The University of Wisconsin Press


Fiction / Judaica / Holocaust

The Tree of Life: A Trilogy of Life in the Lodz Ghetto
Book One: On the Brink of the Precipice, 1939
Chava Rosenfarb
Translated from the Yiddish by the author
in collaboration with Goldie Morgentaler


Library of American Fiction


"A work that rises to the heights of the great creations of world literature and towers powerfully over the Jewish literature of the Holocaust."
—Jury decision for the Manger Prize for Yiddish Literature

  • Winner of the 1972 J. J. Segal Prize and the 1979 Manger Prize for Yiddish Literature

On the Brink of the Precipice, the first volume of the trilogy The Tree of Life, describes the lives of the novel's ten protagonists in the Lodz Ghetto before the outbreak of World War II. The author, herself a survivor of the Lodz Ghetto, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen, creates realistic characters who struggle daily to retain a sense of humanity and dignity.

Chava Rosenfarb (1923–2011) was a Polish Holocaust survivor who published poetry, prose, and drama in both English and Yiddish. Her English titles include Bociany and Of Lodz and Love. From 1950 until her death she lived in Canada. The Tree of Life trilogy won the international Manger Prize for Yiddish Literature, the John Glassco Prize for Literary Translation, and the Georges Bugnet Award for fiction from the Writers Guild of Alberta.

To schedule an interview with the author or to request a review copy of the book, contact our publicity manager, phone: (608) 263-0734, email: publicity@uwpress.wisc.edu

The UW Press also publishes:
cover of Rosenfarb's second book in the Tree of Life series has the same sepia photo of a bridge in the Lodz ghetto, but the background color on this book is a fire-like red rising to yellowThe Tree of Life: A Trilogy of Life in the Lodz Ghetto
Book Two: From the Depths I Call You, 1940–1942

cover of The Tree of Life, Book 3, features the same sepia photo of the Ghetto, over a blended background of a wine color.The Tree of Life: A Trilogy of Life in the Lodz Ghetto
Book Three: The Cattle Cars Are Waiting, 1942–1944



The Tree of Life, vol. 1 is illustrated with an old photo from the Lodz ghetto

December 2004
LC: 2004053592 PJ
314 pp.    6 x 9    1 map

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The Terrace Books logo is designed in the shape of a book with a Union chair in silhouette on the cover. The words Terrace Books, Madison, Wisconsin appear also.
A trade imprint of the University of Wisconsin Press

Read these fantastic articles by Goldie Morgentaler about writing with her mother, Chava Rosenfarb:
Love & Translation:
Mother and Daughter Became Their Own Literary Enterprise
and My Mother’s Life: How Chava Rosenfarb survived the Lodz ghetto to write a masterpiece about the experience.

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