When They Came to Take My Father: Voices of the Holocaust

When They Came to Take My Father: Voices of the Holocaust

by Mark Seliger, Mark Seliger, Leora Kahn
     
 

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Fifty survivors of the Holocaust tell their stories in this unique compilation of text and superb portrait photographs of the survivors as they are now. Some endured concentration camps, some passed as non-Jews, some fled, some fought in the underground. From Germany to Greece, from Romania to Denmark, every country touched by the horror of the Holocaust is here.

Overview

Fifty survivors of the Holocaust tell their stories in this unique compilation of text and superb portrait photographs of the survivors as they are now. Some endured concentration camps, some passed as non-Jews, some fled, some fought in the underground. From Germany to Greece, from Romania to Denmark, every country touched by the horror of the Holocaust is here. Duotone illustrations throughout. Size C. 176 pp.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fifty Jewish men and women who survived the Holocaust-many in concentration camps, others as refugees, or in hiding, or as resistants-relate their experiences in this moving, powerful volume. Their searing first-person accounts, accompanied by black-and-white portrait photographs, tell of families pulverized, of loved ones murdered by the Nazis and of their quiet, determined day-to-day triumph over evil. Polish-born New Jersey builder Sol Urbeck, whose parents perished in the liquidated Krakow ghetto, worked in the Krakow factory supervised by German businessman Oskar Schindler (the focus of Steven Spielberg's film Schindler's List). Journalist Ernst Michel, who escaped from Auschwitz in 1945, became the only Holocaust survivor to serve as a reporter at the Nuremburg trials. ``Everybody thinks freedom is something inborn, but it isn't. It is something that has to be taught and experienced,'' declares retired family court judge Gertrud Mainzer, a survivor of Bergen-Belsen. An extraordinary testament to the human spirit, this album includes short, impassioned essays by novelist Anne Roiphe, Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, social psychologist Eva Fogelman and others. Kahn is a photo editor; Hager, herself a child of survivors, is an editor at Parents; Seliger is chief photographer for Us and Rolling Stone. (Feb.)
Library Journal
This photo essay is composed of 46 interviews with Holocaust survivors. Photographs and brief biographic information about each survivor accompany the text. The volume also contains a superb introduction by Robert J. Lifton as well as essays by such figures as Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, Abraham Foxman, and Anne Roiphe. The interviews and the excellent photographs of the survivors bring to life the memories of this unspeakable time. For example, a man who later became the Danish ambassador to the United Nations writes of helplessly watching relatives being taken away by the Nazis but being unable to help for fear of capture. A baker from Poland now living in Houston writes of the terror he felt when the German army first entered his town. All in all, the narratives and photographs are a stark and haunting memorial to those who witnessed evil beyond description. Recommended for all popular and Judaica collections.-Mark Weber, Kent State Univ. Lib., Ohio
Booknews
In the same way that the AIDS quilt stuns by its "naming" of victims, this photographic chronicle, accompanied by survivors' vignettes and essays, gives a face to the Holocaust's horror. The black and white portraits taken by Rolling Stone photographer Mark Seliger are quiet masterpieces, and the reminisces of the 50 people he immortalizes are so simple, so matter of fact, they attain a power no historical study or statistical table could ever hope to achieve. The volume also features essays by Anne Roiphe, Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, Yaffa Eliach, Eva Fogelman, and Abe Foxman. No index or bibliography. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
George Cohen
Forty-seven Holocaust survivors from Hungary, Denmark, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Poland, Bulgaria, Germany, and other European countries were interviewed for this work. Among others, they include a carpenter, a UN ambassador, a U.S. congressman, a child psychologist, a journalist, a concertmaster, a housewife, a poet, a baker, an accountant, an architect, and an artist. They survived Auschwitz (where one interviewee, with her twin brother, was part of SS Dr. Josef Mengele's medical experiments), Bergen-Belsen, Theresienstadt, Ravensbruck, Westerbork, Dachau, the Warsaw and Lodz ghettos, and a dozen labor camps. One was saved by Raoul Wallenberg, another by Oskar Schindler; one fled to Shanghai, another to Sweden. One hid in a convent; another posed as Polish nobility. Included in this very moving book are exceptional photographs of the survivors by Mark Seliger.
Kirkus Reviews
Seliger is a gutsy photographer. The startling initial image here is a harmonious alignment of four arms, unabashedly wrinkled and covered with age spots—and, more unusual, unabashedly displaying the numbers tattooed by the Nazis in their meticulous mania for keeping track of their victims. Seliger's subjects are gutsy, too—survivors of concentration camps and ghetto battles, refugees who fled to Shanghai and Switzerland, and a woman who was a subject of Mengele's "experiments." Their stories are at once familiar and shockingly new: a young girl who hid in the latrine at Auschwitz to sing Sabbath songs on Friday nights; a couple whose 13-month-old daughter was allowed to stay with them in Bergen- Belsen: "The first word my daughter Dorien spoke was `Achtung,' " says Rita Grunbaum. But most remarkable here are Seliger's photos: unsentimental portraits—some Avedon-style close-ups on white backgrounds; others more intimate and personal. Grunbaum and her daughter embrace, their placid, nearly identical features revealing nothing of their past, while Robert Melson's noble face makes it clear how he survived by posing as the son of a Polish countess. A bold use of typography complements these images, making this one of the most unusual memory books of the Holocaust. There is an introduction by Robert Jay Lifton.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781559703055
Publisher:
Arcade Publishing
Publication date:
01/17/1996
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
8.86(w) x 11.33(h) x 0.67(d)

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