Tag Archives: Holocaust memoirs

Among the Reeds by Tammy Bottner

Among_the_reeds_tammy_bottner_amsterdampublishersfinalcoverAmong the Reeds. The true story of how a family survived the Holocaust by Tammy Bottner

Can past experiences affect the DNA? Does the happiness and sorrow of our ancestors determine our present well being? In other words, can trauma be genetically transmitted and remain alive with future generations?

These are the main questions physician Tammy Bottner tries to answer in her book Among the Reeds, a reconstruction of the story of her Jewish family during the Holocaust.

With this book, Bottner attempts to heal the anguish of her transgenerational trauma and to understand why facts that do not have any apparent relation to her ancestors awake in herself the trauma lived by her grandparents and provoke an unconscious fear of danger and uncertainty.

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Tammy Bottner holding two books of Among the ReedsThe author tries to understand how the effects of those terrifying years seem not to vanish with those who had experienced them but, rather, remain alive also decades after, thousands of miles away. By relying mainly on epigenetics theories, Bottner wrote a book that is both a biography and a scientific reflection on the transmission of traumatic experiences onto future generations.

While on the one hand Among the Reeds contributes to give voice and accountability to the horror of those years by showing a harsh, though interesting, portrait of Europe during Nazi occupation, on the other hand this book is especially for those willing to courageously reflect upon what has been left to them by their parents and what they will, in turn, be leaving to their children.

 

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History repeats itself because its faults remain alive in our own cells. Among the Reeds thoroughly explains this transmission, and thereby convincingly deconstructs its effects in our present daily lives.

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This is a story, beautifully and sensitively told, that is deeply personal and profoundly universal. ‘Among the Reeds’ sheds light on the tragic past, helps us appreciate the present and inspires a more hopeful future. – Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD., author of Happier.

The Holocaust destroyed the lives of millions of Jews.  In this gentle memoir, Tammy Bottner rescues several of those lives from oblivion by telling their story. – RABBI HAROLD KUSHNER, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

Among the Reeds by Tammy Bottner number 1 bestseller

On the longest day of the year, 21 June 2017, a few weeks after its launch, Tammy Bottner’s Among the Reeds became a #1 bestselling book. This might not be such a surprise given its fascinating subjectmatter. But the amazing thing is that she has more daily booksales than the number 2 which happens to be a New York Times Bestseller by a Pulizter prize winning author..!

Among the reeds by Tammy Bottenr is a number 1 Amazon bestseller

By 19 July 2017 Among the Reeds was a number 1 Amazon Bestseller in two categories, and held a second place in a third category. Well done Tammy!

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Wish I could have been there! Tammy Bottner signed lots of copies of her succesful Among the Reeds at Jabberwocky Bookshop on 20 July 2017. Over 100 people listened to Tammy reading from her recently published WW2 biography.

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About Tammy Bottner

Tammy Bottner is a physician who treats children and adolescents in a small city north of Boston. She lives with her husband Danny Carlat, and their two nearly grown children.  When she is not seeing patients or writing, Tammy enjoys yoga, dance, tennis, biking, photography, travel, reading and spending time in nature. This is her first book.

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Among the Reeds in the press

News feature about Tammy Bottner’s book Among the Reeds in NewportNews of 16 June 2017 On the occasion of Father’s day she tells about the genesis of her book.

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On 19 July 2017 another article appeared in the Newburyportnews announcing Tammy Bottner’s booksigning at Jabberwocky bookshop in the Tannery on Thursday 20 July 2017 at 7 pm.

On 23 July 2017 Tammy Bottner was interviewed by Boston radio.

On 25 July 2017 the Whole Being Institute posted an excerpt from Among the Reeds on their website.

On 27 July a lengthy and very positive review by Larry Constantine appeared in the Jewish Journal.

On 9 August 2017 the Newburyport News announced a special event. On 12 September author Tammy Bottner will be together with her dad and his sister who survived the Holocaust in Belgium as young children. Both now in their 70’s, they are her father and her aunt. Since her dad lives in Florida, and her Aunt Irene in Israel, this will likely be a once-only opportunity to have them together for a talk.

On 31 August 2017 Dr Tammy Bottner was on TV at 9:45 am discussing the genesis of her book Among the Reeds. New England Cable News (NECN), with Brian Shactman.

