Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $10.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 80%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (14) from $10.00   
  • New (3) from $25.00   
  • Used (11) from $10.00   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New Haven, CT 2002 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 437 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: Young adult. Hardcover in ... dust jacket, Fine/Fine Condition (Beautiful, brand new book! ), Backroom. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Naperville, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:


Condition: New
(69) New Hardcopy with Dust Jacket ...

Ships from: Atlanta, GA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:


Condition: New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


This never-before-published collection of autobiographies written by young Polish Jews in the 1930s is extraordinary. Their candid and passionate writings not only reveal the personal struggles, ambitions, and dreams of fifteen young authors, they also offer remarkable insight into the nature of ordinary Jewish life in Poland during the years between the world wars. Later authors often view this moment through lenses tinted by nostalgia or horror. But these young writers, unaware of the catastrophic future, tell their life stories with the urgency and fervor of adolescents, coming of age during a period of manifold new opportunities and challenges.

The autobiographies presented in the volume are selected from hundreds that were written for contests in the 1930s conducted by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, then based in Vilna. Nine male and six female authors write from a variety of circumstances that reflect the great diversity of interwar Polish Jewry -- some of the authors are ardently secular, and others devoutly religious; some are impoverished and others come from the working class or middle class; some are highly educated, and others self-taught. They come from big cities, small towns, and villages; they are Zionists, Bundists, communists; they espouse multiple political affiliations or none at all. Taking up the unusual task of writing an autobiography at the threshold of adulthood, these young authors also display different personalities, writing styles, and views of life. Originally written for a pioneering research project that hoped to address the challenges facing Polish Jewish youth, their words now speak across the chasm of history, providing unique testimony on Jewish life in the final years before the Holocaust.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300092776
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.48 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Introduction xi
Editor's note xliii
1914-1939: A chronology xlv
Map of Interwar Poland lii
The Autobiographies
1. S. Etonis 3
Invasions during the World War
Traditional kheyder vs. progressive shule
Mother's death
Smuggling goods at the Russian border
Studying musar
A heretical friend
Reading forbidden literature
Self-education for gymnasium
Work as a teacher
2. Khane 20
Feuding parents
Homeless wandering
Life in an abandoned fortress
Feuding sisters
A mother's beating
Work in a bindery
Learning to read
Illegal political activism
Stealing across the border
Working in Vilna
Mother's death
3. A. Greyno 51
A poor family
Learning to read from Father
Move to a city
Failed business ventures
Sexual awakening
Learning to sew
An anti-Semitic landlord
A murdered child? A special friend
Trade unionism
A revolutionary meeting on Yom Kippur
Political trials
Becoming a librarian
Arrest, torture and prison
Jean Christophe
4. Henekh 113
Father's death
Yeshivas in Grodno and Radun
Corruption in yeshiva
Discovering secular literature
An unsuccessful love affair
Trapped in marriage to a rabbi's daughter
Contemplating suicide
5. Forget-me-not 123
Parental squabbles
A Jewish public school
Desecrating the Sabbath
Mother's early death
Joining an illegal political party
Life in a day orphanage
Chronic illness and a TOZ sanatorium
Working in a pharmacy
A dwindling family
Political disillusionment
Trade union activism
6. Ludwik Stockel 141
The Russians attack
Saved by a nursemaid
Life on a rural estate
The local Polish public school
Gymnasium in Czortkow
Writing poetry
Summer romance
A school trip
A bicycle race
Unrequited love
A socialist and a Zionist
Law school in Lwow
Anti-Semitic violence
7. Hanzi 197
A pious mother, an intellectual father
Living with Grandmother
A religious upbringing
A rare eye disease
Blessing from the Hafetz Hayyim
Tarbut gymnasium in Vilna
Stealing books
A member of Betar
A leg infection
A nurse from Siberia
A Zionist hero
8. The Stormer 226
Father's death
Moving to Lodz
Public school
Sex among yeshiva students
Political awakening
A revolutionary cell
Factory work
Illegal emigration to Palestine
Life on the road
Stealing across the border
Capture and imprisonment
Return home
9. G. S. 263
Life on a rural estate
Public school
Attending commercial school
Relations between Poles and Jews
Life on hakhsharah
Failed aspirations
Work as a governess
10. EM.TEPA 275
An intellectual proletarian father
Mother's mental illness
Kheyder vs. public school
Studying the violin
Work as a musician
Economic woes
11. G. W. 296
A shoemaker's son
Life in a small town
The family moves
Illness and recovery
Public school
A tailor's apprentice
Bundist youth movements
Normal family life
12. Esther 321
A hasidic family
Beys Yaakov school and Polish public school
Polish patriotism
Membership in Bnos Agudas Yisroel
A secret reader
Running a Beys Yaakov school
A forbidden friendship
Provincial anti-Semitism
Discovering socialism
13. J. Harefuler 344
Inferiority complexes
Kheyder and progressive Jewish elementary school
Mother's death
Work as a shoemaker
A frustrated actor's death
Camping trips
The Joint Distribution Committee
A Jewish citizen in Poland
14. Eter 380
A rabbi's daughter
Polish elementary school
A community feud
The commercial gymnasium
Work as a tutor
Zionist politics
A poem by Julian Tuwim
15. Yudl 391
A poor family
Delivering milk
Public school
Street life
Shady dealings in a dye factory
A bootmaker's apprentice
A trip to Lodz
Betar, then the Bund
Leading a successful strike
Epilogue 404
Endnotes 406
Appendix I Personalities 423
Appendix II Organizations 430
Glossary 434
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)