... (make_me_stay) wrote in bookish,

Names written in the back of WW2 books?

Hi all, I hope this is an appropriate question for the comm - it's certainly about books, anyway!

I've recently been reading a lot of books, non-fiction historical accounts, memoirs and biographies about World War 2, particularly books about the Jewish experience in Eastern Europe.

All of them have been from the public library, and I've noticed something a bit weird - in a lot (almost all) of the books, people have written their names and a date - presumably of their reading - in the very back of the book. I have never seen this is any other book, fact or fiction, and it's got me really curious...

Does anyone have any insight into this for me? I'm curious whether this is a common act in books like this, a sign of acknowledgment and respect, or is it something culturally specific to Judaism? Or something specific to those who have some kind of personal connection in some way to that story?

It strikes me as quite a lovely idea, it's nice to see a list of people who have read the same book - particularly some of the sadder or more traumatizing tales, it's quite a comforting sense of connection to others who have been effected, an act of witnessing. I haven't written my name in any of the books, and I won't unless someone can give me some insight - especially if there is some kind of cultural/community significance, but it's certainly piqued my curiosity!
Tags: discussion, subject: history

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