From That Place and Time: A Memoir, 1938-1947

Lucy S. Dawidowicz, Author
Lucy S. Dawidowicz, Author W. W. Norton & Company $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-393-02674-0
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
In this deeply moving personal reminiscence, eminent historian Dawidowicz ( The War Against the Jews ) recounts the year she spent in Vilna, Poland, shortly before barbaric German troops swept in and murdered nearly all of that city's 60,000 Jews. Vilna no longer exists--Vilnius, the present-day capital of Soviet Lithuania, contains hardly a trace of the former city, which makes this poignant memoir all the more valuable. In 1938, Dawidowicz, a disillusioned 23-year-old radical and ex-communist of Polish-Jewish ancestry, embarked from New York for YIVO, Vilna's famed Yiddish Scientific Institute, to study Jewish history. Beggars filled the streets as the Poles' vicious anti-Semitic policies and actions accelerated pauperization of the Jews. Back in New York, working for YIVO's American branch, the author watched with rage and anguish as Europe's Jews were massacred and most of her Vilna friends murdered. She returned to occupied Germany in 1946, to work with Holocaust survivors in displaced-person camps. Her piercingly eloquent narrative gives us a sharp first-hand impression of a world in ruins and of the irreparable losses suffered by European Jewry. (May)
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