Tammy Bottner author of Among the Reeds interview Boston television

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The Dead Years

Dead_years_holocaust_memoirs_joseph_schupack_amsterdampublishersThe Dead Years – Holocaust Memoirs by Joseph Schupack

Holocaust survivor stories need to be kept alive.  Every year, survivors with unique testimonies are passing away. This means that we will soon no longer be able to hear first-hand from the people who survived the Holocaust. Books and video testimonials by survivors will be the only ways to get to know their moving stories.

The sons of Joseph Schupack (1922 – 1989) have decided to republish their father’s testimonial, The Dead Years, in order to keep his memory alive by giving it better exposure.

Amsterdam Publishers is very pleased to have released the revised and augmented edition. The Dead Years is our fourth Holocaust memoir, and we are committed to continue to bear witness to the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Second World War.

PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT YAD VASHEM

Joseph Schupack’s two sons are grateful to Liesbeth Heenk and Amsterdam Publishers for the opportunity to make their father’s work available to a wider audience and wish to further the project of remembrance of the Holocaust by donating the proceeds of The Dead Years to benefit Yad Vashem’s causes, to take effect from 1 July 2017.

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The Dead Years is different from most Holocaust Survivor stories. Not only is it a testimony of the years wasted before the second world war in Poland and subsequently in the concentrationcamps of Majdanek, Auschwitz, Dora / Nordhausen and Bergen-Belsen in Germany and Poland, but it also serves as a witness statement. Although it has been written years after the events took place, the author has tried to mention as many names, places and dates as humanly possible. It contains a wealth of information for researchers and people interested in the era, or coming from Radzyn-Podlaski and surroundings.

The Dead Years is a deeply personal book. Schupack saw how people in the depths of misery shared their last morsel of food, how they were prepared for any sacrifice. There were many examples of brotherly love that grew out of empathetic pain.

Schupack describes the rampant anti-Semitism he encountered when he tried to reclaim his possessions in Poland after the end of the war. For the Poles in his home town, the best Jews were the ones who did not return. A new, strictly anti-Semitic organization had been founded and its primary goal was the liquidation of all Jews returning from hiding or concentration camps.

After the war the author confronted his demons, mentally scarred by his experiences, and suffering from a chronic anxiety about the future and a permanent feeling of insecurity. It is a miracle how he has come to terms with his memories. We are deeply grateful that he confided his memoirs to the paper, so we never forget.

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An excerpt from The Dead Years

Like a stranded man among the stranded, like a sufferer bound to all sufferers, I stood alone in front of the shambles of my life which had stopped when I was seventeen years old and from which nothing could be salvaged or repaired.

My own Holocaust had started almost five years before. I was very young then, but in the meantime had aged much more than those five years. The time of youth, when the basis for a human being is created and his personality is formed, the time of cheerful memories, of school, of first love – this period of laughter and pranks from which everyone derives pleasure for a lifetime – this period did not exist for me and my contemporaries. It was taken from us because we were born Jews. We spent this period in a hell among devils in human form. Those years were dead years.

No nightmare, no horror story, no fantasy can be compared to life in that inferno. Those five years seemed like a lifetime to me; I thought that I had been born and always lived there. Sometimes I would strain my memory to remember the time before 1939.

Then, my world was comprised only of Jews and non-Jews. I saw the world divided into the persecuted and the persecutors, the tortured and the torturers: on the one side, the beaten and the dead, on the other, the sadists and murderers. We Jews were always given the role of the persecuted. Even after the liberation I did not dare to think of changing roles, although I had wished it before: just once I wanted to play the other part and then die. The outrageous injustices committed against us hurt us more than all the resulting suffering. I could forgive neither God nor mankind for what I had witnessed and experienced during the extermination of our people. There is a lot of injustice in the world, but for that kind there is no consolation. Like a wounded animal I thought that I had to show my wounds to the world with its morals, political parties, organizations and religions so that not only the crimes of the murderers, but also the injustices committed against us Jews would be recognized.

To wake up from this trauma, conscious of the necessity to see and judge the world and people differently, to overcome the past was my problem and that of all my fellow sufferers.

