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The Archive Thief

Condition: BRAND NEW
ISBN: 9780199380954
Author(s): Lisa Moses Leff
Format: Hardcover
Year: 2015
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Dimensions: 164 x 25 x 237 (w x l x h)
Pages: 304
Series: Oxford Series on History and Archives

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Born into poverty in Russian Poland in 1911, Zosa Szajkowski (Shy-KOV-ski) was a self-made man who managed to make a life for himself as an intellectual, first as a journalist in 1930s Paris, and then, after a harrowing escape to New York in 1941, as a scholar. Although he never taught at a university or even earned a PhD, Szajkowski became one of the world's foremost experts on the history of the Jews in modern France, publishing in Yiddish, English, and Hebrew. His work opened up new ways of thinking about Jewish emancipation, economic and social modernization, and the rise of modern anti-Semitism. But beneath Szajkowski's scholarly success lay a shameful secret. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, the scholar stole tens of thousands of archival documents related to French Jewish history from public archives and private synagogue collections in France and moved them, illicitly, to New York. There, he used them as the basis for his pathbreaking articles. Eventually, he sold them, piecemeal, to American and Israeli research libraries, where they still remain today. Why did this respectable historian become an archive thief?
And why did librarians in the United States and Israel buy these materials from him, turning a blind eye to the signs of ownership they bore? These are the questions that motivate this gripping tale. Throughout, it is clear that all involved-perpetrator, victims, and buyers-sa Please click here to ask a question
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