Physician Inside the Warsaw Ghetto
By Mordechai Lensky
Yad Vashem Jerusalem
Distributed by Coronet Books Inc.
257 pages, Illustrated
$27.50 Paper original
Mordechai Lensky's memoir is the gripping account of a Jewish doctor in the Warsaw ghetto, struggling against all odds to provide medical care to a community condemned by the Germans to squalor, disease, and death. He does not gloss over difficult subjects, such as the fact that some of the doctors became corrupt and callous. Lensky himself keenly felt the tension between his moral obligations as a respected professional and his human desire to provide for his family and survive the war.
The memoir aslo provides singular insights into many aspects of ghetto life, including an important account of a hitherto neglected aspect of Jewish resistance - the massive building of bunkers in later 1942 and early 1943. The Lensky family escaped the ghetto in March 1943 and hid on the Aryan side of Warsaw under assumed identities with the help of two Polish women whom Yad Vashem has recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. The books also includes an insightful, moving epilogue by Lenksy's son Yaacov, who relates his own fascinating story in the Warsaw ghetto, the Polish Uprising in August 1944 and more. In Mordechai Lensky's assessment, Warsaw's Jews lost their lives in three ways: as martyrs of faith, as martyrs of their nationhood and as martyrs for their families. Most were of the last sort, he says, martyrs for their families, whom they would not abandon. The survival of this family is one testament to that.
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