Children of Zion

Overview

In this book, Henryk Grynberg takes an extraordinary collection of interviews conducted by representatives of the Polish government-in-exile in Palestine in 1943 and arranges them in such a way that their voices become unforgettable. The interviewees - all Polish children - tell of their experiences during the war. Grynberg has not used the traditional form, but rather turns the voices of the children into one large "choral" group. This technique gives the reader the impression of overwhelming sameness while ...
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Overview

In this book, Henryk Grynberg takes an extraordinary collection of interviews conducted by representatives of the Polish government-in-exile in Palestine in 1943 and arranges them in such a way that their voices become unforgettable. The interviewees - all Polish children - tell of their experiences during the war. Grynberg has not used the traditional form, but rather turns the voices of the children into one large "choral" group. This technique gives the reader the impression of overwhelming sameness while paradoxically featuring the subtle differences in the children's experiences. In the first section, the children recall their lives before the war most were well off. They discuss their memories of when the war broke out, the arrival of the Germans and the Russians, and their journeys into and experiences in, exile. We also hear them talk about the increasingly desperate conditions after the Sikorski Agreement allowed them to leave the work camps, and the ways many of them coped as orphans.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In his preface, the author describes his book as a "documentary tale," an epic created by rewording the interview records of Jewish children evacuated from the Soviet Union to Palestine in 1943. Grynberg himself The Victory, LJ 5/1/94 was a child survivor of the Holocaust who now lives in self-imposed exile in the United States. He has here selected and arranged 73 testimonies, not presenting each one as a separate entity but extracting from each certain common strands and collecting them in choral groups. Then, while not altering the content, Grynberg has sought to enhance the narrative by rewording the text in a way that allows it to flow more naturally. It begins with the children's life in Poland before the war, continues with the arrival of the Germans and the Russians, and concludes with the experience of exile. The result is a powerful, relentless document that bears grim testimony to the suffering endured by the children and their families as they journeyed from horror to horror. This is a bleak, cumulative tale of brutality, humiliation, and misery told in the straightforward language of children who have no need to embellish the truth, but whose stories cry out to be heard. Recommended without reservation for public and academic collections.Sister M. Anna Falbo, Villa Maria Coll. Lib., Buffalo, N.Y.
From the Publisher

"It is the unvarnished, artless, and naïve story of children who, to put it mildly, had no theory to defend." --Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, New Republic

"[A] powerful, relentless document that bears grim testimony to the suffering endured by the children and their families as they journeyed from horror to horror." --Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810113541
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Series: Jewish Lives Series
  • Pages: 178
  • Sales rank: 1,036,158
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Henryk Grynberg (born in 1936 in Warsaw) is a Polish-Jewish writer and actor who survived the Nazi occupation. He was an award-winning novelist, short-story writer, poet, playwright and essayist who had authored more than thirty books of prose and poetry and two dramas. Grynberg, known as the “chronicler of the fate of the Polish Jews”, tackled in his writings the Holocaust experience and the post-Holocaust trauma.

Jacqueline Mitchell, a translator, lives in New York.

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Table of Contents

Preface
We Lived Pretty Well 3
When War Broke Out 9
Germans, Germans, Germans 17
Russians, Bolsheviks 51
The Longest Journey 71
We Worked 93
"Religious Criminals" 105
When the News of the Amnesty Came 119
We Knew We Were Dying 133
Orphans 145
List of Testimonies 167
Afterword 175
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