A unique work that was one of the first books for young readers describing the early days of what came to be known as the Holocaust.
EMIL AND KARL
by Yankev Glatshteyn
Square Fish/Macmillan, March 2008
Originally published before the war in 1938 and the full revelations of the Third Reich’s persecution of Jews and other civilians, the book offers a fascinating look at life during this period and the moral challenges people faced under Nazism. It is also a taut, gripping, page-turner of the first order. Written in the form of a suspense novel, Emil and Karl draws readers into the dilemma faced by two young boys in Vienna—one Jewish, the other not—when they suddenly find themselves without homes or families on the eve of World War II.
Originally written in Yiddish, Emil and Karl is one of the most accomplished works of children’s literature in this language, and the only book for young readers by Yankev Glatshteyn, a major American Yiddish poet, novelist, and essayist.
“It’s a clear, powerful novel that will bring today’s readers very close to what it was like to be a child under Nazi occupation. . . The fast-moving prose is stark and immediate. . . The translation, sixty-five years after the novel’s original publication, is nothing short of haunting.” ―Booklist, Starred Review
Born in Lublin, Poland, Yankev Glatshteyn (1896-1971) was one of the major figures in the burgeoning Yiddish literary scene in New York City during the first half of the last century.
Jeffrey Shandler (translator) is an associate professor in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. He is the author of While America Watches: Televising the Holocaust and editor of Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust, among other books. He lives in New York City.