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Trachtenberg, Jakow


My question is as follows: Long time ago, I knew that there was a prisioner in one of the Nazi concentration camps whom developed, trying to remain alive, a new technique to solve basic arithmetic calculations (add, multiplication, etc). I remember that the family name was Tatchenberg, but I am not sure, and He did ehither mentally or in pices of paper the develpment of his calculations. He or someone else published a book containing that methodology. I have been looking for that book, but I could`n find anything so far.

Could you please give me some directions about this book or technique?????

Thank you in advance, and keep mantaining this site

Mike Stein answers:

Hello, I am one of the people who answers questions sent to this address.

The man you are thinking of was named Jakow Trachtenberg, and the book is The Trachtenberg Speed System of Basic Mathematics. (I once owned a copy; I don't quite know what's become of it.) Amazon shows it as "limited availability" (and for $62.00!), but you can find a used copy for far less at http://www.abebooks.com. You can also see information about the method at:


- Mike Stein


hi, I have searched the web for jakow trachtenburgs death date which i need for a report i am conducting on him. If you could please help me with this i would be much obliged. IF you can please include where you found this information for my biblyography.

Harry W. Mazal OBE Responds:

I am one of the persons in the Holocaust History Project that responds to questions from our readers. It is possible that you will receive other replies from my colleagues.

I'm afraid that I have not discovered the date of Trachtenburg's death.

A search on the WWW revealed that there is a book available on his mathematical theories at:


Quite possibly the book will have some biographical data. You might consider contacting the author, Ann Cutler at her publishers: Greenwood Publishing Group. ( http://info.greenwood.com/ )

A short biographical sketch can be seen at:


I have transcribed the information:

"Jakow Trachtenberg was born June 17th 1888 in Odessa, Russia. After graduating with highest honors from the Mining Engineering Institute in St. Petersburg, he worked as an engineer in the Obuschoff shipyards. After his flight to Berlin in World War I, he was considered the foremost Expert on Russian affairs. He designed a method of teaching foreign languages that is still in use.

In World War II he was deported to one of Hitler´s concentration camps. During that time, without paper or pencil he developed his system of performing simplified mental arithmetic.

Trachtenberg managed to escape to Switzerland, where he perfected his system. In 1950, Trachtenberg founded the Mathematical Institute in Zürich where he taught his method to children and adults."

but it does not mention his death date.

Yours sincerely,

Harry W. Mazal OBE


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