Out of print
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.
"To Holocaust history, Tel Aviv rabbi Kahane here adds his witness, condemning Ukrainians for complicity with their Nazi captors in exterminating Jews. Only the Uniate Catholic Church is exempt from his rancor, for Metropolitan Archbishop Andrei Sheptytskyi; his brother, Abbot Kliment; and the monks sheltered the author during the Occupation, while his wife and three-year-old daughter found harbor in a convent. Kahane provides a virtual day-by-day account of conditions under which his coreligionists lived and perished in Lvov, from the July 1941 capture of the city by the Germans to the July 1944 liberation by the Red Army. In recalling those war years, Kahane's anguish is manifest: 'Today . . . my heart still trembles with terror.' So does the reader's."—Publishers Weekly
"This memoir covers the period from July 1941 to July 1944, during which the German army occupied the Ukrainian city of Lvov and murdered 135,000 Jews. The author, who went on to become chief rabbi in the Israeli Air Force, survived because the archbishop of the Uniate Catholic Church protected him, while Catholic convents hid his wife and daughter. Before he reached that shelter, however, Kahane suffered in a forced labor camp. He describes that experience, as well as the lonely period of hiding when he felt that he was the last Jew left alive, in a book notable for its intellectual and theological probing, its sensitive portraits of fellow Jews and the decent Ukrainians who sheltered him. Recommended for libraries with strong Holocaust collections."—Library Journal