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The International School for Holocaust Studies

New Yad Vashem Publications

The Fire and the Light

The Fire and the Light

Herman Kahan

Chaim Hersh Kahan is from Elie Wiesel's home town of Sighet, Transylvania. His happy prewar childhood and yeshiva studies were disrupted when he was closed into the ghetto and then transported to Auschwitz. He survived selection by Mengele, along with his father, and entered slave labor in Wolfsberg and Ebensee. Sustained by his father's spiritual strength, Kahan survived and was eventually liberated. The book is both a memorial for his family and a "thank you letter" to Norway, an acknowledgment of the decency of some human beings. Foreword by Elie Wiesel.

Mama, It will Be Alright

Mama, It will Be Alright

Sol Silberzweig

The youngest of seven children, Sol Silberzweig was born in Warsaw in 1917 to a traditional Jewish family. When the war broke out in 1939, trapped in the Warsaw ghetto, Sol met a childhood sweetheart, Gittel. Their lives were intertwined throughout the war as both went from concentration camp to concentration camp. At war's end, traveling all around Europe, Sol found Gittel, and the couple married. Arriving in the U.S., Sol set up a fur business and, fighting the American unions along the way, established a successful international business. Tragically, while on a business trip in Germany, Gittel was killed in a car accident. This book is dedicated to the memory of Szulem and Gittel Silberzweig.

By the Grace of Strangers

By the Grace of Strangers: Two Boys' Rescue during the Holocaust

Gabriel Mermall and Norbert J. Yasharoff

This volume consists of two memoirs. The first is Seeds of Grace: The Diary of Gabriel Mermall. This diary relates the story of Gabor Mermelstein (Gabriel Mermall) as a slave laborer in the Hungarian military's Labor Service, and his rescue in 1944 together with his young son. Unable to rescue his wife, who was deported to Auschwitz, Gabor hid with his son in the Ruthenian forests. A poor Hungarian lumberjack, Ivan Gartner, generously supplied then with food for more than six months and ultimately hid them in his hayloft.

The second memoir in this volume is Reaching the Light at the End of the Tunnel, by Norbert Yasharoff. As an eleven-year-old, Yasharoff was forced to move with his family to the Sofia ghetto, an experience that inspired him to express himself through poetry. The family was later evicted to Pleven and, following the war, lived under Communist rule in Sofia. Norbert assisted his father, an attorney, in the postwar defense of Dimitur Peshev, who had been instrumental in preventing the deportation of Bulgarian Jews to death camps. Yasharoff relates his experiences as a student and writer at Sofia University, and then of his immigration to Israel.

On the Fields of Loneliness

On the Fields of Loneliness

Hersch Altman

This is the remarkable memoir of a young boy who survived the murders of his father, mother and three sisters and the destruction of his hometown, while evading his pursuers during the Holocaust. Born to an affluent merchant and Jewish community leader, Hersch Altman vividly depicts his early years in Brzezany, and recounts in vibrant detail the hardships his family endured during the Soviet occupation. He goes on to relate the brutality of the Nazi occupation, the intolerable life in the ghetto, the horrors of the Aktionen and the ingeniously constructed bunker in which he hid and managed to elude the Nazis. The reader cannot help but share in the author’s fears, sadness and loneliness in hiding – in barns, forests, fields and attics. The unanswerable question, “why me, G-d?” echoes throughout this gripping tale.

Fighting for Survival

Fighting for Survival

E. H. (Dan) Kampelmacher

This is the story of an eighteen-year-old boy who left his family and fled his native Vienna to Holland. There, as an illegal refugee, he was imprisoned in the state prison at Veenhuizen, where he wrote a diary relating his experiences. The book goes on to tell of his survival during the war – working on Dutch farms, acquiring forged documents from the underground and, from 1942, hiding in Charlotte van Dijk's home in Utrecht. In 1943, he worked for the Dutch Psychotecnic Foundation in Utrecht. Though his employers knew he was Jewish, they did not turn him in to the authorities. The diary ends on December 31, 1938, with the question "Where will I be next New Year's Eve?" The memoir completes this dramatic story.

An Arduous Road: Samuel Bak

An Arduous Road: Samuel Bak – 60 Years of Creativity

Edited by Yehudit Shendar

Viewers joining the six-decade-long journey of Samuel Bak's works are presented with a multi-faceted experience – an encounter with an artist dealing head-on with the basic question of "how" underlying the language of art; with an artist debating himself about the abstract; and with the figurative and the gamut between them.

Like many of his fellow survivors, Bak at first wrapped himself in silence, seeking to forge for himself an Israeli identity after his immigration to the country in 1948. Gradually, as his path took him across countries and continents, he shed the cloak of silence until he felt that he could no longer keep the burden locked inside. Thus began a journey of a different kind. His varying stylistic periods reveal an artist capable of producing fine pencil drawings in the classical tradition, as well as thick, layered oil brushstrokes of pasticcio color on large canvasses. Every period reveals a little but conceals twice as much about the man's inner burden. The journey and burden are shaped into a single identity which, while it may be paradigmatic, is nevertheless unique and private – the arduous road of Samuel Bak spanning sixty years of creativity.

Secret Intelligence and the Holocaust

Secret Intelligence and the Holocaust: Collected Essays from the Colloquium at the City University of New York

Edited by David Bankier

When and how did the Allies find out about the Holocaust? What were the intelligence sources that revealed the information? This collection of research studies digs deeply into this sensitive issue, shedding new light on the extent to which the Allies understood what was happening in Nazi-occupied Europe during the Second World War. Most chapters are the product of research conducted by scholars from a variety of countries and institutions using intelligence records declassified by the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act in the United States and by the British government.

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