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, Ph.D., a psy­cho­an­a­lyst, is the author of Being for the Oth­er: Emmanuel Lev­inas, Eth­i­cal Liv­ing and Psy­cho­analy­sis and In Search of the Good Life: Emmanuel Lev­inas, Psy­cho­analy­sis and the Art of Living.

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