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This collective memoir—a mosaic of individual diaries, journals, and accounts—follows the fate of the Warsaw Jews from the first bombardments of the Polish capital to the razing of the Jewish district: the frantic exchange of apartments as the walls first go up; the daily battle against starvation and disease; the moral ambiguities confronting Jewish bureaucracies under Nazi rule; the ingenuity of smugglers; and the acts of resistance. Stunning in their immediacy, these urgent accounts challenge us to imagine the unimaginable.
"One can hardly imagine anything more authentic than these testimonials.. . .One has at times an almost theatrical sense of the many narrators stepping out individually from the darkness, each telling a piece of his or her story and then stepping back again." —Los Angeles Times
"One comes away from the book stunned by the remarkable energy and willingness to resist that so many demonstrated but haunted by the recognition of how little that resistance availed." —The New Yorker
"A devastating portrait. . . If one can read only one book on the Warsaw Ghetto, this is it." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
|1||Life Within the Walls||15|
|3||Roundups, Selections, and Deportations||101|
|4||Passive and Active Resistance Inside the Ghetto||205|
|5||On the Other Side of the Walls||305|
Posted December 6, 2011
Posted September 10, 2011
This book will shock and disturb you. It is intensely moving and terribly distressing. Words To Outlive Us is a living history with chronicles of human loss, disease, starvation, and degradation. These chronicles are unspeakable, inhuman, and indescribable.There are heart wrenching accounts of people suffering the loss of siblings, parents, and children; chilkdren torn from their mother's arms. It is a "carnival of horrors" describing shrivelled faces and empty stares of people who are alive but unable to walk;their mouths could no longer form words. You don't read this book; you live it. You can feel the emotional pain of persecution, fear, and despair. This is a must read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 26, 2007
In Michal Grynberg's mindblowing work 'Words To Outlive Us: Eyewitness Accounts of the Warsaw Ghetto', he presents the reader with a disturbing collection of testimonies written by Jews during the infamous days of Nazi occupied Poland. The stories collected here are all true and written by Jewish people, both survivor and victim, bearing witness to the tragedies inflicted upon their community by the vicious Nazi regime. Ripped out of their homes, nearly all of their possessions, including furniture, clothes, and jewelry stolen from them--the Jews of Warsaw were forced to live in an unbearingly crowded and filthy section of the city, referred to by everyone as the 'ghetto'. Completely unprepared for the horrors the Nazis had in store for them, many Jewish families kept hoping that the inevitable was untrue. Some still felt that the Germans couldn't possibly slaughter innocent people. But account after heartbreaking account testifies that that was exactly what they did. Men, women, the elderly, and even young children and babies were massacred in the most brutal of ways. Mothers had their children shot in front of their very eyes and whole families were sent to their deaths from a train station called 'Umschlangplatz' to the dreaded Treblinka and other concentration camps. The stories collected in this volume were written by Jewish people who before the war, came from a wide variety of professions and family backgrounds, but because of the Nazis, were joined with each other in a common struggle amidst the starvation and terror that was the Warsaw ghetto. From a young woman hiding in a bunker during the raging years of the war, trying to allay her misery with the written word and satire in the form of a weekly 'newsletter', to a haunted father distraught over the loss of his beloved wife and daughter to the death camps, these stories have been written by a people that witnessed the worst bestiality of modern times and determined throughout their struggle, to put down their experiences on paper for the world to one day discover. Completely stripped of their rights, the Jews of Warsaw were desperate for any work at all and proper documentation in order that their lives would be spared. Factories were set up to benefit the German war cause that employed the Jews of the ghetto, and the stories tell of the desperation of the average Jewish person to find at least, a fairly decent factory to work in, that as the Nazis routinely said, would spare them from the feared deportations. Lie after lie would be told to the Jews by the Nazis, that they would be 'resettled' to a different region and would work peacefully until the end of the war. This would always result in being transported to the death camps. In just one example such as the 'Hotel Polski' disaster, Jews were put up at a local hotel and given papers to safe countries to emigrate to, such as Latin America, France, and even America. Overjoyed at what they thought was a chance to escape, they rapidly discovered all too late that these promises were nothing but ploys to send them unknowingly to their deaths in the concentration camps. The Jews of the ghetto quickly learned never to believe the false promises of their German oppressors, and the vast majority began to build underground bunkers and various hiding places. A good deal of them even managed to escape beyond their confines to what was called the 'Aryan side' and live under assumed identities. Tragically, there were many more who never escaped. I felt when reading this book, that it was especially heart-breaking to know the names and personal histories of the Jews who experienced this unbelievable slaughter. These were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, and wives who saw first hand the virulent evil human beings can perpetrate against each other. Their lives are inspirational and tragic--both terrifying and victorious. For the common thread these people had, both survivor and victim alike, was a special spiriWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 10, 2013
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