Page 210 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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A volume of wider range is the collection about
H o ro d e n k o
edited by the poet Shimshon Meltzer and published in T e l Aviv
in 1963. It is in quarto format and has 430 double column pages.
It is bilingual, with a brief introduction in English. Many col-
laborated in its production, but the effort was worthwhile. The
history of the city and its rich religious and cultural life are de-
scribed. There are also essays about the various political move-
ments, educational trends, personalities and recollections. There
is a list of all people who perished at the hands of the Germans.
Th e late Moses Einhorn, who edited a Hebrew medical journal,
also edited the impressive Wolkovisker Yizkor book. It was pub-
lished in New York in 1949. T h e two volumes comprise 990
pages. A lthough it is a collective effort, the editor himself wrote
a 344 page study about the town, its institutions and personali-
ties. Dr. Einhorn also included a 90 page summary in English
of his monograph about his native town.
Significance of Memorial Books
From the brief summaries of the books selected and mentioned,
a pattern of what these volumes constitute appears. T h e volumes
disclose a history of the towns, although it is not always written
objectively. There are recollections and aura of nostalgia in these
memoirs. From the articles about everyday life in the
sh te t l
and
from the reports about the institutions, political and cultural
movements, one can obtain a very good impression o f the way
o f life. For the anthropologist, for the folklorist, there is a great
deal of authentic information.
From the personal records of the survivors one gets a compre-
hensive report of what actually happened when this flourishing
life was crushed and the bearers of that unique civilization were
destroyed. For those historians who aim to present objective,
scholarly studies about the Holocaust there is abundant material.
Th is material, written by survivors, should be critically evalu-
ated and utilized for further studies. For the professional his-
torian, many of the accounts may seem contradictory, but essen-
tially they are not. The murder of the Jews was carried out in
various ways and by many methods, and in the same town various
modes were employed. T h e honest and objective historian can
not afford to ignore this rich source of information. Thus far the
histories of the Holocaust are of poor quality because this source
material has not been adequately utilized. T h e conflicting ac-
counts should in no way prevent the historian from making use
of them and from arriving at an objective appraisal of the events.
Preparatory to a final evaluation of Jewish behavior in the
ghettos and concentration camps, the historian is duty bound