Warburg in Rome
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. 384 pp.US$28.00
David Warburg, newly minted director of the U.S. War Refugee Board, arrives in Rome at war's end, determined to bring aid to the destitute European Jews streaming into the city. Marguerite d'Erasmo, a French-Italian Red Cross worker with a shadowed past, is initially Warburg's guide to a complicated Rome; while a charismatic young American Catholic priest, Monsignor Kevin Deane, seems equally committed to aiding Italian Jews. But the city is a labyrinth of desperate fugitives, runaway Nazis, Jewish resisters, and criminal Church figures. Marguerite, caught between justice and revenge, is forced to play a double game. At the center of the maze, Warburg discovers one of history's great scandals-the Vatican ratline, a clandestine escape route maintained by Church officials and providing scores of Nazi war criminals with secret passage to Argentina. Warburg's disillusionment is complete when, turning to American intelligence officials, he learns that the dark secret is not so secret, and that even those he trusts may betray him.
The Tailors of Tomaszow: A Memoir of Polish Jews
Rena Margulies Chernoff and Allan Chernoff
Texas Tech University Press, 2014. 182 pp. US$24.95
Seven decades after the Nazis annihilated the Jewish community of Tomaszow-Mazowiecki, Poland, comes a gripping eyewitness narrative told by one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust, as well as through first-hand accounts of other Tomaszow survivors. This unique communal memoir presents a rare view of Eastern European Jewry, before, during, and after World War II. It is both the memoir of a child and of a lost Jewish community, an unvarnished story in which disputes, controversy, and scandal all play a role in capturing the true flavor of life in this time and place.
Nearly 14,000 Jews, one-third of the town's population, resided in Tomaszow-Mazowiecki before World War II, many making their living as tailors and seamstresses. Only 250 of them survived the Holocaust, in part because of their skill with a needle and thread.
Via Jewish Book Council