Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yizkor books open window on lost world


From the Jewish Review:


A new exhibit at Portland State University’s Branford P. Millar Library tells the stories of Eastern European Jews and their communities destroyed in the Holocaust.
“Of Place and Memory: The Yizkor Book as a Window into a World Destroyed” will be on view in the Millar Library (1875 SW Park Ave.) from Sept. 16 to Dec. 16, and is the result of a first-time collaboration between the PSU Library and the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies.
The University Library’s Special Collections will display a grouping of Yizkor books that were assembled by survivors from all over Eastern Europe to document their lives, those of their lost family members and friends and their obliterated shtetls.
Part memoir, part family tree, part family photo album, Yizkor books tell not only of a people and culture destroyed, but also of a people’s renewal and post-1945 regeneration that followed in Israel and the Diaspora.
The books, usually composed in Hebrew, Yiddish, or a combination of the two languages, include black-and-white maps hand-drawn from survivors’ memories, photos of family members and stories of community activities. Each book is a rare and powerful experience into the collective memory of a world that no longer exists.
Click here for the entire article and here to visit JewishGen's Yizkor Book project.

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