Moscow: Der Emes, 1945. Item #1469
88 pp.: ill. 14x10,5 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Small fragments of spine and blank leaves lost, some tears, creases and soiling, otherwise very good.
First separate edition. One of 15 000 copies. Translated to Yiddish by B. Kotik.
One of the earliest Soviet works about Holocaust. A wartime book that was printed a month before the Nazi’s military surrender.
Treblinka extermination camp was built and operated by Nazis in occupied Poland in 1942-1943. Apart from the Auschwitz camp, there was no place with more Jewish people tortured and murdered. Nazi’s Treblinka was divided into two parts: forced-labor camp Treblinka I for Polish prisoners and extermination camp Treblinka II. Only a small number of Jews survived this camp (after escaping in 1943).
The writer Vasilii (Iosif) Grossman (1905-1964) was one of the correspondents who were the rst to estimate the number of people killed at Treblinka. In 1941, he was engaged as a war correspondent and wrote witness accounts from the frontlines of the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk and Berlin. Meanwhile, his native town Berdichev in Ukraine was occupied by Nazis in 1941-1944 and most Jewish people were killed in the ghetto, including the writer’s mother.
In summer 1944, Soviet forces entered Poland. Grossman was entrusted to describe what had happened in Treblinka and how this place looked like after Nazis covered their tracks. In contrast to the observation of the Majdanek camp by another Soviet reporter K.
Simonov, Treblinka was completely destroyed by Nazis and Grossman’s work was highly signi cant. ‘The Treblinka Hell’ rst published in ‘Znamia’ magazine in fall 1944. It was written quickly and on the spot, preserving evidence for future generations. The separate edition in Russian was printed in May 1945 thus the separate edition with the Yiddish translation had come out a month earlier. The text of this book is supplemented with four full-page photographs of Grossman’s impressions: a road to the camp, electric fences, broken dishes, jars and pots - all that was left from the camp.
The original version of ‘The Treblinka Hell’ was revised by Grossman in 1958 thus the nal version was prepared in parallel with his novel ‘Life and Fate’. While Grossman was never arrested by the Soviet authorities, ‘Life and Fate’ and ‘Forever Flowing’ were censored. After the war, Grossman and Ilya Ehrenburg compiled ‘The Black Book’, a collection of testimonies and documents about the massacre of Jews by the Nazis in the occupied territories of the USSR and Poland. ‘The Black Book’ was published in English in 1947 in New York while the Soviet edition never appeared. The set was scattered in 1948 because the ideology required not to single out any nationality of the entire Soviet population that suffered during the war.
Worldcat shows copies located in LoC, Yale, California, Harvard, Stanford, Michigan, Texas, Yeshiva, John Hopkins, Concordia Universities, Yivo Institute, Hebrew Union College, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Yiddish Book Center and NYPL.