish life and heritage in Prague; wine merchants and Hasidic dynasties in Hungary and Poland; synagogues in and around Budapest and the architect of many of them, Lipot Birnbaum; and Kazimierz, the ancient Jewish quarter of the Polish city of Cracow. Gruber concludes with a moving chapter on her visit to Auschwitz. Neither a history nor a travel guide, this study gives us snapshots of contemporary Jewish life coupled with historical sketches of a more vibrant past. Important more for the mood evoked than for the information provided, it is recommended for larger Judaic studies and popular collections.Mark W. Weber, Kent State Univ. Lib., Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Before the Holocaust, east-central Europe was home to nearly 5 million Jews; about 120,000 live there today. In Gruber's travels, she found answers to such questions as, Who now lives in the places where Jews once lived? What memories are retained about what it was like when there was a Jewish population? What do people born after the Holocaust know about the Jewish past? What use is made of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries? In seeking the answers, Gruber probed the matrix--and the memories and perceptions of the matrix--in which the Holocaust happened and then places this in the context of present-day circumstances. The author talked with an ever-dwindling number of survivors and with non-Jews, and searched through abandoned synagogues, graveyards, study houses, and ghetto streets in countless towns, cities, and villages in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. It is a sad and moving book, diligently researched, offering an objective look at the destruction of a centuries-old Jewish civilization. George Cohen