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The Krakow Ghetto Pharmacy
A key memoir of the walled-off existence forced upon Krakow's Jews as Germany engineered the Holocaust in Poland, Tadeusz Pankiewicz's book is published in a new English-language translation.

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ISBN: 9788308051146

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A key memoir of the walled-off existence forced
upon Krakow's Jews as Germany engineered the Holocaust in Poland,
Tadeusz Pankiewicz's book is published in a new English-language

The book by pharmacist Pankiewicz first appeared in
1947, with subsequent editions in Poland and Israel, and in the U.S. in
1987. It is a vital, earnest account of suffering, atrocity and enduring
human attributes in the face of "cruelty and hypocrisy" that the author
notes in his introduction. "The pharmacy was like an embassy,"
Pankiewicz writes, and The Krakow Ghetto Pharmacy (Wydawnictwo
Literackie, Krakow 2013) is replete with people he knew, admired or
managed to endure and sometimes outfox through two precarious years of
mounting terror and mandatory resourcefulness. The people Pankiewicz
lived with there motivated his book, and are its allure. Many who exude
care and vigor in its pages did not survive the ghetto, and many were
deeply compromised. While it's not historiography, The Krakow Ghetto Pharmacy
is formed of history's force of necessity. It merits our attention as a
document rooted in place and events and as a detailed paean to these
people. For histories, as Timothy Snyder of Yale University emphasized in a recent meeting in Warsaw, must always focus on people.

Pankiewicz's measured tone is made fresh in Garry
Malloy's translation, and is resonant in our time as the UN's
Responsibility to Protect legislation seeks to counter genocides. He ran
the pharmacy Under the Eagle (Apteka Pod Orłem), which his father
founded in the working-class Podgórze district across what's now the
Kotlarski Bridge from central Krakow. The pharmacy was opened as a
museum in 1983, became a branch of the Historical Museum of Krakow in 2003 and reopened after extensive renovations in 2013. It's a short walk from another of the museum's branches, Oscar Schindler's Factory, which opened its permanent exhibition about the city under German occupation in 2010. Schindler is mentioned late in The Krakow Ghetto Pharmacy,
after the Austrian Juliusz Madritsch, who ran a Podgórze clothing
factory - Pankiewicz provides the address - aiding his Jewish workers
and abetting the resistance.

Thirty streets in Podgórze were cleared by March
1941 of about 3,000 inhabitants and forcibly transformed into the
ghetto. Some 15,000 Jews remained in the city (from a 1939 population of
about 70,000) and were walled in just across the Vistula from
Kazimierz, with its ancient synagogues and cemeteries. One of five major
urban ghettos the Germans imposed in Poland, the Kraków ghetto's
population was a fraction of those in Warsaw and Łódź. Pankiewicz, in
his book, writes of his pharmacy "at the very heart of the ghetto, where
it bore witness to the inhuman deportations, horrendous crimes and
relentless degradation of human dignity perpetrated by the Nazis." One
boy who survived was Roman Polański. Karol Wojtyła, who'd become
Pope John Paul II, labored in a quarry upriver from the Płaszów
concentration camp, which had been built not far from Podgórze for
ghetto inhabitants not deported to their deaths at Treblinka or
Auschwitz. After the war, Wojtyła questioned Pankiewicz on messianism in
the ghetto, which leads the author to one of his succinct passages on
Jewish mysticism and culture that illuminate his book.

  • Hardcover 322 pages Black and white photos
  • 2013
  • Size 6" x 8.5" - 15cm x 21.5cm
  • Printed In Poland

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