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The House at Ujazdowskie 16

Jewish Families in Warsaw after the Holocaust

Karen Auerbach

Publication Year: 2013

In a turn-of-the-century, once elegant building at 16 Ujazdowskie Avenue in the center of Warsaw, 10 Jewish families began reconstructing their lives after the Holocaust. While most surviving Polish Jews were making their homes in new countries, these families rebuilt on the rubble of the Polish capital and created new communities as they sought to distance themselves from the memory of a painful past. Based on interviews with family members, intensive research in archives, and the families' personal papers and correspondence, Karen Auerbach presents an engrossing story of loss and rebirth, political faith and disillusionment, and the persistence of Jewishness.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: The Modern Jewish Experience

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ii-iv


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p. ix-ix

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pp. xi-xiv

This project has benefited from the assistance and generosity of many individuals. I would like first of all to express my gratitude to Antony Polonsky, whose guidance and wealth of knowledge as my doctoral advisor at Brandeis University influenced every aspect of this book. David Cesarani, ChaeRan Freeze, Seamus O’Hanlon, Jonathan Plaut, Jonathan ...

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Residents of 16 Ujazdowskie Avenue

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pp. xv-xx

Adlers (apartment 9) Emil Adler, coeditor of Marxist-Leninist literature, with Stefan Bergman, for the Book and Knowledge publishing house until 1950 and professor of Marxist philosophy at Warsaw University. Born Mendel Adler in 1906 in Tarnów to Markus and Helena Adler and raised in Brody. Emil emigrated from Poland with his family to Göttingen, Germany ...

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pp. 1-13

At dawn one morning in October 1945, eleven-year-old Zofia Bergman arrived with her mother, Aleksandra, by train into Warsaw, the demolished capital of liberated Poland, after a long journey from the Soviet Union. The cold days of early winter had already set in. Mother and daughter walked through rubble-lined streets, past skeletons of buildings...

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Chapter One. History Brushed Against Us

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pp. 14-29

Five months before Aleksandra Bergman and her daughter Zofia took a train from the Soviet Union across the rubble of the Polish landscape in October 1945, their future neighbor Eugenia Adler walked to freedom through the gates of the Nazi concentration camp Gross-Rosen in Germany. When the Red Army liberated the camp that May, she was ...

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Chapter Two. The Families of 16 Ujazdowskie Avenue, 1900–1948

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pp. 30-54

In 1930, Barbara H. arrived in Warsaw at twenty-three years old, yearning for knowledge and access to the wider world. The Polish capital was still an impressive European city then, its avenues lined with ornate buildings and the pastels of its medieval old town lending it a quaint atmosphere. The trip from Barbara’s hometown of Końskie to ...

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Chapter Three. The Entire Nation Builds Its Capital

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pp. 55-82

The Jewish quarter in Warsaw occupied one-fifth of the city, two-hundred fifty thousand people were concentrated there, so one-third of the city’s residents. . . . This little world seemed very big to me. I admired the passageway of Friedman on Swiętojerska [Street] with an exit onto Wałowa [Street]. It was possible to live there without going out onto the street at all. There were two prayerhouses, ...

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Chapter Four. Stamp of a Generation

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pp. 83-112

“There exists in humanity a desire, inherited from generations long dead, to display heroism. Those who have no opportunity to do that elsewhere come to us. It is the ‘professional’ revolutionary type that does that mostly, a type very common among us Jews. With us this desire is a desire for martyrdom inherited from our forefathers, a natural need, nurtured through generations, ...

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Chapter Five. Ostriches in the Wilderness

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pp. 113-154

Genia Adler saw her native city for the last time through the window of a train on October 12, 1968. Dozens of people stood on the platform in the rain to see her and her family off. The train pulled out of the station and took her “away from my Warsaw, my life, and everything I knew,” she later lamented.1 One evening several weeks earlier, Genia had walked with her...

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Chapter Six. Finding the Obliterated Traces of the Path

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pp. 155-171

Jews who emigrated after March 1968 remembered that time as one of severed roots and exile from their country. The atmosphere that surrounded their departure cast a shadow over earlier years. For those who stayed behind, however, the antisemitic campaign of the late 1960s also became part of the longer drama of life in communist Poland after 1968: ...

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pp. 172-194

When I visited Warsaw for the first time in February 1997, I wandered around looking for a trace of the familiar. My grandmother had grown up in the city, and after her death ten months earlier, I became curious about where she was from. I wanted to walk the streets she had left behind for New York in 1923 and see the images she had in her head. I had only a vague idea ...


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pp. 195-218


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pp. 219-229


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pp. 231-237

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About the Author

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p. 239-239

Karen Auerbach is Kronhill Lecturer in East European Jewish History at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780253009159
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253009074

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 16 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: The Modern Jewish Experience