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Holocaust Memorial

Holocaust Memorial Observance, 2009

In addition to all the events listed on the website, we also have these books available for checkout.  They are all by our guest speaker, Nechama Tec.  It also includes the book, Defiance, which has developed into a major motion picture, starring Daniel Craig (James Bond) .

Adult Reading

Dry Tears, the Story of a Lost Childhood – by Nechama Tec
Tec was hidden during the war---disguised as a Polish Christian, she lived with a variety of families before settling with a working-class family who also took in her parents (neither of whom spoke Polish well enough to "pass") and her sister.
What is most interesting (and depressing) about Tec's story is her slow realization that the family who took her in was anti-semetic. As a child, she experiences deep confusion about this and wonders how she should feel when the family compliments her by telling her that she is not "like a Jew." Her conflicted feelings about this family (she grows to love and respect them while at the same time being appalled by their prejudice) illustrate one of the greatest paradoxes regarding prejudices.

Defiance: The Bielski Partisans – by Nechama Tec
The prevailing image of European Jews during the Holocaust is one of helpless victims, but in fact many Jews struggled against the terrors of the Third Reich. In Defiance, Nechama Tec offers a riveting history of one such group, a forest community in western Belorussia that would number more than 1,200 Jews by 1944--the largest armed rescue operation of Jews by Jews in World War II. Tec reveals that this extraordinary community included both men and women, some with weapons, but mostly unarmed, ranging from infants to the elderly. She reconstructs for the first time the amazing details of how these partisans and their families--hungry, exposed to the harsh winter weather--managed not only to survive, but to offer protection to all Jewish fugitives who could find their way to them.

When Light Pierced the Darkness – Nechama Tec From Library Journal:
Saved by Christian Poles herself from almost certain death, Tec closely and dispassionately examines the phenomenon of the "righteous Christians," those individuals who, for whatever reason, risked their own lives to save the lives of Jews. She focuses exclusively on Poland, a country totally dominated by the Nazis and simultaneously burdened with its own long history of anti-Semitism. Tec interviewed numerous Jewish survivors and Polish rescuers. By supplementing these data with other published and unpublished sources, she offers valuable new insights into why certain individuals rose to the heights of human altruism in a milieu marked by human cruelty and barbarism. Her sociological approach is useful and remarkably unobtrusive.

Resilience and Courage – by Nechama Tec
The writer’s astonishing achievement is to show inherently depressing historical incidents through a series of admittedly small, but powerfully meaningful, everyday acts of resistance.
Ultimately, Tec's most impressive achievement within this elegantly written and extensively researched book is that she manages to weave literally hundreds of first-person accounts of individual suffering into a book that feels empowering to read. The courage of the women (and men as well) whose stories Tec tells is so beautifully human, even under the worst possible circumstances.

In the Lion’s Den: The Life of Oswald Rufeisin – by Nechama Tec
A Polish Jew imprisoned by the Nazis at age 18, he escaped and passed as a Catholic. Wearing a Nazi uniform as assistant to the German police chief in the Russian town of Mir, he aided Jews and non-Jews in evading the captors. He warned Mir's ghetto of its impending liquidation, gave its residents arms and helped 300 Jews escape. His deception discovered, Rufeisen fled to a convent and converted to Christianity; in 1943 he joined a Russian partisan brigade. After the war, he became a Carmelite monk, later a secular priest. Emigrating to Israel in 1962, Rufeisen, as Father Daniel, now leads the Jewish Christian Church