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Yale University Press
Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust

Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300092776
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 09/28/2002
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 496
Product dimensions: 6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

Table of Contents

Editor's notexliii
1914-1939: A chronologyxlv
Map of Interwar Polandlii
The Autobiographies
1.S. Etonis3
Invasions during the World War
Traditional kheyder vs. progressive shule
Mother's death
Smuggling goods at the Russian border
Studying musar
A heretical friend
Reading forbidden literature
Self-education for gymnasium
Work as a teacher
Feuding parents
Homeless wandering
Life in an abandoned fortress
Feuding sisters
A mother's beating
Work in a bindery
Learning to read
Illegal political activism
Stealing across the border
Working in Vilna
Mother's death
3.A. Greyno51
A poor family
Learning to read from Father
Move to a city
Failed business ventures
Sexual awakening
Learning to sew
An anti-Semitic landlord
A murdered child? A special friend
Trade unionism
A revolutionary meeting on Yom Kippur
Political trials
Becoming a librarian
Arrest, torture and prison
Jean Christophe
Father's death
Yeshivas in Grodno and Radun
Corruption in yeshiva
Discovering secular literature
An unsuccessful love affair
Trapped in marriage to a rabbi's daughter
Contemplating suicide
Parental squabbles
A Jewish public school
Desecrating the Sabbath
Mother's early death
Joining an illegal political party
Life in a day orphanage
Chronic illness and a TOZ sanatorium
Working in a pharmacy
A dwindling family
Political disillusionment
Trade union activism
6.Ludwik Stockel141
The Russians attack
Saved by a nursemaid
Life on a rural estate
The local Polish public school
Gymnasium in Czortkow
Writing poetry
Summer romance
A school trip
A bicycle race
Unrequited love
A socialist and a Zionist
Law school in Lwow
Anti-Semitic violence
A pious mother, an intellectual father
Living with Grandmother
A religious upbringing
A rare eye disease
Blessing from the Hafetz Hayyim
Tarbut gymnasium in Vilna
Stealing books
A member of Betar
A leg infection
A nurse from Siberia
A Zionist hero
8.The Stormer226
Father's death
Moving to Lodz
Public school
Sex among yeshiva students
Political awakening
A revolutionary cell
Factory work
Illegal emigration to Palestine
Life on the road
Stealing across the border
Capture and imprisonment
Return home
9.G. S.263
Life on a rural estate
Public school
Attending commercial school
Relations between Poles and Jews
Life on hakhsharah
Failed aspirations
Work as a governess
An intellectual proletarian father
Mother's mental illness
Kheyder vs. public school
Studying the violin
Work as a musician
Economic woes
11.G. W.296
A shoemaker's son
Life in a small town
The family moves
Illness and recovery
Public school
A tailor's apprentice
Bundist youth movements
Normal family life
A hasidic family
Beys Yaakov school and Polish public school
Polish patriotism
Membership in Bnos Agudas Yisroel
A secret reader
Running a Beys Yaakov school
A forbidden friendship
Provincial anti-Semitism
Discovering socialism
13.J. Harefuler344
Inferiority complexes
Kheyder and progressive Jewish elementary school
Mother's death
Work as a shoemaker
A frustrated actor's death
Camping trips
The Joint Distribution Committee
A Jewish citizen in Poland
A rabbi's daughter
Polish elementary school
A community feud
The commercial gymnasium
Work as a tutor
Zionist politics
A poem by Julian Tuwim
A poor family
Delivering milk
Public school
Street life
Shady dealings in a dye factory
A bootmaker's apprentice
A trip to Lodz
Betar, then the Bund
Leading a successful strike
Appendix IPersonalities423
Appendix IIOrganizations430

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Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
meggyweg on LibraryThing 30 days ago
For three years during the 1930s, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research asked Jewish youth between 16 and 22 to write their biographies and send them in for research purposes. They offered a substantial cash prize to the author of the best one. Mostly it was Polish Jews who responded. Fifteen of these autobiographies are included in this book. The writers were anonymous, using pseudonyms and disguising details like their hometowns so they could write frankly without worrying what others would think.What made the biggest impression on me was the sheer difficulty of life in Poland during that time. Most of the biographers in this book were poor, some abjectly so, experiencing hunger and outright starvation. It was difficult to get an education -- elementary school was free but textbooks were not; high schools charged tuition and were only in large cities, so students from villages had to leave home to go. Workers were paid low wages and often mistreated. I could understand why Communism held such great attraction for people in the thirties.Of course, it is hard to read these accounts and not think of these young people's eventual fate. The epilogue says they were able to identify a few of the authors and most did not survive the war.They will probably not interest the ordinary reader, but they are invaluable for people who want to know what Jewish life was like in Poland between the wars. Those few Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust and wrote their memoirs tended to wax nostalgic about their prior lives and their murdered families; the young people who wrote their autobiographies for YIVO had more reason to be honest. This is a very important historical document.