Lvov Ghetto Diary


Originally published in Hebrew, this memoir bears witness to the systematic destruction of some 135,000 Jews in the Ukranian city of Lvov during the Holocaust. The author, a rabbi, escaped death because he was hidden by the Ukranian archbishop of the Uniate Catholic Church. His wife and young daughter were also given refuge, separately, in Catholic convents. The memoir covers the period from July 1, 1941, when the Germans occupied Lvov, to July 27, 1944, when the city was liberated. In the first part of the book, the author is living in the Jewish ghetto under increasingly dire circumstances; in the second part, he is imprisoned in a forced labour camp; and in the third part, following his escape, he is hiding under the protection of Metropolitan Sheptytskyi. Kahane tells his story with great sensitivity and raises many important moral questions. He documents not only the unforgivable behaviour of the Nazis and of many Ukranians, but also the humane efforts of some Ukranians, particularly those in the Church, to shelter Jews from harm. Kahane's account of his hiding, his discussion of Ukranian-Jewish relations, his conversations with Shepmonks and nuns, of their humanity and their cool and efficient manner in the face of mortal danger to themselves during the German searches for hidden Jews, all form an important addition to the theme of the "righteous Gentiles" in the literature of the Holocaust.

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