The Dead Years is a poignant story offering a unique perspective on the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations

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Outcry Holocaust Memoirs by Manny Steinberg

outcry_holocaust_memoirs_by_manny_steinberg_published_by_amsterdam_publishersOutcry Holocaust Memoirs by Manny Steinberg

This autobiography has become a classic of holocaust literature and human survival. Manny Steinberg (1925 – 2015) spent his teens in Nazi  camps in Germany and Poland, and miraculously survived while millions perished. This is his story.

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Radom, his home town in Poland, and the nightmare started. The Jewish population of Radom had no chance of escaping and was faced with starvation, torture and ultimately deportation to camps.

Outcry is the candid narrative of a teenager who survived four Nazi camps (Dachau, Auschwitz, Vaihingen/Enz and Neckagerach). While being subjected to torture, he agonized over two haunting questions “How can the world let this happen?” and “Why the Jews?” These questions will remain difficult to answer.

Manny Steinberg’s brother Stanley had jumped off the train on the way to Treblenka where his stepmother and younger brother Jacob were to perish. Desperately lonely and hungry, Stanley stood outside the compound, hoping to spot Manny and their father. Once he discovered them, he turned himself in at the gate. The days were marked by hunger, cold and fear. Knowing that family members were in the same camp, kept them alive. They had to pretend to be complete strangers; acknowledging each other would have meant death.

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Outcry – Holocaust memoirs: Stanley, Milka and Manny Steinberg before WWII

Steinberg relates how he was forced to shave the heads of female corpses and pull out their teeth. Cherishing a picture of his beloved mother in his shoe, he miraculously survived the terror of the German concentration camps together with his father and brother Stanley.

When the Americans finally arrived in April 1945, Manny was little more than a living skeleton, with several broken ribs and suffering from a serious lung condition.

This autobiography was written to fulfil a promise Manny made to himself during the first days of freedom. By publishing his Holocaust memoirs, he wants to ensure that the world never forgets what happened during WWII.

Outcry – Holocaust Memoirs touches the reader with its directness and simplicity. The story is told through the eyes of an old man forcing himself to relive years of intense suffering. It is an account of human cruelty, but also a testimony to the power of love and hope. Memoirs worthy of being adapted for a movie. The book can be found on various  Wikipedia websites.

***** Amazon Bestseller by Amsterdam Publishers. The book has been downloaded more than 175.000 times since its release in September 2014, and has received more than 1,250 positive reviews on amazon.com, several hundreds on Goodreads and amazon.co.uk.

Because Outcry strikes a chord with people all over the world, we also published the book in French (ebook & paperback), German (ebook and paperback) Chinese (ebook) and Czech (hardback). We are working on a Spanish edition at the moment.

A Chinese paperback version is also being prepared. We are waiting for the ISBN being assigned. This takes a while, especially since the subject of the memoirs is WW2.

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In November we launched the Amsterdam Large Print Library. Outcry – Holocaust Memoirs is the first volume in this series. Hank Brodt Holocaust Memoirs is volume 2. These publications with font size 16 are catering for the visually impaired.

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Liesbeth Heenk interviews Manny Steinberg – March 2015

Manny_steinbergQ: Liesbeth Heenk – Publisher

A: Manny Steinberg (b. 1925 Radom, Poland), author of Outcry – Holocaust Memoirs, available as Kindle eBook, audiobook and P.O.D. paperback (ISBN 9789082 103137).

When did you decide to write your memoirs?

As soon as I was liberated from the camps I knew I had to tell my story, but it took a long time before I actually wrote my story.

Why did you write your memoirs?

Once I was out of the camps, I was having a hard time relaying what I had gone through, and even having a difficult time personally processing my own experience. I had become withdrawn after all my years in the camps, and desperately needed to communicate. I was shocked to learn how many people in America knew nothing about what had happened. Once in America, I even experienced Jewish Americans did not believe me. This is one of the reasons why I thought it was important to tell my story.

How long did the process of writing take you? Tell us about the process.

It was a rather lengthy process, as you may well understand. It took me ten years to write, and I wrote a short piece every time. Generally, I wrote during the night when my kids were all asleep.

How did you find a publisher? 

In 2007, I approached a small agency who agreed to publish my book in paperback.  However, the company’s distribution of my book seemed … not to be a priority. As fate would have it, in 2014 I heard about another company “Amsterdam Publishers” located in the Netherlands and their success with Holocaust books. I sent an inquiry to the publisher and they promptly responded which has led to the overwhelming sales and distribution of “Outcry” through Amazon.  Within a short period of time, our partnership has proven to be a mitzvah as my book skyrocketed and reached the bestseller list worldwide. If any survivors or anyone wants to publish their work I highly recommend  this publisher;  they will help you bring the work out of the woods into the world! [Thanks Manny!]

