Amherst, Massachusetts

Preserving the Printed Word Aaron Lansky's mission is to collect Yiddish literature

Aaron Lansky glances at the forest of jammed bookshelves surrounding him: "The word for it is hemshekh -- a continuity. This is from the world Hitler tried to destroy." Lansky, the executive director of the National Yiddish Book Center, is standing in the center's annex in Holyoke, Mass. There, on the vast, hangarlike floor of a renovated paper factory, are stored about 700,000 of the 900,000 Yiddish books that the center has collected.

The rest have been returned to circulation, restored to the life of books. Most of them have been sold, sometimes in packages of 500 or more volumes, to...

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