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We learn about life before and after the Nazis invade Strzegowo by hearing from the survivors. Their stories give a glimpse into what life was like and how the Jewish community reacted as life was forever changed for everyone in that town. Today, there are no Jews in Strzegowo. All but a handful were killed by Hitler's "final solution" and those who survived did not return. It is hard to imagine the atrocities committed by the German fascists but this book takes you one step at a time through that period of history.
All of the Jews were sens to the death camps were not sent at once. There was a long process that included making them virtual slaves for the ethnic German population in Strzegowo, establishing ghettos where they were forced to live, and executions for offences like possessing a loaf of bread. The brutalization continued for years until most of the population was shipped by train to Auschwitz. There, one of the young men was forced to work piling bodies into the ovens. The experience was worse than death itself and he decided to voluntarily join the line to the gas chambers. These images are hard to imagine but impossible to forget.
Gene Bluestein has produced a testimonial that I will always remember.
Mike Rhodes Editor Labor/Community Alliance Newsletter P.O. Box 5077 Fresno Ca 93755...
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Bluestein has done more than simply provide a handy guide to common -- and not-so-common -- Yiddish and Yiddish-influenced terms and phrases. He has given all readers a chance to learn a little about Jewish-American culture and a little about their own. Each entry includes notes on common usage, probable origins, and best of all, humor. Anecdotes, quotes, and dialogues illustrate these words and phrases in use or in principle, and grant what I have always seen as the surest insight into any culture: what makes them laugh. When neighbors can laugh together, they often find that there are other great values they share, in spite of whatever differences seem to seperate them. You may be surprised to find just how much your own sense of humor owes to Jewish culture -- from Bugs Bunny to the Marx Brothers and far, far more. Indeed, you may be surprised just how much of your common speech is glorious Yinglish. I know I was.
Well, eventually I did hand the book over to that friend, but not before learning something about her heritage, and, inevitably, my own; and not before having some of the heartiest laughs in a long time. And I think I can safely say that she enjoyed it as much as I.
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