Edited by Dr. Shmuel Spector and the late Dr. Geoffrey Wigoder and published in conjunction with Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Remembrance Authority of Israel, the Encyclopedia represents the fruit of more than three decades of labor and stands as one of the most important and ambitious projects the Press has published. Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel contributed the foreword.
Today throughout much of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, only fragmentary remnants of once thriving Jewish communities can be found as evidence of more than two thousand years of vibrant Jewish presence among the nations of the world. These communities, many of them ancient, were systematically destroyed by Hitler's forces during the Holocaust. Yet each of their stories-from small village enclaves to large urban centers-is unique in its details and represents one of the countless intertwined threads that comprise the rich tapestry of Jewish history.
The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust captures these lost images. In three volumes, it chronicles the people, habits and customs of more than 6,500 Jewish communities that thrived during the early part of the twentieth century only to be changed irrevocably by the war. It clarifies precise locations of settlements based on documents and maps found in recently opened archives; it traces their development through history; it shares small details of everyday life-the culture, the politics, and the faith that inspired the people; and its photographs put faces on the immeasurable loss.
Based on decades of research at Yad Vashem, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust tells the story of thousands of Jewish communities in concise prose, illustrated with maps and poignant images of a world that can no longer be visited. The Encyclopedia is a rich source of information for students, teachers, genealogists and anyone interested in the pageant of Jewish life through the ages.