Would you recommend survivors to publish their memoirs?

I would recommend all survivors publish their memoirs. Not only does it help to educate people about the atrocities we endured, it helps the survivor to process the terrible memories. I’ve noticed that since my book is being read, I feel more and more open about talking about my experiences. So, yes, I recommend all survivors should tell their stories. Sadly, so many already passed away.

How come you are so forgiving? Considering your history it seems so amazing that you are not full of hatred.

It’s taken me many years to forgive. I’ve realized that I must try to let go of all these feelings that I built up over my years in the camps. When I forgive, it helps me to be at peace with myself, and with my family. When I hold feelings of hatred, my painful memories persist. I believe in forgiving, but not to forget.

What do you think of all the reviews the book is receiving? How does that make you feel?

I read each and every review. Frankly, I’m overwhelmed by the beautiful comments I see. I am touched by the fact that many hundreds of readers across the globe take the time to leave a review for the book. It makes me feel that people are truly hearing my story, and I’m so grateful for that. Finally I’m being heard.

What next?

It is wonderful to have the book published and appreciated by so many people. I have been approached by people who said Outcry would be perfect source material for a movie because it is such a dramatic -and above all- true story. This idea very much appeals to me. Although WWII is only recent history it is important that stories like mine keep being told. With a book one always reaches a limited audience, whereas a movie potentially has a much broader public. I find it important that the young generation knows what went on.

And of course, I would be very pleased if my book would be as widely available as possible. Currently it is being translated into German and Spanish, but I would love to have it available in all major languages.

California (USA) – The Netherlands, March 2015.

(End of Interview #1)

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Holocaust survivors at 70 year commemoration of KZ-Vaihingen/Enz. From right to left: Isaak Akerman, Manny Steinberg, Ted Weisbord, Boleslaw Urbanski, Jerzy Wojciewsky, Eugeniusz Dabrowski, Benjamin Zysman, Jules Schelvis (photo Thaler) 11 April 2015

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Liesbeth Heenk interviews Manny Steinberg – April 2015

Manny_steinberg_author_of_holocaust_memoirsManny Steinberg is the sole survivor of a large Jewish family from Radom (Poland). As a teenager he was taken to the camps together with his father, Chaim and younger brother Stanley. His stepmother Genia and younger brother Jacob were gassed upon arrival at Treblinka. As an almost 90 year old, he visited Germany for the first time since the liberation, accompanied by his family in April, 2015. Manny Steinberg was invited to join the 70-year commemoration of the liberation of KZ-Vaihingen/Enz in Germany. The seven other survivors were: Isaak Akerman from Israel, Eugeniusz Dabrowski from Poland, Jules Schelvis from The Netherlands, Boleslaw Urbański from Poland, Ted Weisbord from Florida, Jerzy Wojciewski from Poland and Ben Zysman from Connecticut.

I think it is very brave of you to return to Germany after all those years, and imagine it must have been difficult. I wonder whether this trip changed the way you view Germans?

To be honest, I did not like Germans nor wanted to buy any German products. You must understand, I never had any intention of stepping into the country that annihilated my family and tortured and imprisoned me for years. I could not bring myself to buy German products like BMW, Mercedes, Miele, Siemens or Bayer.

When the invitation came from the German City of Vaihingen/Enz to visit for the 70th anniversary, it was not a decision to attend that I made easily.

I thought about it for weeks, then asked my children, what they thought about going with me to Germany. They were concerned for my well being as I am 90 years old and not in the best health. However, they, Anita Lavi (daughter) and Gary Steinberg (son) as well as my grandson, Paul La Grassa, said: “If this is something you want to do, we will support your decision and go with you.”

You are now almost 90 years old, and have returned to Germany for the first time in 70 years. How does it feel?

I must admit, I was very nervous to return to Germany, but something in me kept urging me to pursue this journey; my family gave me strength to face this horrific and terrifying time that once happened in my life.

Commemoration_70_years_liberation_vaihingen_with_manny_steibergUpon our arrival in Vaihingen, I realized my fears were unwarranted as each person we met, greeted us with warmth, kindness and respect. Our first night, I lay in bed thinking and sorting out my feelings about this present day Germany and how much has changed.

