To accompany the Last Folio exhibit in both New York and Bloomington, Indiana University Press published a book titled Last Folio: Textures of Jewish Life in Slovakia.
The book includes 34 photographs of the remains of a Jewish school in Bardejov where everything stopped when the students were taken away to concentration camps, as well as pictures of the ruins of schools, synagogues, mikvahs and cemeteries. There are also 15 portraits of survivors of the camps.
In a section entitled The Journey, Katya Krausova wrote two stories in journal format about how she and Dojc came to gather the story and how they had amazingly found a book that had belonged to Jakub Deutsch, Yuri Dojc’s grandfather.
Azar Nafisi, the director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced Studies also wrote an essay, All That Remains.
“These photographs, in their anguished beauty, assert that there will always be art after Auschwitz, because there will always be life, and that art is ultimately on the side of life,” she wrote in her essay. “I believe this is the message the spirits guiding Yuri wanted us to know.”
Lucia Faltin’s short essay helps non-specialists orient themselves to Jewish history in Slovakia, with primary emphasis on the 20th century experience.
When I was travelling around Slovakia in the 1970s and 1980s, doing research on interwar Slovakia, I occasionally saw an empty synagogue. I knew from my research on Slovak secondary schools and Comenius University that Jewish students had studied in those schools, but found it hard to imagine them as living, breathing human beings. This book brings me much closer to seeing them.
Two years ago, IU Press also published Rediscovering Traces of Memory: The Jewish Heritage of Polish Galicia by Jonathan Webber. That album includes 74 images of synagogues, cemeteries, Holocaust memorials, Nazi camps, and other evidence of Jewish presence and absence.
Last Folio: Textures of Jewish Life in Slovakia can be ordered from Indiana University Press, www.iupress.indiana.edu, for $24.95 .
12. Sep 2011 at 0:00 | Owen V. Johnson