Page 208 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

Basic HTML Version

J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
188
volume. Apparently some of the books mentioned here can be
classified technically as Yizkor books; the majority, however,
deal not only with the destruction o f European Jewry but also
with Jewish life prior to the Holocaust.
Selected Yizkor Volumes
It seems that Abraham Shmuel Hershberg (1858-1943) who
had devoted a lifetime to Biblical studies had a premonition
of the impending doom of Jewish life in Bialystok, which im-
pelled him to abandon his previous work and concentrate on
recording for posterity the life of the Jews in this great center
of Jewish life. He collected and systematized vital materials
which he succeeded in mailing to New York before the out-
break of World War II. The manuscript was edited by Yudel
Mark and published by the Bialystok Jewish Historical Society
in two volumes (New York, 1949 and 1950). A more ambitious
task was undertaken by Jacob Shatzky in writing a history of the
Jews in Warsaw. Unfortunately Shatzky did not complete his
work, only three volumes were published which bring the story
of Warsaw’s Jewry up to 1896. Nonetheless this work, published
in New York, 1947-1953, constitutes a major achievement in Jew-
ish historiography. In Jacob Shatzky’s three volumes we have
the rise and development of the greatest Jewish city in Europe.
From bits and fragments he constructed a magnificent opus.
Jewish life in Warsaw in the twentieth century and its oblitera-
tion are memorialized in a number of Yizkor books—as in the
previously mentioned series:
E n c y c lo p ed ia o f the Jew ish D ia spo ra
(Hebrew). The volume about Warsaw was edited by Yitshak
Greenbaum (Tel Aviv, 1953). It contains important studies by
I. Greenbaum, J. Leshtsinski, Z. Turkov, R. Vulman, N . Blumen-
thal, Rachel Auerbach, Joseph Kermish and others. In the series
issued by the Rabbi Kook Institute a special volume was pub-
lished about Warsaw (T e l Aviv, 1948). Written by David Flinker
w ith an introduction by Rabbi Shlomo David Kohana, the last
rabbi of Warsaw, it chronicles the history of the Jewish commu-
nity from the beginning to the tragic end.
A collection of encyclopedic scope about Warsaw was published
in Buenos Aires in 1955. It was edited by the late essayist, Yiddish
translator of Don Quixote and editor, Pinie Katz. T h e volume
consists of 1352 tightly set columns. Various previous studies are
included as are new monographs by a number of scholars, some
with leftist sympathies. It presents a picture of this great Jewish
metropolis, with emphasis upon the cultural and secular life.
In order to limn a sketch of what these Yizkor books consti-
tute, we w ill delineate the contents of a few typical books in these
collections.