Thursday, April 1, 2010

Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family's Correspondence from Poland, ed. by Christopher Browning, Richard Hollander, and Nechama Tec, 2007

"It is hard to find a book that surprises us with new details about the Holocaust. This collection is such a book, adding significant detail to the individual stories that constitute the Holocaust . . . " Holli Levitsky from a review in the Journal for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

These moving family letters, covering the period from 1939-1942, are from members of the Hollander family who lived in Cracow, Poland, to Joseph Hollander, their son, brother, brother-in-law and uncle, who had escaped to the U.S. They were found in New York by Richard Hollander at the death of his father, Joseph Hollander, who was the only member of his immediate family to survive the Holocaust.

The letters reveal a family whose only hope is Joseph Hollander who managed to leave Poland in 1939. Their letters become more and more desperate. We learn about the increasingly harsh conditions under which they lived and their attempts to make contact with friends and relatives elsewhere to try to find a route out. We learn about others in their situation as well, who tried to use any means they could to leave Cracow and to communicate with relatives who left before they did.

At the same time that Joseph is trying to find a way to get his family out of Cracow, we learn about Joseph Hollander's "statelesss" status here in America and his struggle to avoid deportation. His case became celebrated and the ongoing court proceedings covered in the daily newspapers.

The letters are preceded in the book by three essays. The first, an essay entitled “Joe” by Richard Hollander, focuses on his father’s arrival in the States and gives us an overview of his family’s situation in Poland when the war broke out. His essay is followed by one by Christopher Brown a professor/ Holocaust scholar called “The Fate of the Jews of Cracow Under Nazi Occupation.” The third essay, “Through the Eyes of the Oppressed,” is by Nechama Tec, also a professor/Holocaust scholar. The essays by Brown and Tec contextualize the letters by filling in historical background about the German occupation, the creation of the Cracow Ghetto, and the proliferation of transport, labor and extermination camps.

The memoir contains family photos and an index.
To search the Cracow Ghetto Register on the site click here

Sol and Berta (Beila) Hollander
    Amalia (Mania) - their daughter; married to Salo (Gabryel) Nachtigall;
        Ignacy  - Amalia and Salo’s son
    Klara – their daughter; married to Dawid Wimisner;
        Eugenia (Genka)  and Lusia (Dola) -  Klara and Dawid’s daughters
    Dola  – their daughter; widow of Henek Stark; married Munio Blaustein (Brandsdorfer)
    Joseph (Joziu) Arthur Hollander – their son; escaped to US; receiver of letters
    Felicia (Lusia) Schreiber – his first wife; divorced & re-married; 2nd husband – Julius Deutsch
    Vita Fischman– Joseph’s second wife
         Richard Hollander – son of Richard and Vita; inherited letters; editor of book
             Hillary and Craig – his children
    Paul Schreiber – cousin of Joseph Hollander’s 1st wife Felicia
    Emile Deligtisch – cousin of Joseph Hollander’s 1st wife, Felicia
    Janek Schreiber – cousin of Joseph Hollander’s 1st wife, Felicia;
Rosa Weiss Kohn – sister of Joseph’s mother; had 4 married daughters;
    S. Sidney Goodman – a son-in-law of Rosa Weiss Kohn;
    Leo Hollander – Joseph Hollander’s cousin; married with a son
    Paula – Leo’s wife
Paula . . . – Leo Hollander’s sister; divorced with a son, named Curt
Adele . . . cousin of Joseph Hollander’s 1st wife Felicia; sister to Leo and Paula
Franka – Joseph Hollander’s wife Felicia’s sister;
Arthur Blaustein – brother of Joseph’s sister’s husband Munio;
Regine Hutschnecker – Joseph Hollander’s brother-in-law Munio Blaustein’s sister, a widow; has son, Kurt

Refugees from Cracow already in US known to the Hollanders:
Leo Kauffman; Mr. Zimberknopf; Dr. Nalu Stein; S. Bilki; Emmanuel Birnbaum, NY (cousin of Birnbaums in Cracow who sent two daughters Ursula and Ruth on the Kindertransport to England); Mack Liebeskind; Dr. and Mrs. Tertlebaum

Arnold Spitzman – unrelated 14-year old boy who escaped to US with Joseph and Felicia; son of Maximilian; married twice; had two daughters.
Henrik and Felicia Spitzman – aunt and uncle of Arnold and Anita Spitzman

Jacob Lesser – the lawyer representing stateless Joseph, Felicia and Arnold in the US
Sol Bloom – a US congressman helpful with the Hollanders’ illegal status in the US
Archibald and Ida Silverman – philanthropists from Rhode Island who lobbied on Hollanders’ behalf

Samuel Mandelbaum – judge in NY involved in the Hollanders’ petition to stay in the US
Alexander Gross – involved in legal case brought by a third party against Joseph Hollander

Richard Abramowicz and wife –refugees from Poland with passports for Honduras;

Cracow survivors mentioned: Felicja Schachter-Karay; Miriam Akavia;
Hela Schupper-Rufeisen  (resister); Szai Dreiblatt, (resister)
Cracow residents mentioned who were killed: Mordechai Gebirtig, poet; Szymek (Malek) and Gusta (Justyna) Draenger, resisters;Aaron Liebeskind , a resister;
Hela Schupper-Rufeisen – a resister in Cracow, a survivor

Cracow, Poland
The Jewish ghetto in Cracow
Various transit, labor and extermination camps

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