Jagendorf's Foundry: Memoir of the Romanian Holocaust, 1941-1944

Siegfried Jagendorf, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22.95 (209p) ISBN 978-0-06-016106-4
In the early 1940s Romania exiled 150,000 Jews to Transnistria, a war-devastated corner of the Nazi-occupied Soviet Ukraine. There Jagendorf, a failed Jewish entrepreneur, convinced the Nazis to let him convert a abandoned spare-parts factory into a Jewish labor colony. Outmaneuvering Romanian officials, he saved some 15,000 Jews from extermination. To many critics the resourceful engineer was a collaborator who usurped power to preserve his own life. This extraordinary document consists of Jagendorf's first-person narrative intertwined with commentary by Hirt-Manheimer, editor-in-chief of the Holocaust Library, who spent two years interviewing survivors and analyzing primary sources. Amplifying Jagendorf's self-portrayal as a stern but sympathetic paragon of virtue, Hirt-Manheimer points out flagrant abuses of power by Jagendorf's ghetto police. Yet the picture that emerges from this riveting, heartrending story is of a genuine hero who helped thousands survive by dint of his courage, wits and luck. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
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