Bryks, the author of this Holocaust memoir, was among the most important writers in Yiddish literature. This is the first English translation of his travails as a prisoner of the Nazis, from his time in the Lodz ghetto from 1940 to 1944, to his subsequent deportation to Auschwitz and his later imprisonment in other concentration camps. A writer in the humanistic tradition, Bryks's tribulation under the Nazis reveals a writer focused on the humanity of his fellow prisoners and the evil he encountered among his captors. The triptych memoir is written in almost documentary prose, first detailing his life in the Polish shtetl Skarżysko-Kamienna, where he describes the folkways and traditions of an orthodox Jewish community that the Nazis would soon destroy. Thrust into the Lodz ghetto in May 1940, the author and his fellow Jews faced uncertainty, confusion, and physical hardship. In recounting his incarceration in Auschwitz, Bryks is relentless in his descriptions of mass starvation, illness, and the fear of imminent death, but also of moments of connection and courage amid these extreme conditions. Following his liberation, Bryks found his way to the US, where he raised a family and continued to publish his poems and other works in Yiddish. The memoir also includes an invaluable glossary. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers, graduate students, faculty, and professionals.
Translator Yermiyahu Ahron Taub has crafted an English version of Bryks’ work which flows seamlessly and at the same time preserves the stylistic nuances of Bryks’ unique prose. Thoroughly useful is the glossary of personalities mentioned in the text. In the epilogue, the reader is also privy to an affectionate personal portrait of Rachmil Bryks, written by his daughter, Bella Bryks-Klein. Indeed, this new edition is a respectful tribute to a remarkable man and important Yiddish writer who himself embodied the destroyed civilization of Polish Jewry.
...For the many readers who have never heard of Bryk, I beseech you to get this volume. You are likely tofeel as I do, that here is a rare thing, a genuine writer who is ours, writes in Yiddish, although the material belongs to all humanity.
Read the full review here: https://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2233&context=ree
10/20/2020 - The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) hosted translator Yermiyahu Ahron Taub and the original author’s daughter, Bella Bryks-Klein, for a Book Talk on their YouTube channel. Link: https://youtu.be/aXhbnVYPkwY
9/22/2020 - The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research live-streamed a talk with translator Yermiyahu Ahron Taub and the original author’s daughter, Bella Bryks-Klein, on their YouTube channel. Link: https://youtu.be/L4mhtSFzX8A