Cover: Surviving the Holocaust: The Kovno Ghetto Diary, from Harvard University PressCover: Surviving the Holocaust in PAPERBACK

Surviving the Holocaust

The Kovno Ghetto Diary

Add to Cart

Product Details


$35.50 • £28.95 • €32.00

ISBN 9780674858114

Publication Date: 09/01/1991

Academic Trade

578 pages

6 x 9-1/4 inches

28 halftones


The diary is a historical document of major importance.—István Deák, The New York Review of Books

Tory’s diary is an account of the struggle for survival of ordinary men and women who were suddenly thrust into an insane world where none of the ordinary rules applied. It is a tragic chronicle of heroic endeavor.—John Jacobs, Jewish Chronicle

A grim and harrowing complement to…existing literature of the Holocaust. Written by Avraham Tory, a survivor who today lives in Tel Aviv, it includes a remarkably detailed account of day-to-day life in the ghetto as well as official German documents sent to the Jewish Council… Above all the diary lucidly records the heroic will to survive and to preserve a minimum of decency and morality while subjected to indescribable degradation.—Robert S. Wistrich, The Times Literary Supplement

[This] is a painful document, its pages a collage of retold events, scraps of news, official German directives, firsthand testimonies, whiffs of rumor and terror… The power of this book lies precisely in its lack of poetry, in its refusal to generalize. The more dispassionately told, the more particular the experience, the more terribly each moment stands out in relief.—Louise Erdrich, The Chicago Tribune

When the Germans swept through the Baltic states in the summer of 1941, they left behind scores of ghettos, each with its own ‘Elders Council’ answerable to Gestapo overlords. When they came to the Lithuanian city of Kovno, a young Jewish lawyer, Avraham Tory, began writing a diary about the transformation of his city into his prison. The Kovno council made Mr. Tory its secretary; he started adding documents to his collection—as many Nazi decrees and council reports as he could obtain—and buried them, along with installments of his diary, underneath a ghetto workshop. The resulting book, Surviving the Holocaust, benefits from Mr. Tory’s mobility as a council official; he moved freely inside the ghetto and out, meeting as often with German commandants as with members of the council and with the Jewish underground.—Judith Shulevitz, The New York Times Book Review

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound, by Daphne A. Brooks, from Harvard University Press

“Everything I Wanted”: Black Women Listeners and the High Fidelity Culture of Taste-Making

Daphne A. Brooks, author of Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound, praises Hulu’s High Fidelity series, whose main characters are creative, intelligent Black women who are passionate about music and confident in their tastes and opinions. Where are the other shows like it?