BERG, MARY Warsaw Ghetto: A Diary. [New York:] L.B. Fischer, 1945. First edition, signed by the author Mary Berg/February 1...
. [New York:] L.B. Fischer, 1945. First edition, signed by the author "Mary Berg/February 1946" on the half-title. Publisher's cloth, in original dust jacket designed by Berg. 7 1/2 x 4 7/8 inches (19.5 x 13 cm); 253 pp. Slight lean, a few spots within, jacket spine lightly faded and with a few creases and small losses to spine tips and corners.
A scarce signed first edition of Mary Berg's diary of the Warsaw Ghetto, signed in February 1946, just months after the prisoner exchange that had spared her family and sent them from Poland to America. Berg's poignant diary follows the 15 year old and her family from initial entry entry into the Ghetto, internment in the Pawiak Prison, and their eventual removal to France to await exchange and passage to America: "I had thought that on the ship I would forget the nightmare of the ghetto. But, strangely enough, in the infinity of the ocean I constantly saw the bloody streets of Warsaw." The publishing of this work was largely made possible by editor S.L. Shneiderman, who had fled Nazi Europe in 1940. Serendipitously, he met Berg on the dock in New York after the arrival of the SS Gripsholm in March 1944. Upon learning that Berg had managed to carry twelve small spiral notebooks recording her experiences out of the Ghetto, written mainly in a code Berg had herself developed, Shneiderman set out to decipher and translate the diary which was first published serially in Yiddish and then in English in exile newspapers before being published in this book form in early 1945. Highly regarded in its time, the book was the first major first-hand account to describe the Ghetto, gas being used to kill Jews, and other horrors. Berg became a champion of the Polish cause until the end of the war but by the early 1950s she decided to dissociate herself from the diary and live a private life. Further, L.B. Fischer, the exiled German publishing firm which had established its American outpost in 1940, closed its New York operation in 1950 and returned to Europe. Berg's book went out of print and because of her estrangement it was not re-issued for many years. Despite this, Berg's diary is a landmark of holocaust literature and a signed first edition of this title is particularly scarce.
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