A SURPLUS OF MEMORY by Yitzhak Zuckerman


Memoirs of a Resistance Leader, 1939-1946
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 A valuable, remarkably full memoir by the last commander of the Jewish Fighting Organization, who helped lead the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Polish Uprising, and subsequent efforts to rescue Jews during and after WW II. Known to anyone familiar with Holocaust or resistance literature by his underground name of ``Antek,'' Zuckerman (1915- 81) displays an amazing memory for wartime names, dates, places, and political nuances. (The title will ring ironically true for readers who don't share his obsession with political and organizational minutiae.) The narrative--ably edited and translated by Judaica-scholar Harshav--is based on transcripts of tape recordings, in Hebrew, that Zuckerman agreed to make only after the Yom Kippur War of 1973. While there's actually far from a surplus of poignant memories here, there are enough to carry the motivated reader--including recollections of the footsteps of Zuckerman's father as he walked away for the last time, of the despair of feeling like ``a rear guard in the parade of death,'' and of the subsequent exhilaration at killing Germans and surviving to strike again. The most compelling aspects of the endless political intrigue involve fluctuating relationships with right- and left- wing Polish militias, clashes with Jewish ghetto police, and ambivalence toward the Zionist underground's leadership in Palestine. One steady but passionless relationship concerns fellow Jewish Fighting Organization leader Zivia Lubetkin, whom Zuckerman ended up marrying. The meticulously detailed record of a selfless, highly organized man who rose to challenge our century's ultimate chaos and depravity.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-520-07841-1
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Univ. of California
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1993


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