Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lisa Moses Leff's "The Archive Thief," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust by Lisa Moses Leff.

The entry begins:
The Archive Thief is about a Jewish historian named Zosa Szajkowski (Shy-KOV-ski) who stole tens of thousands of documents from the archives in France between 1940 (during World War II) and 1961 (when he was caught red-handed). What interested Szajkowski in the archives was anything that could be used for writing the history of the Jews of Europe— government documents, synagogue records, Jewish charity organization record books, you name it. Some of the stuff dated back to the 18th century, most of it was from the 19th and 20th century. He took all his booty back to the U.S., where he used it as evidence in his books and articles, and when he was done, he sold the documents off to American Jewish research libraries, which still have them today.

Ever since I started writing this book, people have asked me who would play Szajkowski in a future movie version. It’s a strange question for an academic to consider, but this isn’t your typical academic book. Szajkowski’s a fascinating character and the story is full of drama— so perhaps a movie adaptation will indeed be in the cards. I’ve certainly given the casting enough thought! The bulk of the action takes place before and during World War II, when Szajkowski served as a soldier first in the French Foreign Legion and then later, for the U.S. Army.

--For Szajkowski: Joaquin Phoenix. Szajkowski was both a tough guy and an intellectual— self-made, determined, and smart. He was emotionally strong, solid to the point of being hard. He saw firsthand the...[read on]
Learn more about The Archive Thief at the Oxford University Press website.

My Book, The Movie: The Archive Thief.

--Marshal Zeringue