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From My Bookshelf: The Curse of Gurs, by Werner L. Frank

Last weekend, I journeyed to Columbus, Ohio, for a family Bat Mitzvah. There, I had the pleasure of spending time with Werner Frank, whose astounding genealogical research includes some of my own family history (on my dad’s side).

Werner, who emigrated from Germany as a child in 1937, has recently published a book focusing on a specific strand of this research: the story of the October 1940 deportation of Jews from the Baden region of Germany to Gurs, an internment camp in France. From Gurs, many of these Jews were eventually deported to Auschwitz. This helps explain the book’s full title: The Curse of Gurs: Way Station to Auschwitz.

The story is particularly painful because so many of Werner’s relatives were among these Baden Jews (as were some of mine). Moreover, Werner remains acutely aware of his good fortune in having left Baden before 1940 – a realization that I similarly share concerning my grandparents, who were also Baden-born.

I purchased a Kindle copy of Werner’s book while we were in Columbus; Werner was kind enough to then gift me with a print copy. As an historian, I was wowed from the outset by Dr. Michael Berenbaum‘s introduction: Continue reading ›

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Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • Lots of great book coverage in The Forward this week (including, if I may be so immodest as to point it out, my review of a new English translation of Hans Keilson’s first novel).
  • Superb essay by Etgar Keret (translated by Sondra Silverston) on Keret’s “new house in the old country.”
  • Michael Lowenthal has a new novel out, and he talks about it in a wide-ranging interview for The Rumpus that touches on “American politics, gay parenting, and Jewish literature.”
  • Because my early childhood summers were spent at Brighton Beach; because my life, too, is so much about passing stories along; because I, too, treasure moments spent in the company of my mother and my niece–for all of these reasons I loved Jami Attenberg’s post for The Prosen People. (See also Ron Charles’s enthusiastic review of Attenberg’s new novel.)
  • Finally, The Wall Street Journal ran a nice piece this week spotlighting The Blue Card, the organization to which I am donating portions of the profits from sales of my story collection, Quiet Americans.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • Let’s start with a stupendous-looking opportunity from the Posen Foundation: “The Posen Foundation is proud to announce a unique international fellowship for junior scholars and emerging fiction writers. Each member of the Posen Society of Fellows receives a two-year, $40,000 award, as well as a special opportunity to collaborate with peers and learn from seasoned scholars and writers.” Eligibility: “Eligible scholars should be completing a doctoral dissertation on a topic related to modern Jewish history of culture. Eligible fiction writers should be working on a Jewish-themed novel or short story collection, and should not yet have published their first book.” Application deadline is January 15, 2013, and there’s no application fee. (Thanks to @NaomiDanis for the tip about this amazing program.)
  • Another new opportunity for writers: “Jewish Currents magazine announces its the first annual DORA and ALEXANDER RAYNES POETRY PRIZE for poems on the theme of ‘The American Dream.'” There *is* an entry fee for this competition ($18). Prizes include a cash award of $1,000 to the first-prize winner and $180 to each of two runners-up. “The top 36 poems will be published as a chapbook by Blue Thread, an imprint of Jewish Currents, in the summer of 2013. All submissions will be considered for publication in Jewish Currents. Submission deadline is January 15, 2013. NB: This competition will be judged by Gerald Stern.
  • This week brought us the latest Jewish Book Carnival, ably hosted by the Jewish Book Council’s “ProsenPeople” blog.
  • In a new essay, author Jon Papernick explores the meaning of the tattoo on his arm, in his view and in others’.
  • And in case you missed it, over on my other blog I’ve written about a book that I had the privilege of reading before it was published this month: Susan Kushner Resnick’s You Saved Me, Too: What a Holocaust Survivor Taught Me About Living, Dying, Loving, Fighting, and Swearing in Yiddish.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • Let’s start with this: “The editor of a Polish Jewish monthly was awarded a European Union Prize for Literature for a novel that deals with Holocaust memory. Piotr Pazinski, the editor of the Warsaw-based Midrasz, won the award for his novel ‘Pensjonat’ (‘Boarding House’), which was published in Poland in 2010.”
  • Next up: If you’ll be in New York October 21-22, you may want to stop by the Center for Jewish History, which will be hosting an impressive Second-hand Book Sale. “Authors include: Sholem Aleichem, Marc D. Angel, Paul Arnsberg, Martin Buber, Chaim Grade, Itzik Manger, Thomas Mann, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Stefan Zweig, and others.”
  • December will bring us a new book from Elie Wiesel. This time, he has written a memoir, Open Heart, which stems from his recent experience as a bypass patient.
  • Job alert: “JNS.org, a Boston-based international wire service providing content to Jewish publications across the U.S., is seeking a Washington correspondent to cover major developments in the nation’s capital for a Jewish audience.”
  • If you’ve been wondering how Deborah Feldman has been faring since the publication of her controversial Unorthodox, here’s an update. (Hint: Security guards are involved.)
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen


    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • Let’s begin: It took me a few days to catch up and read it, but Tablet magazine has published its first original work of short fiction, a story by Aimee Bender titled “The Doctor and the Rabbi.” Read it, and then see what Zackary Sholem Berger has to say about it.
  • You may remember that Sigmund Freud left Vienna in 1938. His sisters weren’t so lucky. The Forward reviews a novel that imagines the story of one of them.
  • Praise from Mark Athitakis for The Book of Mischief, “a magisterial collection of 17 short stories by Steve Stern that encompasses his three-decade career.”
  • This week brought us the latest Jewish Book Carnival, hosted for the first time by the Bagels, Books, and Schmooze blog (and including a giveaway).
  • Finally, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be participating in the JCC Lane Dworkin Jewish Book Festival in Rochester this fall. My event is scheduled for November 11, but I encourage you to take a look at all of the festival offerings this 20th anniversary season.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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