IN HER ENGAGING memoir of 20th-century literary life, The Kindness of Strangers, Salka Viertel, a leading Austrian actress, recounts her first American encounter. In 1928, she and her husband, writer-director Berthold Viertel, had been invited to dinner in Berlin by a visiting columnist, Dorothy Thompson, who happened to be the fiancée of Sinclair Lewis.
These extraordinary books from world-class writers are about reviving, through words, a now-derelict town and the lives of its ten thousand murdered Jews.
Back in the days when Jews could travel without having to go anywhere — one minute a house was in Poland, the next in Russia — they lived in places called shtetls, defined neither by physical size nor population, possessing mysterious features both urban and rural.
Israel’s Keter Publishing House has published a Hebrew-language edition of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by the renowned American historian Timothy Snyder. Praised internationally, the book has received numerous awards. Bloodlands has been translated into twenty-eight languages and…