Library expands special collection on Jewish Ethics

Through the generosity of Max M. and Marjorie B. Kampelman, the Kampelman Collection of Jewish Ethics was established in 1983 at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. The Collection, curated and maintained by the Institute’s Bioethics Research Library, now contains over 1,500 volumes on Jewish ethics and related subjects, including Holocaust studies.

Here are some new works recently added to the Kampelman collection:

Preserving the Shanghai ghetto: Memories of Jewish refugees in 1940’s China – by Zhang Yanhua and Wang Jian; translated by Emrie Tomaiko: The Tilanqiao neighborhood of the Hongkew district in Shanghai, China had become in the mid-1940s, as a result of European discrimination against the Jews, a Noah’s ark for sheltering Jews and contained a large number of elite Jewish people from Central Europe, endowing it with cultural prestige. This illustrated collection of remembrances, and history of the neighborhood’s contemporary reconstruction, puts the Shanghai Jewish experience into multiple perspectives. Due to its historical and cultural position, and its historic architectural style, the Hongkew Ghetto has been listed as one of twelve historical and cultural areas in Shanghai–the smallest in geographical size yet holding an outsized historical legacy.

Probing the ethics of Holocaust culture – edited by Claudio Fogu, Wulf Kansteiner, Todd Presner: A brand new reappraisal of the controversies that have shaped Holocaust studies since the 1980s. Historians, artists, and writers question if and why the Holocaust should remain the ultimate test case for ethics and a unique reference point for how we understand genocide and crimes against humanity.

Ordinary organizations: Why normal men carried out the Holocaust – Stefan Kühl; translated by Jessica Spengler: During the Holocaust, 99 percent of all Jewish killings were carried out by members of state organizations. In this groundbreaking book, Stefan Kühl offers a new analysis of the integral role that membership in organizations played in facilitating the annihilation of European Jews under the Nazis.

The extermination of the European Jews – Christian Gerlach: This major reinterpretation of the Holocaust surveys the destruction of the European Jews within the broader context of Nazi violence against other victim groups. Christian Gerlach offers a unique social history of mass violence which reveals why particular groups were persecuted and what it was that connected the fate of these groups and the policies against them. He explores the diverse ideological, political and economic motivations which lay behind the murder of the Jews and charts the changing dynamics of persecution during the course of the war.

We’re in America now: A survivor’s stories – Fred Amran: Epic in scope, but gentle and charming in delivery, Fred Amram’s collection of stories is a quiet chronicle of a clamorous era. Politics and war compel Amram’s family to leave the only home they ever knew and embark on a personal exodus, fleeing a new pharaoh, pursuing a new promised land. They arrive in America to discover that paradise is not all milk and honey, but love, loyalty, and faith conspire to hold the family together, and the story of how they rebuild the life that was robbed of them is moving, probing, and insightful.

Irena’s children: The extraordinary story of the woman who saved 2,500 children from the Warsaw ghetto – Tilar J. Mazzeo: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot comes an extraordinary and gripping account of Irena Sendler—the “female Oskar Schindler”—who took staggering risks to save 2,500 children from death and deportation in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II. In 1942, one young social worker, Irena Sendler, was granted access to the Warsaw ghetto as a public health specialist. While there, she reached out to the trapped Jewish families, going from door to door and asking the parents to trust her with their young children. She started smuggling them out of the walled district, convincing her friends and neighbors to hide them. Even more astonishing for its immense personal risk: she kept secret lists buried in bottles under an old apple tree in a friend’s back garden. On them were the names and true identities of those Jewish children, recorded with the hope that their relatives could find them after the war.

Interested readers are invited to use the Collection by appointment. Please contact the Bioethics Research Library to make arrangements.

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