From A Ruined Garden / Edition 2

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"An indispensable sourcebook... Emphasis falls on the variegated, often joyful, culture of the Polish Jews, on what existed before the garden was ruined." —Geoffrey Hartmann, The New Republic

"From these marvelous selections, one can see an entire culture unfolding." —Curt Leviant, New York Times Book Review

"This newly revised version of the classic study... is a pleasure for the eye and the soul! One of the seminal studies of the impact of the Shoah on European Jewry, it is even more moving in its new incarnation than in its original version. More than a collection of studies of books of remembrance and mourning, this volume asks how one can mourn for a world lost and still live in the present and the future." —Sander L. Gilman

"Kugelmass and Boyarin have done a splendid job of combing the vast memorial book literature to select the most revealing accounts of Jewish life in interbellum Poland. Ordinary people speak in this volume with an immediacy and poignancy that cannot help but touch the reader. In the time since it first appeared, From a Ruined Garden has become a classic. Its reappearance in an updated and expanded form is most welcome." —Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

"In this magnificent collection, the editors combine a profound ‘feel’ for the vanished world of Polish Jewry, the anthologist’s skill at selecting the telling example, and the anthropologist’s sophisticated understanding of how these testimonies should be read. A marvelous introduction to this rich literature." —Peter Novick

Polish Jewish survivors of the Holocaust compiled memorial books to preserve the memory of their destroyed communities. They describe daily life in the shtetl as well as everyday life during the Holocaust and the experiences of returning survivors. These memories paint a haunting picture of a way of life lost forever.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Geoffrey Hartmann
An indispensable sourcebook...Emphasis falls on the variegated, often joyful, culture of the Polish Jews, on what existed before the garden was ruined. -- Geoffrey Hartmann, The New Republic
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253211873
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1998
  • Series: Indiana Holocaust Museum Reprint Series
  • Edition description: Second Expanded Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet 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.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Our Towns
What Is a Pinkes? 51
The Court of the Plyaters 53
At the Market 58
Novoyelne 64
The Twenty-first of Adar: The Great Day 65
The Burial Society 68
Girls' Kheyders 70
Anarchist Activities 72
The Struggle for the Right to Work 76
Light and Shadow 79
The Jewish Porters of Warsaw 81
When Anti-Semitism Raged 87
Sports Clubs and Self-Defense 88
The Last Meeting of the Community Council in Kutno 91
The Blind Cantor 97
Reb Moyshe-Yudl, the Traveling Tailor 99
Ayzikl the Bachelor 101
Zabalye the Coachwoman 101
The Mute 103
Esther-Khaye the Zogerin ["Sayer"] 104
Tall Libe 106
Reb Dvoyre Mash 107
Crazy Sora 108
Shloyme-Akive, the Town Fool 109
Alter, the Village Peddler 111
The Kozhenitser Rebe 113
Customs, Symbols, and Ceremonies 119
The Healer in Bilgoray 122
The Town's New Torah Scroll 124
The Angry Dance 125
A Disrupted Seder Night 126
A Purim in the Region of Sants 129
The Death of the Bukovsker Rebe, Dovid Shapiro 131
Concerning the Opponents of Hasidism in Lizhensk 132
A Strike in Kheyder 133
My "Days" in Slonim 135
From American Universities to the Polish Yeshivas 138
The First Yiddish Library 140
My Grandmother Sews Her Own Burial Shroud 141
The Butchers of Zhirardov Commission a Torah Scroll 145
The Righteousness of Revolutionaries 146
The Ruined Wedding 148
The First Suicide in Town 150
A Hasidic Demonstration 152
The Dispute Over the Succession to the Rabbinate 154
An Escape from Certain Death 158
A Murder in the Forest 160
The Pogrom in 1936 162
A Communist Assembly Elects a Zionist as Representative 164
Jewish Fighters on the Battlefields of Spain 166
Legends and Folklore
The Ancestors' Merit and the Blessings of Laughter 171
Three Parables of the Dubner Magid 173
The Slaughtering Knife and the Saw 174
Khayim-Yisroel Melamed and the Kozhenitser Magid 175
In Khorostkov During the First World War 179
Dear God! 182
A Final Moral Lesson 189
The Typhus Epidemic and a Wedding at the Cemetery 192
How I Read Yiddish Literature to an S.S. Captain 195
Terror in Vishnevits 198
The Families in the Bunkers 200
How I Hid Twelve Jews 203
Wanderings of a Child 204
My Escape from the Ditches of Slaughter 208
Passover: Under the Rule of Hitlerite Tyranny 212
I Was a German "Soldier" 218
The Capture of Girls 225
Kol Nidre in Auschwitz 231
The Transport from Auschwitz 234
Searching for the Life That Was 243
Belkhatov Without Jews 244
My Tragic Night in Zhelekhov 246
A Visit to My Town of Bilgoray 248
End of Sentence 249
The City Without Jews 254
In the Tracks of the Jewish Life That Disappeared 262
The Townspeople Abroad
The Landsmanshaft in Montreal: Book of Memory to the Jewish Community of Shebreshin 269
Appendix I Bibliography of Eastern European (Yizkor) Memorial Books
Appendix II Geographic Index and Gazetteer
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