In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin

by Cara de Silva

Book, 1996



Call number

736 DES



Oxford, UK ; Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1996


The sheets of paper are as brittle as fallen leaves; the faltering handwriting changes from page to page; the words, a faded brown, are almost indecipherable. The pages are filled with recipes. Each is a memory, a fantasy, a hope for the future. Written by undernourished and starving women in the Czechoslovakian ghetto/concentration camp of Terez n (also known as Theresienstadt), the recipes give instructions for making beloved dishes in the rich, robust Czech tradition. Sometimes steps or ingredients are missing, the gaps a painful illustration of the condition and situation in which the authors lived. Reprinting the contents of the original hand-sewn copybook, In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terez n is a beautiful memorial to the brave women who defied Hitler by preserving a part of their heritage and a part of themselves. Despite the harsh conditions in the Nazis' "model" ghetto - which in reality was a way station to Auschwitz and other death camps - cultural, intellectual, and artistic life did exist within the walls of the ghetto. Like the heart-breaking book I Never Saw Another Butterfly, which contains the poetry and drawings of the children of Terez n, the handwritten cookbook is proof that the Nazis could not break the spirit of the Jewish people.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member LibrarysCat
This book is a marvelous intertwining of historical narratives and recipes from the Czech and Slovak Jews (and others) who were interred in the camp during World War II.
LibraryThing member booklover9
The book is a cookbook written by an inmate at Terezin and the story of how it came to be. The idea of writing a cookbook in a concentration camp and the story of how the paper scraps got from the author to her daughter are actually more interesting than the recipes themselves, which do reveal the
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culture of cooking at the time.
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LibraryThing member E.J
This book is a memoir told in recipes. I know that nothing I say here will do this book justice. This quote from the book's foreward by Dorothy Wagner explains:

"Their thoughts were inevitably and ceaselessly focused on food. Discussion of its preparation and the heated arguments concerning the
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superiority of one method over another served as more than an anodyne for their tortured nerves. It strengthened their resolution to survive, if only because it made more vivid, not what they sought to escape from, but what they were resolved to return to."

In such an unimaginable horrific time, these women dared to think beyond their prison, risked death and torture to give their family and their heritage a way to live on. Such a story of hope and strength amidst a torturous way of life. It made me think of my mother, and made the book all the more emotional because of this raw look at a precious gift from a mother to a daughter.
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0742546462 / 9780742546462

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