The Lemberg Mosaic: The Memoirs of Two Who Survived the Destruction of Jewish Galicia

Alderbrook Press  2011

Beautiful, cultured Lemberg, the “Vienna”of Eastern Europe, also known as Lvov, was the third largest city in Poland with the third largest Jewish population, after Warsaw and Lodz. As the soul of Galicia, a vibrant Jewish cultural center for the hundreds of surrounding towns, villages, and shtetls, the destruction of Lemberg was particularly tragic. This book gives the reader a blow-by-blow description of what happened, when and how it happened, and to whom it happened. Lemberg was the site of the Janowska death and transit camp. It is the mass grave of more than 200,000 Jewish martyrs, and was the rerouting point for another 500,000 sent to Belzec, the Nazis’ death factory. Over 1,000,000 Jews were systematically murdered there. The Ukrainian militia, worse than the Nazis, served these overlords with fervor fed by avarice and hate—the hatred of the Ukrainian populace unleashed in all its fury. Most of the Polish and Ukrainian partisan groups were also anti- Semitic and made life miserable for any who contemplated escape; they were little more than robbers. In the shtetls, every department was given a name that in actuality was the opposite of the normal meaning of the word— the “Welfare Department” being merely a tool for the roundup of Jews to be murdered, etc. Jews were made even more desperate when they heard that among the dead were two of the most beloved rabbis in Lemberg, Chief Rabbi Ezekiel Lewin and Rabbi Benzion Halberstam (the “Bobover Rabbi.”) This book is the most detailed indictment of the death and destruction of a former citadel of beauty and culture, and the death of the Jews who once lived there. It is a necessary book for any Holocaust library since there are few, if any, books devoted to Jewish Galicia.

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