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April 29, 2014 11:12 am
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Rare Warsaw World War II Phone Book on Display in Honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A panorama of a research room taken at the New York Public Library. Photo: David Iliff.

A Warsaw, Poland, telephone book from 1939 with names of Jewish families living in the area at the start of World War II is on display at the New York Public Library in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which began on Sunday at sundown.

The rare artifact was brought out of the New York Public Library’s rare books section as part of a commemorative exhibition, the New York Daily News reported. The directory was published within months of the outbreak of war and shows the extent of the city’s Jewish population, at one point the largest of any city in Europe, which was decimated in the Holocaust.

“It is our responsibility as a library to record and inform about moments in history — moments of great triumph or great tragedy,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “(This) exhibition … is also an opportunity to educate others about such atrocities so that we can ensure ‘never again.'”

The Holocaust Remembrance display will be open until May 7 and also features other memorabilia, such as pictures of the Warsaw Ghetto in ruins after the famed 1943 uprising, written accounts from concentration camp survivors and their children, and postcards and letters from those held in Nazi labor camps. Also on display is a “Survivors Haggadah,” published in 1946 for U.S. servicemen stationed in occupied Germany for the first Passover after the end of the war. The document compares Adolf Hitler to Pharaoh and Dwight D. Eisenhower to Moses.

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