Monday, January 28, 2008

The Survivors' Talmud

I haven't been very consistent at this blogging thing, but I just read an article that I had to share with my dedicated readers....

The Jerusalem Post just had an article on the thirst for Sifrei Kodesh in the DP camp that was set up in the Dachau Concentration camp after liberation. It's a very moving read (take a look for yourself).

One of the things that I found fascinating was the following:

The survivors prevailed upon the American authorities, with the assistance of the Joint Distribution Committee, to publish several Talmud tractates for use in the DP camps. The title page was illustrated by an image of a wagon loaded with bodies for the crematoria, along with a rising sun over Jerusalem, and the phrase: "They almost wiped me out, but I did not abandon your commandments."
I had to see this for myself, so with the help of the Internet, I managed to track down an image of the "US Army Talmud", the first edition of the Talmud ever printed by a government.

It makes a fascinating story, you should read the following accounts of this amazing edition of the Talmud:
And here is the first page of Missechet Brachot from that edition of the Talmud, just as the Jerusalem Post described it:

The text is as follows:

משעבוג לגאולה מאפאלה לאור גדול

מסכת ברכות


תלמוד בבלי

יצא לאור ע"י ועד אגדות הרבנים
באזור האמריקאי באשקנז
בסיוע שלטון הצבא דארצות הברית והדזונט בגרמני'


שנת חמשת אלפים ושבע מאות ותשע לב"ע

Rough translation:

From Oppression to Redemption, from Darkness to a Great Light

Tractate Brachot from the Babylonian Talmud

Published by the Council of Rabbis

In the American district of Ashkenzaz [Germany]

With the assistance of the leadership of the United States Army and the Joint in Germany


The year five thousand, seven hundred and nine since the Creation of the World [1949]

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