A MORTUARY OF BOOKS by ELISABETH GALLAS~The rescue of Jewish Culture after the Holocaust~


The astonishing story of the efforts of scholars and activists to rescue Jewish cultural treasures after the Holocaust

In March 1946 the American Military Government for Germany established the Offenbach Archival Depot near Frankfurt to store, identify, and restore the huge quantities of Nazi-looted books, archival material, and ritual objects that Army members had found hidden in German caches. These items bore testimony to the cultural genocide that accompanied the Nazis’ systematic acts of mass murder. The depot built a short-lived lieu de memoire—a “mortuary of books,” as the later renowned historian Lucy Dawidowicz called it—with over three million books of Jewish origin coming from nineteen different European countries awaiting restitution.

A Mortuary of Books tells the miraculous story of the many Jewish organizations and individuals who, after the war, sought to recover this looted cultural property and return the millions of treasured objects to their rightful owners. Some of the most outstanding Jewish intellectuals of the twentieth century, including Dawidowicz, Hannah Arendt, Salo W. Baron, and Gershom Scholem, were involved in this herculean effort. This led to the creation of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction Inc., an international body that acted as the Jewish trustee for heirless property in the American Zone and transferred hundreds of thousands of objects from the Depot to the new centers of Jewish life after the Holocaust.

The commitment of these individuals to the restitution of cultural property revealed the importance of cultural objects as symbols of the enduring legacy of those who could not be saved. It also fostered Jewish culture and scholarly life in the postwar world.

Letters Never Sent:Amsterdam, Westerbork, Bergen-Belsen by: Mirjam Bolle

In 1943, Mirjam Levie, a young Jewish woman from Amsterdam began writing letters to her fiance’, Leo Bolle who had immigrated to Israel.

This book is a compilation of those letters that she never got to send. She was deported to Westerbork and then Bergen-Belsen and she wrote these letters during that time.

She managed to hide her letters and brought them with her when she was released.

She arrived to her fiance’ in Israel in 1944, and as the secretary of the “Jewish Council of Amsterdam,” she brought her letters forward which can be considered as both historical and personal documents.

A very heartfelt and unique look at this time in history.

This book can be purchased at the Yad Vashem on-line store for $18.00

Review of: PRELUDE TO MASS MURDER-The Pogrom in lasi, Romania by: Jean Ancel

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Romanian Jews are often overlooked when it comes to documenting the history of the Holocaust.

This book is well researched and in depth, and uncovers documents and stories that were hidden for 50 years.

Author Jean Ancel tracked down the documents even while being shadowed by Romanian secret police.

History must be preserved. Even the darkest days.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Yad Vashem. Here is the link for purchase:

http://secure.yadvashem.org/store/product.asp?productid=627 #YVstore

A must read for those interested in WWII History and the Holocaust. My review of: Miracle at Zakynthos by Deno Seder

51jdFD34ncL__AA160_As a Holocaust researcher, not even a whisper of this story had crossed my path. This is not just a story of heroes fighting evil and saving lives, this is an aptly titled booked, because the story it covers can be called nothing but a miracle.

The Greek Christian of Zakynthos, led by their Bishop and Mayor, hid the Jews and saved them from death. Not a single Jew was deported from this island!

All the Greek villagers knew the Jews were being hidden, yet not a single person said a word. Not a single soul.

Well researched and flawlessly written, this book is a must read for anyone who has an interest in WWII History and the Holocaust.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Here is the Amazon link for purchase:

Name Your Link

Jewish Presence in Absence (The Aftermath of the Holocaust in Poland 1944-2010) Edited by Feliks Tych and Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska

Jewish prescence in abscenceThis book is a thorough  and informative discussion and study of life in Postwar Poland.

Every day life did not just automatically begin again for survivors of the Holocaust.

Relationships, opinions and politics had all changed, and many returned without a home or job, or even the non-Jewish friends they once had.

Many Jewish Poles left belongings with non-Jewish friends, and upon going to retrieve these items, discovered the friend had often sold them, as they were not expecting their Jewish friend to survive or return.

This book also includes the shift in the approach of Jewish Culture after the 1970’s, and how this time in history is currently taught to today’s youth.

Detailed and exhaustively researched, this book of discussion is a combination of articles that were presented at an international conference at Yad Vashem in October 2010.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Holocaust, as there are few volumes of work out there that detail life, politics, and policies, after the war was over.

I received this book from Yad Vashem in exchange for an honest review.

Here is the purchase link


The Struggle of Identity and Belonging for Survivors of the Holocaust

Holocaust coverI received this book on behalf of Yad Vashem in return for an honest review. It will be available for purchase on September 20, 2014 at Amazon. This books contains heavily researched essays of those who survived the Holocaust, who struggled with their identity and searched for their unique voice. It covers the loss of their traditions and search for a meaningful life. Well rounded excellent research. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this period of History, and it would be a good starter book for those just stepping into these types of readings. So many books cover the time pre-Holocaust and there are many Diaries/Journals and writings of the Holocaust experience. This is a fresh take on the events following the conflict.


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