This is the Holocaust memoir of Abe Landau, survivor of 14 Nazi labor and concentration camps.
What are we doing?
We are seeking funds to complete production of our book Branded on My Arm and in My Soul. Funding will be used for editing, writing, design, photography, illustration, electronic imaging, and printing. The book is scheduled for publication September 2011. As a local non-profit organization, Spinner Publications relies on public support through grants and private contributions in order to publish important historical and creative works at a high quality and in limited capacity. Thus, we seek your support.
Who is Abraham Landau?
Born in April 1922 in Wilczyn, Poland, Abraham Landau would endure the dehumanizing conditions of 14 labor and concentration camps instituted by Hitler as his “Final Solution” to the Jewish race. Abe’s nightmare begins in 1939 with the Nazi occupation of Poland, the pogroms, and Kristallnacht. In March of 1940, the Landau family were ordered to evacuate their home and were sent to the infamous Zagorow ghetto. From a Jewish population of approximately 18,000, only six people were known to have survived Zagorow by the end of the war. Being one of the survivors, Landau’s testimony of this place alone takes on a special historical significance. Like many survivors, his story of near-annihilation evolves into one of successful rebuilding and adaptation.
In Branded on My Arm and in My Soul, Landau recounts his horrific journey across Poland and Germany. A young teenager herded like steer, he is beaten and driven to the threshold of death by his captors at Buchenwald, Gutenbrunn and Lagisha; he is stripped, branded and tortured at Auschwitz; and he bears witness to atrocity after atrocity at notorious camps such as Dora, Ellrich, Neuengame, Buna, and Gliewitz. Miraculously, he survives (he admits because of luck, stealth, strength, skill, and deceit).
The story is not only a testimony of Landau’s survival; it depicts the complexities and challenges of forging a new life in the face of cultural and economic obstacles. In 1950, five years after being liberated from Bergen-Belsen, Landau moved to New Bedford with his wife Freda, also a Holocaust survivor. Together they opened a tailoring business, which remained in operation until 1990. After retiring, Landau spent the last decade of his life preserving and teaching the memories of the Holocaust and spreading his message of religious tolerance at universities, synagogues, churches, and schools throughout southeastern New England. Before his passing in 2001, Abe Landau achieved his goal to establish the Holocaust Memorial in New Bedford’s historic Buttonwood Park.
The History of the Project
The project began nearly 20 years ago when Abe Landau approached publisher Joseph Thomas and asked that his manuscript be considered for publication. We were excited about this opportunity and began planning and laying a foundation to make the project work. At the time, Abe was involved in various activities, the most important being the creation of the Holocaust Memorial. He also traveled and spoke tirelessly to groups across the Northeast and gave interviews about his life, notably to filmmaker Steven Spielberg for his Holocaust oral history film project.
After Abe's death, the project stalled. However, since early 2008, at the urging of family members, friends and contributors, plans to publish Landau’s memoir have been restored. Local scholars and members of the community have joined on as contributors; family members have unearthed new resource materials for us to view; and members of the Holocaust Education Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford and the UMass Dartmouth Center of Jewish Studies have come forward to help keep the wheels turning.
Branded on My Arm and in My Soul is another volume in Spinner’s ongoing study of important events of the 20th century. It reminds and teaches us about the consequences of systematized hate, racism, and tyranny, and the deprivation of civil liberties and basic democratic principles. Immediately after publication, we will conduct several booktalk events throughout the community—at bookstores and libraries, in classrooms, and to community groups—and discuss the Holocaust experiences of Abe Landau. The publication will be used to promote community dialogue on issues such as race and ethnicity, hate and intolerance, freedom and repression, and the interplay of liberty and justice in society today.
The specter of another holocaust, and occurrences of atrocities that take place all too often in the world, have rekindled debate over how to avoid such inhumanity. As verbal attacks and threats of violence are on the rise and a culture of mistrust surrounds many communities. The victimization of a people based on ethnicity and/or religion is the antithesis of liberty and justice and can have a catastrophic effect on the population. If there exists an immediate threat to liberty and justice in America, do we recognize it? It is all the more important to extract whatever lessons are possible from the survivors who endured the full range of the horrors of the Holocaust. This becomes all the more crucial as survivors themselves pass away. Unfortunately, Abraham Landau is no longer among us to give us new insights, but we do have his memories and observations.
How will funds be used and who is involved?
Funds will be used to complete editorial development, design, imaging, research, and printing. Our team of writers, researchers, and editors includes professional humanists whose expertise will ensure the intellectual integrity and historical accuracy of the book. By creating a 200-page book, 7" x 10" format, we are able to feature over 150 photographs drawn from Landau’s family collection and several Holocaust archives, and numerous artistically rendered maps and illustrations detailing his journey and experiences. Our first printing will be at least 8,000 books for distribution locally and worldwide. The book is appropriate for adult as well as intermediate and secondary school level audiences.
An important dimension of this project is the substantial interest it has drawn from a number of groups and individuals in the community. We have been able to attract interns, volunteers, work-study students, and organization members to help with research, data compilation, transcribing, and administrative tasks. We have nurtured relationships with librarians, archivists, professors and administrators at UMass Dartmouth and the regional libraries, and many professionals and community members are eager to contribute in-kind services. We will be sharing resources with other area non-profit organizations and private institutions—such as the Center for Jewish Studies, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and the Standard-Times newspaper—and garner support from private businesses and corporations.
In the business of book publishing, each project is carefully planned, with a cost-benefit analysis done to determine which projects will provide the needed return. If, as we hope, Branded on My Arm and in My Soul sells its complete first print-run of books, it will generate needed capital for the organization to invest in new projects and sustainability.
To see sample chapters of the book, photographs, and publishing information, please visit the Spinner Publications website at www.spinnerpub.com or call 508-994-4564
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Feb 17, 2011 - May 19, 2011 (90 days)
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Tolerance Backer --- A listing in the book with other Tolerance backers, two soft-cover editions of the book, and acknowledgment on Spinner's website.
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Tikkun Olam Backer --- A listing in the book with the other TO backers, one hard-cover edition of the book, and acknowledgment on Spinner's website.
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