THE RIVER REMEMBERS by S. L. Shneiderman


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An evocative testament to the unique, vital Jewish community of Poland which existed in a symbiotic love-hate relationship with the Polish people for a thousand years until its physical destruction by the Nazis and its historical destruction under Polish Communist rule. For Shneiderman, who received the Bergen-Belsen Remembrance Award for the Yiddish edition of this work, travel through Poland today has overtones of an archaeological expedition. His ""finds"" consist of disparate artifacts of a lost civilization hardly 50 years dead--fragments of a Torah scroll displayed near some modern Israeli coins or an ancient synagogue, unmarked, which now shows the latest movies. There is hardly a trace of the shtetlech, the small towns which developed along the Vistula River and are enumerated in this volume. Shneiderman's shtetl, Kazimierz, named for Polish King Casimir who installed his beloved Esther in a nearby castle and extended rights to Poland's Jews, was a microcosm of this Polish Jewish life. Its people represented all the literary and intellectual currents of Polish and Jewish history; local characters like Chaim the Ferryman appear in the works of Sholem Asch and could have stepped from the pages of I. B. Singer. Although not a social history in the sense of Zborowski and Herzog's Life Is With People (1952), this work is an authentic memorial to the shtetlech that no longer dot Poland's map.

Pub Date: April 28th, 1978
Publisher: Horizon