Life and Death in the Holocaust Epoch: Testimony and Documents’ book by Boris Zabarko

“The third book by Boris Zabarko on the Holocaust, “Life and Death in the Holocaust Epoch: Testimony and Documents,” a collection of the memoirs of former ghetto and Nazi death camp prisoners in occupied Ukraine was recently released to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The three volumes of unique materials were prepared by Zabarko, a former prisoner of the Shargorod ghetto, Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Association of Jews and former ghetto and Nazi death camp prisoners, head of the Scientific and Educational Centre “Memory of the Catastrophe,” and honoured worker of science and technology of Ukraine.

Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor, who is President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, the Russian Jewish Congress and the European Jewish Congress, wrote a foreword to the third volume entitled “Remember to give Warning.”

The book is a continuation of the collection “Only we have Remained Alive: Testimony and Documents,” published in 1999 in Germany (Boris Zabarko [Herausgeber] “”Nur wir haben uberlebt””. Holocaust in der Ukraine. Zeugnisse und Documente. – Koln, 2004) and the UK (Zabarko Boris [Editor.] “”Holocaust in the Ukraine.” – London-Portland, 2005), which has been translated into German and English. The first two volumes of the three-volume collection were published in 2006 to mark 65 years since the Babi Yar tragedy (1st book) and in 2007 to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day (2nd book). The collection contains a total of 290 memoirs, a foreword to the first book – “Memory and History, Life in the Shadow of Death, Testimony and Evidence of the Last Generation to Survive the Holocaust”, scholarly commentary, a bibliography and a geographical index (Author B. Zabarko, 1860 pages).

The memoirs of survivors of the Holocaust (Shoah), a Catastrophe on an unprecedented scale, contain documentary material on the tragic fate of Ukrainian Jewry during the Nazi genocide; the lives of people doomed to death, but resisting, struggling for their lives, keeping their human faces and winning against death; relations between Jews and non-Jews (including collaborationists, indifferent fellow citizens and those noble and the courageous righteous gentiles to whom the authors of the memoirs owe their survival.

This body of evidence from people who passed through the valley of the shadow of death and survived the Holocaust presents the individual fates of victims on a personal level to show the wide swath cut by the total extermination of Jews. It also gives name the sites of bloody massacres in Ukraine where the genocide of Jews took place. Most of these are places that no one has heard of before. The witnesses’ words come to life and horrible figures are personified. They refute the falsifications of those who, for political reasons, deny the Holocaust, underestimate it or try to revise it. They stir our memory and knock at the doors of our hearts, not to arouse hatred, but to show how hatred is horrible in action and help the human mind recognize that evil is evil and reject it.

These human documents are part of the nation’s memory and a triumph of memory over oblivion. They have great scholarly, educational and humanitarian value.

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Boris Mikhailovich Zabarko, Ph.D. (1935) was a prisoner of the Shargorod ghetto (Vinnitsa region). He has a degree in history from Chernovtsy State University and has taught and been principal at a rural secondary school. Zabarko is a university professor with a post-graduate degree from the History Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He is a senior researcher at the History Institute and the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, head of the social department and coordinator of the Joint Distribution Committee’s Holocaust programme, director of the Kyiv Institute of Social and Community Workers, chairman of the All-Ukrainian Association of Jews and former ghetto and Nazi death camp prisoners, head of the scientific and educational centre Memory of the Catastrophe, vice president of the European Organisation of Holocaust Victims, vice president of the International Union of Jewish community associations and former Nazi death camp prisoners, and a member of the Supervisory Board of the Ukrainian National Fund Mutual Understanding and Reconciliation under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

Boris Zabarko is an honoured worker of science and technology of Ukraine. He has received the prize of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the European Bnai-Brith award of recognition for immortalising the tragic memory of the Holocaust. Zabarko is the author of more than 220 books and articles published in Austria, the UK, Hungary, Germany, Israel, Russia and Ukraine.