Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Number of pages: 234
Weight: 342 g
Dimensions: 228 x 152 x 12 mm
"[The Unwritten Diary of Israel Unger] is a powerful story of courage, survival, humility, and love--love of family, love of community, and love of peace, justice, and truth.... Unger and his collaborator, Carolyn Gammon, wrote this book clearly intending to tell the story of an extraordinary life. In the process, it became more than just a writing exercise for them. Like so many works motivated by passion and discovery and framed within the borders of historical and family narratives, this book became a journey of self-discovery and narrative renewal.... This book of memory is as finely written an account of a life as I have read." -- Richard Blaquiere -- Bugle-Observer (Woodstock, NB), 201305
"The book's final section sets it apart from many other memoirs, in detailing the extensive research undertaken by Unger and Gammon, greatly facilitated by the internet, to reconstruct the circumstances of his Holocaust childhood: the hiding place, the Polish citizens who helped the nine Jews, others who knew about their refuge but did not denounce them, and even the fates of the five others who hid with the Unger family. Correspondence and personal encounters with various helpful and unhelpful Polish authorities enliven this account. A high point is Unger's meeting with the mill owner's son, who had known about the hidden Jews, and the discovery of and visits with two women from the group, sisters living in Israel. Another strength of the book is its rich photographic documentation, again largely the result of careful research.... Gammon and Unger have produced a readable, unpretentious, straightforward book that will be of interest to those studying immigration and exile, Holocaust memoir, and Canadian university life. Closing the account, the reader is inclined to agree with Unger's assertion that "every survivor story ... is unique and extraordinary" and to concur with his own self-assessment: "I have had a very good life." -- Cecile Zorach, Franklin and Marshall College -- Yearbook of German American Studies, Spring 2015
"In a small town in Poland, nine Jews hid from the Nazis in an attic crawl space for two years. All of them survived. Israel Unger, professor and dean emeritus of the University of New Brunswick, was one of them. With the help of Carolyn Gammon, Unger has shared his story in the Unwritten Diary of Israel Unger . Unger says the idea to write this book was not his, it was Gammon's. "When she first suggested to me that we write a book, my answer to her was that there wasn't a book, that my memories were not very extensive because I was so young at the time," he says. Unger was five when they first hid in the attic, seven when they left that tiny space after Poland was liberated. "And I was 1 1/2 when the German war machine crashed into Poland," he notes. "But Carolyn then said, what happened afterwards is also interesting." Looking at himself as a representative of what happened to many survivors, he realized that there might be a book. "There were 350,000 Jews that survived Poland-10 per cent of the 3.5 million that were living there before the war-and I was one of those," says Unger. "It seemed to me, in telling the story, you could also tell in some ways the story of many other people."... What [Unger] found particularly gratifying was that the external reviewer said his story wasn't just part of Holocaust history, it's part of Canadian history. The reviewer also said his story filled a gap. "To me, it was kind of a justification for the book, that somebody considers it a part of Canadian history," he says." -- Lori Gallagher -- Fredericton Daily Gleaner
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