(Mary Berg; ‘Warsaw Ghetto’)
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Auction of Holocaust Diarist’s Photos Canceled

Reclusive Mary Berg’s scrapbooks discovered at a PA estate sale this year

Sara Ivry
November 12, 2014
(Mary Berg; 'Warsaw Ghetto')

Earlier this week, a Manhattan auction house canceled plans to sell a cache of scrapbooks and photo albums belonging to Mary Berg, the Warsaw Ghetto memoirist who withdrew from the spotlight in the early 1950s, several years after gaining widespread acclaim for her account of her war-time experience in Poland. The New York Times reports that relatives of Berg’s asked Doyle, the auction house, about the sale after having been alerted to it by the paper’s reporter.

Last spring, Glen Coghill, a Pennsylvania man, called Tablet seeking advice about where he might place Berg’s materials. He explained he’d bought the items at an estate sale in the town of York and wanted to find a good home for them. The collection included photographs spanning the years 1916 to 1950 and showing “the ordinary life of a prosperous family edging into something darker,” according to the Times. Shortly thereafter, he met with a curator at the U.S. Holocaust Museum who examined the materials, but decided to place them instead with Doyle.

A spokesman for Doyle told the Times on Monday, “We are working with all involved parties toward the goal of finding an appropriate permanent home for the archive.” Berg’s material was estimated to be worth up to $6,000.

Sara Ivry is the host of Vox Tablet, Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast. Follow her on Twitter@saraivry.