San Marino Holocaust Survivor to Discuss New Polish Jewish Anthology

Article excerpt

SAN MARINO - When Hava Bromberg Ben-Zvi's father was fatally shot by Nazis in 1941, the blond, blue-eyed Jewish girl had to fend for herself under an assumed identity in Nazi-occupied Eastern Poland.

The same day the Nazis rounded up and killed the remaining Jews in her village, the 12-year-old sought shelter at a friend's home for the day and then wandered from village to village. She was directed to an orphanage, where a sympathetic director took her in for about two years and then sent her to a nearby farm, where she remained until the war's end.

More than six decades later, the San Marino resident's latest book "Portraits in Literature: The Jews of Poland, an Anthology" is her three-year effort to preserve the rich literature of Polish Jewry before, during and after World War II while bringing it to the attention of a new generation of readers.

"Poland was the center of Jewish civilization in the world before WWII," Ben-Zvi said, noting there were about 3.5 million Jews in Poland before the war and about 3 million Polish Jews killed during the Holocaust. "Nobody except New York had that many Jews ... Their literature is their legacy."

Ben-Zvi, who served as director of the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles for 27 years, will discuss the book she edited and compiled at 10:15 a.m. Sunday at the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center.

The book - a finalist in the prestigious 2011 National Jewish Book Awards - is a collection of 56 short stories, eyewitness accounts, poetry, essays, folk tales and humor from a variety of Polish Jews from the 1800s to the present. Published in July by Vallentine-Mitchell in London, it includes both fiction and nonfiction pieces she found in libraries in the U. …