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Other titles in the Jewish Lives series:
I Rest My Caseby Mark Verstandig
Synopses & Reviews
Mark Verstandig's compelling epic spans pre-Holocaust Jewish culture in Eastern Europe and its post-war reformation in Australia.
His personal story interweaves the vast forces of politics and history with intimate details of the shtetl--from the pre-war intricacies of Galician society and the textures of a traditional Jewish education, to the agonizing contradictions of Polish-Jewish relations and the complexities of post-war Jewish politics.
His account of the displaced persons camps where 'transit Jews' awaited their chance to emigrate is a signifigant contribution to a little-known aspect of post-war history.
With his gift for observation and his acute powers of analysis, Mark Verstandig has achieved the rare feat of telling the story of his people through his own history. Part autobiography, part Holocaust literature, part sociological analysis, I Rest my Case is a fine achievement.
Book News Annotation:
Verstandig (1912-2002) recalls his childhood, education, and work as a lawyer in Poland; his escape from Nazis during World War II; and his life after the war in Europe and Australia. His memoirs were first published by Saga Press, Melbourne, in 1995, and in a second edition by Melbourne University Press in 1997. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A fascinating look at interwar Poland and the Holocaust that followed
I Rest My Case is a gripping account of history, flight, grave injustice, and eventual triumph-an epic of the twentieth-century Jewish experience.
Mark Verstandig was a lawyer, the youngest of seven children born to a Hassidic farming family. Through a combination of anecdote and historical analysis he reveals the complexities of Polish politics and how its twists and turns had an impact on Jewish life, and how incidents in the prewar period foreshadowed the horrors to come. Verstandig, reassured that early wartime atrocities were aberrations, settled down to resume his law practice, and thanks to an extraordinary conspiracy by the entire legal profession of the town, he practiced under the German occupation, until the Jews of Mielec were deported and he fled with his wife. From there he assumed a harrowing life on the run, sheltered by some kindhearted Poles, betrayed by others, and he reports on the largely forgotten pogroms committed by Polish partisans and patriots supported by the government-in-exile, and on the infamous Kielce pogrom of 1946. His extraordinary account of postwar life includes his legal attempts to regain lost Jewish property and his anecdotes about everyday life in the displaced-persons camps, and his eventual emigration to Australia, a "lucky country."
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