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A Surplus of Memory: Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising [Hardcover]

Yitzhak ("Antek") Zuckerman , Barbara Harshav
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This absorbing, important memoir by a leader of the Jewish resistance in the Warsaw ghetto uprising is a great human drama that reaffirms the moral dignity and courage of ordinary people in the most extreme circumstances. Zuckerman (1915-1981), known by his underground pseudonym Antek, was a founder and commander of the Jewish Fighting Organization, which waged guerrilla warfare against the Nazis in April and May 1943. After the doomed uprising, he helped countless Jews who hid in "Aryanized" Warsaw. He and his wife, Zivia Lubetkin, a fellow resistance fighter, assisted the exodus of Jews to Palestine, where they themselves later emigrated. First published in Israel in 1991 and issued in this fluent translation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the uprising, Zuckerman's autobiographical narrative extends from the German invasion of Poland in 1939 to Polish pogroms against Jews in 1946. The book sheds invaluable light on Jewish resistance to the Nazis and on Jewish-Polish relations. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Zuckerman, known by his underground name, Antek, was one of the leaders of the Jewish Fighting Organization who directed the uprising, from the outside, in the Warsaw ghetto in 1944. He remained in Poland until early 1947, organizing emigration to Palestine, where he then settled until his death in 1981. When his memoirs first appeared in Hebrew two years ago, they were harshly criticized for their rambling character and criticism of the tactics and strategy of the Jewish underground--criticisms that seem misplaced. Zuckerman is certainly bitter and argues convincingly that if the Jewish Fighting Organization had focused on deterring Jewish collaboration, the deportation of the Jews would have been more difficult to carry out. Interestingly, Zuckerman, who had access, is much less critical than most Jewish historians of Polish behavior in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. His memoirs will be essential reading for those interested in the Jewish tragedy during World War II.
- Antony Polonsky, Brandeis Univ., Watham, Mass.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A valuable, remarkably full memoir by the last commander of the Jewish Fighting Organization, who helped lead the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Polish Uprising, and subsequent efforts to rescue Jews during and after WW II. Known to anyone familiar with Holocaust or resistance literature by his underground name of ``Antek,'' Zuckerman (1915- 81) displays an amazing memory for wartime names, dates, places, and political nuances. (The title will ring ironically true for readers who don't share his obsession with political and organizational minutiae.) The narrative--ably edited and translated by Judaica-scholar Harshav--is based on transcripts of tape recordings, in Hebrew, that Zuckerman agreed to make only after the Yom Kippur War of 1973. While there's actually far from a surplus of poignant memories here, there are enough to carry the motivated reader--including recollections of the footsteps of Zuckerman's father as he walked away for the last time, of the despair of feeling like ``a rear guard in the parade of death,'' and of the subsequent exhilaration at killing Germans and surviving to strike again. The most compelling aspects of the endless political intrigue involve fluctuating relationships with right- and left- wing Polish militias, clashes with Jewish ghetto police, and ambivalence toward the Zionist underground's leadership in Palestine. One steady but passionless relationship concerns fellow Jewish Fighting Organization leader Zivia Lubetkin, whom Zuckerman ended up marrying. The meticulously detailed record of a selfless, highly organized man who rose to challenge our century's ultimate chaos and depravity. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

"A powerful and poignant antidote to the image of the helpless victim. . . . An encyclopedic record, based on personal experience from 1939 to 1946." -- Jewish Forward

"The book is labeled a "Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising", but it is much more than that. It is a chronicle of the martyrdom of Polish Jewry, which had its roots in Poland going back five centuries, and its efforts to avoid extermination against impossible odds. . . . It is one of the most authentic accounts of the period by one of its key actors. . . . For historians it is a priceless document. And it comes at a time when anti-Semitic slogans again reverberate through the streets of some German towns and swastikas are painted on Jewish graves." -- The Washington Times

About the Author

Yitzhak Zuckerman ("Antek"), 1915-1981, was the last commander of the Jewish Fighting Organization. After World War II he assisted the exodus of surviving Jews to Palestine, where he also emigrated. His memoirs were published in Israel in 1991. Barbara Harshav, who has taught history at various universities and at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, is the translator of several books, including Jewish Memories (from French, California, 1990) and American Yiddish Poetry (from Yiddish, with Benjamin Harshav, California, 1986).
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