Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Heavens Are Empty: Discovering the Lost Town of Trochenbrod by Avrom Bendavid-Val

"There once was a town called Trochenbrod ... "

So begins The Heavens Are Empty: Discovering the Lost Town of Trochenbrod by Avrom Bendavid-Val, whose father was born and raised in the small Jewish town that unfortunately sat in the path of Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, and German army conquest. Far from any main roads, the town with only one street was self-sufficient when isolated. Jewish artisans and shopkeepers produced shoes, hats, furniture, bread, and beer for trade while producing potatoes, onions, milk, and eggs in their big backyards. It is remembered fondly by survivors. Few, however, survived the Holocaust.

As a child, Bendavid-Val heard little about Trochenbrod from his father, but the author decided on a whim to visit when he was already in Poland for business in the 1990s. Finding only a broken monument on the site, no trace of buildings, he was intrigued. The result of his seventeen years of research is this fond tribute filled with stories from survivors who are now scattered around the world. For student or general reader, the author has helpfully added a glossary of Jewish terms and a chronology of the events of the ill-fated town. History readers should especially appreciate this quickly read book, which would also be appropriate for school libraries

Bendavid-Val, Avrom. The Heavens Are Empty: Discovering the Lost Town of Trochenbrod. Pegasus Books, 2010. ISBN 9781605981130.

1 comment:

Paula K Verbit said...

I am a Trochenbrod descendant -- my grandfather left the shtetl around the turn of the century. Avrom's book has brought many of my family members -- the Blitsteins -- together, and has enabled us to connect with others, such as the Eisens. He has brought Trochenbrod back to life, and for this we are very grateful. Thank you for reviewing the book. Sincerely, Paula Verbit