Shards of Memory: Narratives of Holocaust Survival / Edition 1

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As the last Holocaust survivors die, their testimonies make the transition from memory to history. In this compelling volume, Yehudi Lindeman, Director of the Living Testimonies Video Archive in Montreal, shares compelling stories of survival and triumph collected from years of interviews with those who lived through the most harrowing decade of the 20th century. Here are 25 tales of courage and loss, representing the experiences of women, men, and children who either survived the death camps or lived in hiding, and of their rescuers and redeemers.

The testimonies included in this volume show glimpses of the big movements, the big picture of World War II—the fast German sweep into Poland; the bureaucratic German machine that marked and identified Jews across German-occupied Europe; the efficiently organized roundups of Europe's Jews; the gradual retreat of the Wehrmacht from east to west; the sudden attacks on Holland and France. The fate of the European Jews may be a collective one, but their attempt to survive the onslaught on their liberty and life is often best understood through the portrayal of individual struggles. By focusing on individual lives, the narratives collected here capture the flow of history in all its precise, subjective, human detail.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Since 1989, Yehudi Lindeman has been interviewing Holocaust survivors for the Living Testimonies Archive in Montreal. In this volume, he shares the stories of 25 individuals. Included are those who managed to pass as Gentiles, others who survived the death camps, and others who went into hiding or escaped. The final narrative offers the perspective of a Danish man who helped smuggle some 7,000 Jews to safety. Elie Wiesel contributes the foreword."


Reference & Research Book News

"Shards of Memory is a collection of personal testimonies of various means of survival by which individuals preserved themselves in the face of the great Nazi assult on their bodies, psyches, and lives during World War II. The Living Testimonies Project at the Holocaust Video Documentation Archive of McGill University gathers and records the experiences and eyewitness accounts of Holocaust survivors through individually videotaped interviews with survivors. The current volume is a retelling of 25 of these stories. The editors convey the narratives in the survivors' own words and provide candid descritions of the subjects' tone and manner of speaking."


MultiCultural Review

"Lindeman, director of Living Testimonies, a center for Holocaust research and documentation in Montreal, has written an excellent introduction that posits the motivation behind the needs of Shoah survivors to tell their stories. The book's chapters are arranged according to three distinctions: gender, age, and whether one survived inside or outside the camps, in hiding, or on the run. Lindeman explains that the decision to separate the chapters of women's accounts of the camps from that of the men was an effort to capture their particular experiences during the Holocaust. He is sensitive to recent Holocaust historiography that distinguishes between the gender-based behaviors of those who were victims of the Nazis. Lindeman writes that although Nazi destruction clearly did not distinguish between men and women, there are differences in terms of what was done to them (vulnerabilities) and what they did (their resources). The volume includes a country-by-country chronology discussed by the survivors, as well as a glossary. Highly recommended. All levels/libraries."



". . . these narratives make an important contribution to Holocaust studies by providing a framework for stories that survivors often find incredibly difficult to share. Reading these personal accounts reminds us of the time when such stories were not welcome, when even family members and friends did not want to hear about the horrific events of the past. Many of these survivors describe the difficulty they have had in discussing their past, even with their own children and grandchildren, and in this admission we can detect both the anguish of reliving their past and a sense of urgency, a need to somehow convey and preserve their experiences. Moreover, this volume reminds us that there are still many stories that have not been shared. Shards of Memory challenges all of us to recognize and appreciate the genuine difficulty of recalling and sharing the terrible realities of the past. Each of the stories in this collection is a reminder that there is yet one more testimony to hear, and that it is our human obligation to listen and learn."



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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275994235
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

YEHUDI LINDEMAN is Professor Emeritus of English at McGill University and Director of Living Testimonies, a center for Holocaust research and documentation in Montreal. In 1990, he also contributed to founding the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors. A child survivor of the Holocaust, he was separated from his family and moved through safe houses in Nazi-occupied Holland by members of the Dutch resistance.

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Table of Contents

List of photos     ix
Foreword   Elie Wiesel     xi
Acknowledgments     xiii
Introduction   Yehudi Lindeman     xvii
Hiding in the Open: Passing as a Gentile     1
Rose B.     3
Mila M.     7
Edith Z.     13
Women Surviving the Camps     19
Rachel G.     21
Toby Elisabet R.     25
Ilse Z. and Marti D.     30
Irene C.     40
Rifka G.     45
Rena S.     52
Men Surviving the Camps     61
David A.     63
Jacob G.     67
Israel B.     75
Paul L.     84
Saul B.     94
Abram F.     106
Rubin B.     112
Hiding on the Run: Perspectives of Child Survivors     121
Leah K.     123
David G.     129
Stefanie S.     137
Leslie S.     141
Evading the Nazis     147
Margot S.     149
Irene B.     156
Harry F.     163
Rescuing: A Danish Perspective     171
Hans M.     173
Conclusion-Ghostwriters: The Hidden Children of Living Testimonies   Anita Slominska     179
Maps     193
Chronology   Barry Stahlmann     197
Glossary     213
Index     219
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