Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Tale about Joy and Suffering ...

You will not find this book in English. Written in Polish was most surely not yet translated to other languages. It is even hard to find any information about it author, Pinchas Menachem Joskowicz on the net. Some short posts were mostly related to his recent passing away in Jerusalem. The book can be found on Google Books though.

„A tale about Joy and Suffering” (In Polish: Opowieść o Radości i Cierpieniu) is the autobiography of Joskowicz. Born in Hassidic family that belonged to Ger Hasidic Dynasty, he was raised in Zdunska Wola, a medium sized town in Poland. His parents came from Lodz, where I live today ...


What makes this book amazing is the simple language and deep inner warmth it was written with. It is even more amazing when I tell you that it describes the most tragic period of Jewish history in Poland — that of Shoah... In first chapters he describes the world of Polish Jews as it was before the II World War, in all its glory and beauty. "To be a Hassid" is one of the first chapters where we can sense how amazing and splendid was Hassidic life there.


And, suddenly in just few years that world seized to exist. I guess it is the first book I read that reflects how tragic and catastrophic was German attack on Jewish communities in Poland. They were literally wiped out from the surface of earth...


Joskowicz was first sent to Lodz (Litzmannstad) Ghetto and from there, to Auschwitz. He survived only because he was sent, with some small number of prisoners to Germany, first for slave labour, next to Neuengamme camp. After few after-war years in Bergen Belsen, he arrived in 1948 to Israel, where he married and lived with his family. In 1988 returned to Poland after he was called to be Chief Rabbi of Poland, the post he held until 1999. So — he was the first Chief Rabbi of free Poland and he could witness and impact on the revival of Jewish life in Poland. This life however never he even reached a small scale of the life before II World War.

I probably cannot transmit in words of this review the true value of this little book. It is tragic as it describes the end of the world of Polish Jewery. But it also shows, how deep faith and humility can save human being from insanity — which for many was the only reaction to Shoah...

Like the title of it, Tale about Joy and Suffering, it tells about utmost suffering human can endure and about the joy found in life full of faithfulness to G-d...


I have the feeling I could not properly describe the beauty of this little book.
Yet, I read it from cover to cover in just few days, despite being extremely busy ....




4 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:04 PM

    Thanks, Mirek. Touching review.

    Sami

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  2. Thanks Sami !

    I wish you could read it ...

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  3. Mirek, I hope this book is translated into English - it sounds like a very special contribution. Thanks to your review, we know about it, at least.
    -Diane

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  4. Oh yes, it is special. I talked with a person who contributed to its creation, and I know that as for today it is not.

    But I will look around, and, maybe ....

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