A Surplus Of Memory

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Overview

In 1943, against utterly hopeless odds, the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto rose up to defy the Nazi horror machine that had set out to exterminate them. One of the leaders of the Jewish Fighting Organization, which led the uprisings, was Yitzhak Zuckerman, known by his underground pseudonym, Antek. Decades later, living in Israel, Antek dictated his memoirs. The Hebrew publication of Those Seven Years: 1939-1946 was a major event in the historiography of the Holocaust, and now ...

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Overview

In 1943, against utterly hopeless odds, the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto rose up to defy the Nazi horror machine that had set out to exterminate them. One of the leaders of the Jewish Fighting Organization, which led the uprisings, was Yitzhak Zuckerman, known by his underground pseudonym, Antek. Decades later, living in Israel, Antek dictated his memoirs. The Hebrew publication of Those Seven Years: 1939-1946 was a major event in the historiography of the Holocaust, and now Antek's memoirs are available in English.

Unlike Holocaust books that focus on the annihilation of European Jews, Antek's account is of the daily struggle to maintain human dignity under the most dreadful conditions. His passionate, involved testimony, which combines detail, authenticity, and gripping immediacy, has unique historical importance. The memoirs situate the ghetto and the resistance in the social and political context that preceded them, when prewar Zionist and Socialist youth movements were gradually forged into what became the first significant armed resistance against the Nazis in all of occupied Europe. Antek also describes the activities of the resistance after the destruction of the ghetto, when 20,000 Jews hid in "Aryan" Warsaw and then participated in illegal immigration to Palestine after the war.

The only extensive document by any Jewish resistance leader in Europe, Antek's book is central to understanding ghetto life and underground activities, Jewish resistance under the Nazis, and Polish-Jewish relations during and after the war. This extraordinary work is a fitting monument to the heroism of a people.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This absorbing, important memoir by a leader of the Jewish resistance in the Warsaw ghetto uprising is a great human drama that reaffirms the moral dignity and courage of ordinary people in the most extreme circumstances. Zuckerman (1915-1981), known by his underground pseudonym Antek, was a founder and commander of the Jewish Fighting Organization, which waged guerrilla warfare against the Nazis in April and May 1943. After the doomed uprising, he helped countless Jews who hid in ``Aryanized'' Warsaw. He and his wife, Zivia Lubetkin, a fellow resistance fighter, assisted the exodus of Jews to Palestine, where they themselves later emigrated. First published in Israel in 1991 and issued in this fluent translation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the uprising, Zuckerman's autobiographical narrative extends from the German invasion of Poland in 1939 to Polish pogroms against Jews in 1946. The book sheds invaluable light on Jewish resistance to the Nazis and on Jewish-Polish relations. Photos. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Zuckerman, known by his underground name, Antek, was one of the leaders of the Jewish Fighting Organization who directed the uprising, from the outside, in the Warsaw ghetto in 1944. He remained in Poland until early 1947, organizing emigration to Palestine, where he then settled until his death in 1981. When his memoirs first appeared in Hebrew two years ago, they were harshly criticized for their rambling character and criticism of the tactics and strategy of the Jewish underground--criticisms that seem misplaced. Zuckerman is certainly bitter and argues convincingly that if the Jewish Fighting Organization had focused on deterring Jewish collaboration, the deportation of the Jews would have been more difficult to carry out. Interestingly, Zuckerman, who had access, is much less critical than most Jewish historians of Polish behavior in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. His memoirs will be essential reading for those interested in the Jewish tragedy during World War II.-- Antony Polonsky, Brandeis Univ., Watham, Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520078413
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1993
  • Pages: 740
  • Sales rank: 1,111,324
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Yitzhak Zuckerman ("Antek"), 1915-1981, was the last commander of the Jewish Fighting Organization. After World War II he assisted the exodus of surviving Jews to Palestine, where he also emigrated. His memoirs were published in Israel in 1991. Barbara Harshav, who has taught history at various universities and at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, is the translator of several books, including Jewish Memories (from French, California, 1990) and American Yiddish Poetry (from Yiddish, with Benjamin Harshav, California, 1986).

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