More information and sample text and photos available on the companion web site
Winner of the 2001-2002 National Jewish Book Award, Reference
Winner, Best Reference Resource, 2001, Library Journal
Winner, Editor's Choice Award, Reference, 2001, Booklist
Winner, Best Reference Book, 2001, Association of Jewish Libraries
New York University Press announces with pride the publication of a remarkable project, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust. Edited by Dr. Shmuel Spector and the late Dr. Geoffrey Wigoder and published in conjunction with Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Remembrance Authority of Israel, the Encyclopedia represents the fruit of more than three decades of labor and stands as one of the most important and ambitious projects the Press has published. Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel contributed the foreword.
Today throughout much of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, only fragmentary remnants of once thriving Jewish communities can be found as evidence of more than two thousand years of vibrant Jewish presence among the nations of the world. These communities, many of them ancient, were systematically destroyed by Hitler's forces during the Holocaust. Yet each of their stories-from small village enclaves to large urban centers-is unique in its details and represents one of the countless intertwined threads that comprise the rich tapestry of Jewish history.
The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust captures these lost images. In three volumes, it chronicles the people, habits and customs of more than 6,500 Jewish communities that thrived during the early part of the twentieth century only to be changed irrevocably by the war. It clarifies precise locations of settlements based on documents and maps found in recently opened archives; it traces their development through history; it shares small details of everyday life-the culture, the politics, and the faith that inspired the people; and its photographs put faces on the immeasurable loss.
Based on decades of research at Yad Vashem, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust tells the story of thousands of Jewish communities in concise prose, illustrated with maps and poignant images of a world that can no longer be visited. The Encyclopedia is a rich source of information for students, teachers, genealogists and anyone interested in the pageant of Jewish life through the ages.
From the Foreword
But the enemy did not only annihilate individuals; his aim was also to destroy our social structures, our economic foundations, religious and secular, our schools, our institutions, our libraries, our workshops, our synagogues, our cultural centers-in a word: our communities.
. . . In the Jewish world one knew a town by its Jewish life. Belz and Munkacs, Bialystok and Amsterdam, Kiev and Lille and Zablotow-offering families and individuals a sense of security and countless opportunities for fulfillment, each community had its own particular characteristics and problems, its roots, its challenges, and its ambitions. . . . To understand the extent of the unprecedented crimes committed against the Jewish people in Europe is not enough; one must also seek to understand the life of this people before the catastrophe. Elie Wiesel
-81/2 x 11
-More than 6,500 communities profiled
-600 b&w photographs and illustrations
-17 pages of maps
-Index of communities including alternate spellings and pronunciations
-Index of personalities
Go to companion web site