To Life: 36 Stories of Memory and Hope

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"This deeply moving collection of stories, faces, and objects from the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit." The 36 stories told here - and the photographs and objects that accompany them - were presented to the Museum for exhibition by Holocaust survivors and their families. A child's Torah scroll, a dress sewn upon liberation from Dachau, a desperate telegram, a false passport, a blue-and-beige-striped cap specially insulated by a camp inmate - they are all ...
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Boston 2002 Hardcover First Edition. 176 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. Brand new book. HOLOCAUST. This deeply moving collection of stories, faces, and objects from the ... Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit. The stories of courage, family, hope, and faith held within the Museum provide a uniquely moving history of Jewish life in the twentieth century. The 36 stories told here-and the photographs and objects that accompany them-were presented to the Museum for exhibition by Holocaust survivors and their families. Includes an Index. (Key Words: Museum of Jewish Heritage, Judaica, Holocaust, Ivy L. Barsky, David G. Marwell, Robert M. Morgenthau, Igor Kotler, Yitzchak Mais, Jews, Juda Putersznyt, Kristallnacht, Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, David Ben-Gurion). Read more Show Less

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Overview

"This deeply moving collection of stories, faces, and objects from the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit." The 36 stories told here - and the photographs and objects that accompany them - were presented to the Museum for exhibition by Holocaust survivors and their families. A child's Torah scroll, a dress sewn upon liberation from Dachau, a desperate telegram, a false passport, a blue-and-beige-striped cap specially insulated by a camp inmate - they are all emblems of the remarkable stories of perseverance and hope that are vividly recounted in this extraordinary book.
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Editorial Reviews

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Not far from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Museum of Jewish Heritage shares its gripping testaments of courage, family, hope and faith. To Life presents 36 stories using artifacts from its collections. The objects are simple, as plain as a dress or a false passport; but the stories are as powerful as a long-overdue reunion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821227732
  • Publisher: Bulfinch
  • Publication date: 11/30/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 174
  • Product dimensions: 10.38 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Read an Excerpt

To Life

36 Stories of Memory and Hope
By Museum of Jewish Heritage

Bulfinch Press

Copyright © 2002 Museum of Jewish Heritage
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0821227734


Chapter One

Bella Trachtenberg

Bella

More than 2 million Russian and other eastern European Jewish immigrants, among them Bella and Elya Trachtenbcrg, arrived on America's shores in the decades between the 1880s and the early 1920s. The two main forces propelling their journey were a pervasive anti-Semitism at home and the dream of religious liberty and economic mobility in America.

Although most immigrants arrived poor and eventually improved their lives, often dramatically, America was not the goldene medine (the golden land) for everyone. For some, such as the Trachtenbergs, the adjustment proved extremely difficult.

Bella (Beyla) Grubstein was born in Letichev, a province of Podolia, in the Ukraine (Russian Empire) in 188 3. The Letichev District was the birthplace of the Hasidic movement and the home of many distinguished rabbis. It was also an area that had its share of severe hardships and pogroms-government-inspired violent attacks on Jews. Orphaned at age sixteen, Bella was the oldest of six children and took on the responsibility of running her parents' businesses-an iron foundry and a furniture business. The youngest child was only two years old when Bella took over familyresponsibilities, but Bella was a young woman of determination, and eventually her devotion to family and work paid off. Using her excellent mathematical skills, she made her enterprises thrive, and then succeeded in putting her three brothers through medical school, two in Russia and one in Liège, Belgium.

When Bella Grubstein was twenty-six, she married Elya Trachtenberg, son of a wealthy family in Letichev. Although he did not need to, Elya worked in his family's grain business. He was also a leader in and an advocate for the Jewish community in Letichev-a job that, at that time, was not easy to fulfill.

After a civil war broke out in the former Russian Empire in 191 8, the chaos and attacks on the Jewish communities led many young people to consider immigration to Palestine or the New World as the only hope for a secure future. When the Trachtenbergs had their second daughter, Sonya, in 1921, they discussed the possibility of leaving for America, where two of Elya's younger brothers had already established themselves. (The Communists had already taken the Trachtenberg family business away.) Bella was opposed to leaving her hometown and her siblings, who were like children to her. She knew it would be best for her own children, but feared she would never see her brothers and sisters again. In 1922, after due consideration, the family made the painful decision to leave for America, and Bella never set eyes on her siblings again.

For a man such as Elya Trachtenberg, already forty-five years old, adjustment to the new language and the new culture in the United States proved difficult. In the beginning, he had a hard time finding work. Eventually, he sold life insurance and printing labels, but the family spent many years struggling against poverty. Even into his late fifties, the only work the charming and sociable Elya could get was sweeping floors for the Work Projects Administration.

However, before Bella and Elya Trachtenberg died in 1959 and 1965, respectively, they were able to see their grandchildren on their way to becoming actors in the American dream. Bella Grubstein Trachtenberg's talent with numbers was passed down to her children and grandchildren, who have excelled as mathematicians, one becoming a physician as well.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from To Life by Museum of Jewish Heritage Copyright © 2002 by Museum of Jewish Heritage
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
36 Stories of Memory and Hope 1
The Jews in the Changing World of the Twentieth Century 161
Acknowledgments 172
Index 175
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2002

    A Living Memorial and Story

    This book gives a vivid picture of the lives,of real people who rebuilt their lives before, during and after the tragic events that befell Jewry during the Holocaust. It is a picure of hope for all people - especially in today's difficult world. Easy to read, well illustrated with photographs, it is recommended highly for readers of all ages, and for your bookshelf.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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