Founded in 1897, the Jewish-American newspaper the Forward was in its heyday of the 1920s a powerhouse daily Yiddish newspaper with a larger circulation than the New York Times. Drawn from a treasure trove of 40,000 photos, the pre-1925 pictures are the most gripping here, depicting New York's pushcart-teeming Lower East Side, soldiers in the czar's army celebrating a seder, Polish pogrom victims, and men who deserted their families in America—printed to aid in tracking them down. Pictures from 1926 through 1945 show Yiddish theater's "royal" couple, Bessie and Boris Thomashefsky; a Jewish portrait artist sketching Mussolini; and an emaciated Jewish orphan being rescued from an Auschwitz crematorium by former Jewish inmates after the Nazis' retreat. Later decades show Bess Myerson, the first Jewish Miss America, and Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, but also a disturbing 1986 visual of a neo-Nazi computer game. Notable recent photos depict a New Orleans synagogue that was flooded after Katrina, and a Kraków souvenir stand offering yarmulkes and wooden klezmer figures, emblematic of the 1990s preoccupation with all things Jewish in European areas where Jews were largely exterminated in WWII. Gathered by Forward arts & culture editor Newhouse, this is a worthy, provocative group portrait of modern Jewish life in all its misery and glory. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Not only an amazing book, but an invaluable artifact and a work of art.
The title couldn't be more apt—'living' is the key to this glorious photographic history....Viewing the Forward archives, accompanied by their complicated voices, is a great, unsettling, sensual and intelligent joy.”
Each picture is worth well more than a thousand words. They provide a window to important times in our history that are long gone but will live in our hearts and minds forever.
If a photograph of the Jewish soul exists, it will be discovered in the metal filing cabinets of the Forward. Until then, we have this book: here is what it looked like, and how it felt, to be a Jew in the Twentieth Century.”