HOLY WEEK - A NOVEL OF THE WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING
Jerzy Andrzejewski Published by: Ohio University Press, 2007 Strony / Pages: 149, hard cover ISBN: 0-8214-1716-9
List price: $44.95(Save 50% off)Online price: $22.48

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly:
As armed battle rages in the Warsaw ghetto during the week preceding Easter of 1943, Jan Malecki, a Polish architect and cold, indecisive leftist, reluctantly takes in his Jewish old flame, Irena Lilien. Irena was a wealthy, bewitching beauty, but is now an embittered homeless fugitive with forged Aryan papers. Jan's pious and pregnant wife, Anna, is kind if condescending to Irena, and Jan's revolutionary brother identifies with the Jewish insurgents. But Irena, almost raped by a neighbor, is informed on by the neighbor's acidly anti-Semitic wife. Outside on the street, Polish children flush an emaciated Jewish boy out of hiding, chasing him into the grip of a German soldier who shoots him dead, and curious bystanders vie for a glimpse of the bloodletting inside the walls of the burning ghetto. Andrzejewski (1909–1983) writes blocky characters, and the translation, much of which was done by students of University of Pittsburgh professor Swan, is awkward. But the book, first published in 1945, remains a landmark for its scathing indictment of everyday Warsaw's savage indifference to the plight of Jews during WWII.

Review:
"There is among people no greater or more absolute dividing line than between the happiness of some and the suffering of others. Affairs great and small divide people, yet none so sharply as the inequality of fate."—from Holy Week

Book Description:
At the height of the Nazi extermination campaign in the Warsaw Ghetto, a young Jewish woman, Irena, seeks the protection of her former lover, a young architect, Jan Malecki. By taking her in, he puts his own life and the safety of his family at risk. Over a four-day period, Tuesday through Friday of Holy Week 1943, as Irena becomes increasingly traumatized by her situation, Malecki questions his decision to shelter Irena in the apartment where Malecki, his pregnant wife, and his younger brother reside. Added to his dilemma is the broader context of Poles' attitudes toward the "Jewish question" and the plight of the Jews locked in the ghetto during the final moments of its existence. Few fictional works dealing with the war have been written so close in time to the events that inspired them. No other Polish novel treats the range of Polish attitudes toward the Jews with such unflinching honesty. Jerzy Andrzejewski's Holy Week (Wielki Tydzien, 1945), one of the significant literary works to be published immediately following the Second World War, now appears in English for the first time.

About the Author:
Best known for his novel Ashes and Diamonds, Jerzy Andrzejewski (1909–1983) gained a reputation as a writer of moral conflict. In 1949 he was elected president of the Polish Writers’ Union, but he resigned in 1957 as a protest against government censorship. Later he was a founding member of the intellectual opposition group KOR.
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