In Memory's Kitchen Cookbook: Women of Terezin Czechoslovakia Signed Edition
The women of a Czechoslovakian concentration camp penned the recipes now compiled In Memory's Kitchen Cookbook: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin. This is a signed edition by Cara De Silva. Recipes follow Czech tradition bringing to life the dishes of the women's original hand-sewn copybook.
Format: Hardcover and dust jacket, 110 pages
Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc.
Edited by: Cara De Silva
Description: The sheets of paper are as brittle as fallen leaves; the faltering handwriting changes from page to page; the words, a faded brown, are almost indecipherable. The pages are filled with recipes. Each is a memory, a fantasy, a hope for the future.
Written by undernourished and starving women in the Czechoslovakian ghetto/concentration camp of Terezin (also known as Theresienstadt), the recipes give instructions for making beloved dishes in the rich, robust Czech tradition. Sometimes steps or ingredients are missing, the gaps a painful illustration of the condition and situation in which the authors lived. Reprinting the contents of the original hand-sewn copybook, In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin is a beautiful memorial to the brave women who defied Hitler by preserving a part of their heritage and a part of themselves.
Despite the harsh conditions in the Nazis' "model" ghetto -- which in reality was a way station to Auschwitz and other death camps -- cultural, intellectual, and artistic life did exist within the walls of the ghetto. Like the heartbreaking book ... I never saw another butterfly ... I which contains the poetry and drawings of the children of Terezfn, the handwritten cookbook is proof that the Nazis could not break the spirit of the Jewish people.
As Michael Berenbaum, director of research at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, explains in the foreword to In Memory's Kitchen, "This cookbook compiled by women in Theresienstadt, by starving women in Theresienstadt, must be seen as yet another manifestation of defiance, of a spiritual revolt against the harshness of given conditions. It is a flight of the imagination back to an earlier time when food was available, when women had homes and kitchens and could provide a meal for their children. The fantasy must have been painful for the authors. Recalling recipes was an act of discipline that required them to suppress their current hunger and to think of the ordinary world before the camps -- and perhaps to dare to dream of a world after the camps."
The story of the manuscript's survival is in itself a triumph of spirit. Just before she died of hunger sickness on Yom Kippur 1944, Mina Pachter, one of the primary authors of the cookbook, entrusted it to a friend, asking that if he survived he get it to her daughter Anny in Palestine. He did survive but had no address or way of finding Anny. A quarter of a century later, with the help of numerous caretakers, the package finally reached Anny and her husband, George Stern, who had moved to New York.
"When first I opened the copybook and saw the handwriting of my mother, I had to close it," said Anny. "I put it away and only much later did I have the courage to look. My husband and 1, we were afraid of it. It was something holy. After all those years, it was like her hand was reaching out to me from long ago. . . . By sharing these recipes, I am honoring the thoughts of my mother and the others that somewhere and somehow, there must be a better world to live in."
Condition: Good condition.
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