The Jews of Bohemia and Moravia: Facing the Holocaust

By Livia Rothkirchen | Go to book overview

Acknowledgements

When I embarked on this project the Iron Curtain still hung over Eastern Europe, and contacts with colleagues and friends in Czechoslovakia were limited and strained. There was no access at all to documentation held in the state archives and other institutions.

Consequently, it was only in the eighties that I began to focus on the fate of the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia, realizing that research on Czech Jewry was lagging behind. This led to numerous visits abroad to locate archives and institutions that held documentation on prewar Europe and World War II.

I was gratified to find the documents relating to the Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile in the Public Record Office in London. Eventually, it was this topic that formed the kernel of my research in the years to come. I thus continued visiting major institutions and archives: the British Museum's British Library and the Wiener Library (London), the Institut für Ost-Europa (München), the U.S. National Archives (Washington DC), the Joint Distribution Committee Archives (New York), and the Hoover Institution for War and Peace (Stanford, California).

The year of the “Velvet Revolution,” 1989, marked a turning point in my academic undertakings with free access to all the important sources held in the various archives in Prague, Terezín, and elsewhere. A period of fruitful cooperation and personal contacts with colleagues in Czechoslovakia began. Conferences, meetings, and exchange of ideas, along with access to major depositories, gave a new impulse to my research.

It gives me pleasure to express my gratitude to readers, colleagues, and all those friends who have helped me over the years. My thanks are due to Prof. Yoav Gelber, former head of the project at the Yad Vashem Research Institute, who initially guided this enterprise. I am greatly indebted to Edna Ben-Dov, my first reader and editor, for her devoted work, stimulating observations, and friendly attitude. To Jana Veselá I am grateful for help in correcting the text. Special thanks are due to Jill Berinson for her assistance and patience in helping to compile the bibliography. I also want to express my thanks to the staff of the Yad Vashem archives and library for their readiness to attend to my requirements.

To those who accepted the invitation of the publishers to act as critics of my lengthy manuscript, I owe special thanks and gratitude. I sincerely appreciate their insight on several key issues in the text and their detailed comments and

-xv-

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