Martha Mendelsohn's blog

Friendship At Auschwitz

A birthday card made in the Third Reich’s most notorious concentration camp? Seems impossible, doesn’t it?

Courtesy Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster

Unlikely Allies In WWII Poland

In 1939, when Anna Liana’s father, a linguistics professor, is taken away in the Nazi round-up of intellectuals in Krakow, Poland, the seven-year-old girl, whose mother is dead, finds herself on her own -- until a tall, mysterious stranger notices her plight.  Their story unfolds in Gavriel Savit’s “Anna and the Swallow Man” (Knopf).

Courtesy of Knopf Books for Young Readers

Lasting Ephemera

Dr. Ira Rezak collects objects of Judaica that were never meant for permanent collections. He’s an authority on “ephemera,” items usually discarded after use: tickets, campaign buttons, posters, coins, old magazines.

From the collection of Dr. Ira Rezak

Borscht And Belly Laughs

The Borscht Belt still draws crowds.

Slush and sleet on a recent evening couldn’t keep a group of Catskill buffs away from “Echoes of the Borscht Belt,” a Yeshiva University Museum exhibition of photographs by Marisa Scheinfeld. The gallery visit was followed by a screening of “When Comedy Went to School” and a discussion led by the documentary’s host and narrator, comedian and actor Robert Klein.

Robert Klein

Modern Ruins In The Mountains

An empty yellow-and-white lounge chair graces the ungroomed grass and ferns surrounding the mildewed indoor pool at Grossinger’s. Not so long ago the grass was terracotta tiles and there were rows of chairs, a guest on each.

The haunting image is from “Ruins of the Borscht Belt,” a series of color photographs by Marisa Scheinfeld on exhibit at the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy’s  Kling and Niman Family Visitor Center on Grand Street.

Coffee Shop, Grossinger's Catskill Resort and Hotel. Marisa Scheinfeld
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