No Common Place: The Holocaust Testimony of  Alina Bacall-Zwirn

Alina Bacall-Zwirn & Jared Stark

Published by the University of Nebraska Press
Cloth, ISBN 0-8032-1296-8, $30.00
Paper, ISBN 0-8032-6178-0, $15.00

"Lacking any trace of sentimentality or drama, and told in a series of interviews by a woman who never quite mastered English, this powerful story illustrates the impossibility of weaving a coherent narrative from the shattered memories of those years. At the same time, the reader gradually discovers the extraordinary strength of the love which sustains Leo and Alina."

--Omer Bartov, The Times Literary Supplement, December 15, 2000 

Teacher and student reactions

Book excerpt

Additional resources

Talk by Alina Bacall-Zwirn's son

Talk by Alina Bacall-Zwirn's daughter

Essay by Jared Stark

Related web sites

"Achingly honest and sensitively narrated, No Common Place is no common memoir. Weaving together testimony, dialogue, letters, and documents, it moves with grace between past and present. Through these seamless transitions, we learn--or perhaps remember anew--that the past is not really past; it lives on in us and in our families. This is an extraordinary and most welcome addition to Holocaust literature."

--Debórah Dwork, Rose Professor of Holocaust History and director of the Center for Holocaust Studies at Clark University 

"Through its rare and moving commitment to the authenticity of the survivor's voice, No Common Place conveys both the lacerating details of Alina Bacall-Zwirn's past and the deeply humanizing story of her efforts to leave a legacy of memory to her children and to future generations. Jared Stark's sensitive arrangement of this testimony allows us to hear the urgency and vulnerability of her voice as she recalls the atrocities she and her community suffered. Stark's book is a contribution both to the historical record and to the crucial study of what it means to live in the aftermath of the Holocaust."

--Geoffrey Hartman, Project Director of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University 

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Thanks to Lani Asato, Sean Chang, and Michael Levitt for the design and production of this web site.