Reviving Warsaw’s Dead: “City Within a City” at YIVO

Reviving Warsaw’s Dead: “City Within a City” at YIVO

 Nathan Szajnberg, MD, Managing Editor

 “City Within a City” debuted in English Friday at YIVO.  Psychoanalyst Emanuel Berman, a Sigourney award winner, presented the publication of his mother’s diary of the Warsaw Ghetto years.

 Click Here to Purchase:  City Within A City from IPBooks.

 Berman was named after Emanuel Ringelbum, killed after the Ghetto’s fall, who documented the Jews’ fates, provided social aid and hid those documents in metal milk cans and boxes in Spring 1943, before the Warsaw uprising.



Berman’s mother died in Israel, after a chronic illness shortly after he turned seven. He recalls little of her and found her diary a “paper bridge” to her and her past.  His mother’s  accounts are detailed, deeply human, alive.  After Berman, Samuel Kassow of Trinity College, who wrote “Who Will Write Our History,” told vignettes of Ringelblum, including Ringelblum’s adulation of Basia Temkin-Berman and her husband, Adolf-Abraham Berman, who lived illegally and dangerously outside the ghetto. Unlike “The Pianist,” a movie that portrays the treacherous life for a Jew outside the ghetto walls, the Bermans dared danger by providing documents, safety, succor for other Jews living among the Poles.  Another speaker,, Aviva Blumberg, describes how when she was eleven, her parents paid to have a Polish family hide her; at War’s end, Blumberg had to decide whether to continue living an Aryan life or to return to Judaism; her mother’s only request to the Polish family was to give a glass milk daily to her daughter.  Basia Temkin-Berman’s book’s translation and publication were funded by the Leon Kupferstein Fund; Leon Hoffman, a close friend and colleague of this NYPSI analyst, described his friend’s depth of knowledge and depth of friendship.  Arnold Richards, Editor of IPBooks and Jonathan Brent, director of YIVO gave historical brackets to this book.


“Emanuel,” first mentioned in Isaiah, means “God is with us.”  Emanuel Berman proudly describes himself and his parents as sincere secularists, who were also dedicated to the Jewish people and the Jewish State.  Friday, courage, compassion and humility were represented by the “Emanuel” presented at YIVO.

 “City Within a City, “ is a joint publication of IPBooks and YIVO.



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