Await­ing a Mir­a­cle: The Holo­caust Diaries of Mor­ris Breitbart

Arnold and Charles Bre­it­bart, eds.
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By – December 12, 2011
Mor­ris Bre­it­bart was born in Szcz­er­cow, Poland in 1921. When World War II start­ed the Nazis burned his town to the ground and forced the Jews to the Lodz ghet­to. In tran­sit from the ghet­to to Tre­blin­ka in 1943, where his par­ents, two sis­ters, and most of his extend­ed fam­i­ly were mur­dered, Mr. Bre­it­bart escaped from the trans­port train. Through 1944 he remained in hid­ing in the farm­house of an elder­ly non-Jew­ish woman, first in her attic and then in a hole under the sta­ble. This diary is the tes­ti­mo­ny of how a young man, age twen­tyt­wo, man­aged to sus­tain him­self amid his pro­found sense of loss — of his par­ents and sib­lings, his friends, his home world: Once I had a moth­er, a father, sis­ters, but that was long ago. Today, in real life I see that I have remained a lone­ly, home­less orphan. And it was long ago, they came one sun­ny, sum­mer day, the mur­der­ers came, heart­less tyrants, they tore me away from my beloved par­ents and sis­ters.…” The fore­ward by Mr. Breitbart’s wife and grand­chil­dren adds to our under­stand­ing of the inner world of this extra­or­di­nary man, whose brief diary was mirac­u­lous­ly found among his dis­card­ed papers many years after his death.

Paul Mar­cus is a train­ing and super­vi­so­ry ana­lyst at the Nation­al Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion for Psy­cho­analy­sis in New York City and Co-Chair­per­son of the dis­cus­sion group Psy­cho­analy­sis and Spir­i­tu­al­i­ty at the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­an­a­lyt­ic Asso­ci­a­tion. He is the author of Psy­cho­analy­sis and Toi­let­ing: Mind­ing One’s Busi­ness (Rout­ledge).

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