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Among the grainy photographs of the Mendelsohn family from the old country -- taken in a village called Bolechow, in what was then Poland but is now the Ukraine -- one stood out: that of a dapper father, a proud mother, and four daughters; on the back was the handwritten caption, "Killed by the Nazis." This was Mendelsohn's great-uncle Shmiel and his family, who met the same fate as most of the other Jews in town.
Mendelsohn recalls being told stories as a child by elderly Jews with tattoos on their arms -- stories that Daniel, a typical boy, infused with a sense of adventure and romance, but that, as a man, he felt a responsibility to investigate. The truth of what happened to each person in the photograph is appalling: shot off a plank over a mass grave, dragged from a cellar and executed, forced to watch as others' eyes are gouged out, and compelled to sit on hot stoves. This is testament enough to the incalculable horror of the Nazi occupation. What is truly unparalleled is Mendelsohn's determination to travel the globe, seeking out the few Bolechowers still alive and recording their testimonies. In the process, Mendelsohn has created a living record of a small, vanished world.
The Lost is a deeply emotional work of factual and emotional archaelogy: honest, devastating, humbling, and impossible to put down. (Holiday 2006 Selection)