And the World Stood Silent

Sephardic Poetry of the Holocaust
Author: Translated and with Commentaries by Isaac Jack Lévy
“A deeply moving tribute to the memory of the 160,000 Sephardic victims of this monumental tragedy....[A] graphic picture of the anguish, doubts, fears, and, finally, a rationale for the long night of the Holocaust, with an affirmation of ultimate survival of the Jewish people.”--Maggi Salgado Gordon, Hispania
Paper – $28
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/2000
Buy the Book Request Desk/Examination Copy Request Review Copy Request Rights or Permissions Request Alternate Format Preview

About the Book

Of the 6,000,000 Jews who perished in the Holocaust, at least 160,000 were Sephardim: descendants of Jews exiled from Spain in 1492. Although the horror of the camps was recorded by members of the Sephardic community, their suffering at the hands of Nazi Germany remained virtually unknown to the rest of the world. With this collection, their long silence is broken.

And the World Stood Silent gathers the Sephardim's French, Greek, Italian, and Judeo-Spanish poems, accompanied by English translations, about their long journey to the concentration and extermination camps. Isaac Jack Lévy also surveys the 2,000-year history of the Sephardim and discusses their poetry in relation to major religious, historical, and philosophical questions.

Wrenchingly conveying the pathos and suffering of the Jewish community during World War II, And the World Stood Silent is invaluable as a historical account and as a documentary source.


"Lévy has compiled a magnificent work of Sephardic poetry of the Holocaust period. . . . For all its sadness this is a work to treasure: the indomitable faith in the Almighty and great love of life of the Sephardim shines through like a beacon. A must for all students of the Holocaust and for those who are stirred by the magical inner spirit of the Sephardim." -- Mervyn Smith, Jewish Affairs

"There is nothing quite like this book--a bilingual collection of the works of Jewish poets writing in Judeo-Spanish, Greek, French, and Hebrew of the horrors suffered by the minority of Holocaust victims who were from the Sephardic tradition. Lévy provides an excellent introduction to that tradition, which existed in pre-Roman Spain and was dispersed to Turkey, Greece, and the Eastern Mediterranean." — Booklist

"A dark celebration, a cri de coeur, and the vessel of forgotten historical news. . . . Through the original offices of these remembering Sephardic poets, and now through the office of their scholarly interpreter and anthologist, we have public documentation of the participation of the Sephardim in the common doom . . . that we have come to know as the European Holocaust." -- George Monteiro, World Literature Today

"This collection adds up to a virtual revelation of Sephardic sensibilities and responses to the catastrophe. . . . No gathering of Holocaust-inspired poems known to me is worthier of preservation than those collected in And the World Stood Silent. Lévy has placed all of us in his debt." -- Stanley F. Chyet, Jewish Spectator

"A deeply moving tribute to the memory of the 160,000 Sephardic victims of this monumental tragedy. . . . [A] graphic picture of the anguish, doubts, fears, and, finally a rationale for the long night of the Holocaust, with an affirmation of the ultimate survival of the Jewish people." -- Maggi Salgado Gordon, Hispania

"Lévy has done a great service for Jewish culture by bringing to light a forgotten voice in the tragedy of the Holocaust. He shows us that the Jewish fabric is a multicultural one. It is the preservation of this multiculture that will ensure the Jewish people that Hitler did not and will not succeed." -- Carlos Huerta, Midstream"[The poems] are all haunting testimonies to the martyrdom of that great branch of the Jewish family which perished in the concentration camps." -- Arnold Ages, Heritage"Deserves an important place in the new literature, bringing the sufferings of the Sephardim to the attention of those who have tended to emphasize mainly that of Ashkenazim. . . . The bilinual format is excellent for those who know little Ladino but appreciate some guidance from the parallel translations. . . . The bibliography is excellent and the historical analysis also. . . . Lévy's contribution to the field of Sephardic studies is immense." -- Judith Roumani, Lettre Sépharade