Poyln: My Life Within Jewish Life in Poland : Sketches and Images, Volume 1

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University of Toronto Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 167 pages

Orignally published between 1946 and 1953, Poyln (Poland) is one of the treasures of Yiddish literature. Despite its reputation, the book has not been fully translated into English until now. Written by Yehiel Yeshaia Trunk, a prominent Polish Jewish writer, Poyln is a colorful epic, a moving testimony, and an important primary historical source that presents a portrait of Polish Jewry against the backdrop of the Nazi genocide.

The undisputed hero of the story is the national community of Polish Jews. To portray this community, Trunk creates a rich gallery of characters – Hassidic patricians, timber merchants, rich landowners, brilliant Talmudists, Orthodox rabbis, and Hasidic tsadikim. He also depicts ordinary village and small-town Jews, artisans, shopkeepers, workers, and Luftmenschen, all of them members of one extended family. Particularly valuable aspects of Poyln are its examination of different trends in the Hasidic movement and the author's attempt to bridge the gap between his secular generation and its religious ancestors. In short, Trunk's work aims to show Jewishness as a way of life.

This is the first instalment of a multi-volume edition of Poyln, the first English translation to be published. Here begins a story of the beauty and pathos of the world of Polish Jewry, a world that was almost totally destroyed by the Nazis.


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Chapter Two
Chapter Four
Chapter Six
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twentyone
Chapter Twentythree

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About the author (2007)

Anna Clarke is professor emeritus of Carleton University. Piotr J. Wr˘bel holds the Konstanty Reynert Chair of Polish History at the University of Toronto. Robert M. Shapiro is an associate professor in the Department of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College.

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