The 4-day Commemoration program in Vaihingen/Enz has opened a closed door in my heart that I never thought possible; there is a new compassionate Germany.

Seeing tears in the eyes of the students of the Stromberg Gymnasium where we (the survivors) talked about our experiences in the camp was moving. I explained that I was their age when I was sent to the camp. Why? We have the same chromosomes, we have the same desires and love of family; but simply because I had a different religion, my family and I were beaten and treated like animals.

I was touched by their tears and questions; a wall in my heart has been taken down and healing towards the German people has now begun.

Cemetery_Vaihingen/EnzAnother reason for going to Vaihingen was to visit the cemetery where so many of my family members died. Being the sole survivor, I feel an obligation to pay my respect and visit the place where three of my father’s brothers are buried as well as many other relatives and friends. I still ask G-d, how it was possible that I survived? Going back was not easy, but ultimately, the right thing to do and very worthwhile.

I know I will never return here; once is enough. Too many bad memories that I prefer now to be laid to rest. Even the shower area at KZ-Vaihingen/Enz brought back vivid memories; it still smelled the same.

You also visited Dachau with your family; tell me how that affected you?

Manny_steinberg_and _family_at_dachauMost of my prison time was in other camps during the war; Dachau only a few days. All the camps looked the same; barbed wire, German guards with guns in towers and the enormous Appelplatz where we stood for hours on end waiting to be counted. I saw the bench on which my brother Stanley and I were beaten with a stick until we were barely alive and remembered the Germans singing Christmas songs while we were starving. It was difficult. When I saw the latrines I remember we were too afraid of using the bathrooms at night; the guards used us as targets so we would deficate and urinate in our straw bunks. There were two barracks left standing but the bunks were reconstructed and the grounds cleaner now. I was exhausted and emotionally drained by the end of the visit, but knew this was another step in closure and healing.

Jules_schelvis_and_manny_steinberg_at_vaihingen/enzJules Schelvis, who was with you in camp Vaihingen, told me that he started writing his memoirs straight away, when still recovering in hospital. You wrote down your life story some thirty years later.

I had a difficult time adjusting and communicating. Our lives were shattered and we had to start anew. I was lonely and hoped that serving in the American Army would give me a sense of belonging. I was reluctant to speak to my children about the horrors in the camps when they were young. I knew however, the only way to testify to what happened to me and all those others was to write it down; this was a long process. It is only until recently that I have a need to be heard. You have to understand, many people did not believe me when I told them about what had happened to me and my family.

And now with your book “Outcry” what are some of your thoughts?

The many positive and heartfelt reviews that my book Outcry – Holocaust Memoirs has received, makes me feel heard; people are acknowledging the atrocities and this means a great deal to me. I now want to talk to my family about those times so they will always remember what happened.

You were able to keep your mother’s picture with you during the six years in camps.

I loved my mother dearly. She was a beautiful and loving person. She died when my youngest brother Jacob was born. I had wooden shoes and the photo was in one of the shoes wrapped in paper. Although worn and creased, I have this picture still today.

When I read your story I think it is amazing that you managed to stay alive.

Food was important. We got so little of it. I did what I had to do in order to keep going. I tried always to be first in line for soup and also knowing that my brother and father were still alive was a great motivator for me to live. Perhaps because I was so young, I always had hope and trust in God that we would be saved and live to tell our story.

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Vaihingen/Enz and Dachau, 13 April 2015.

(End of Interview #2 )

If you are interested in Foreign Book Publishing rights, please do get in touch with Liesbeth Heenk.

The book is also available in Chinese, French and Czech:Outcry-manny-steinberg-chinese

The book is available in French as eBook and paperback

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The 90-year-old Manny Steinberg and his son Gary Steinberg recorded the audio version of Outcry – Holocaust Memoirs.

The audio is available on Amazon audible.

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Humbling and Unforgettable – Fleury Sommers

Heartcry – I read this book with a very heavy heart and tears running down my face. For Manny’s endurance and his brother Stanley to be so tested is truly a testament to life!

Compelling Personal Narrative

“Manny Steinberg shares his extraordinary story of surviving four concentration camps in an account noteworthy for its straightforward, unencumbered narrative. His is a story almost everyone can imagine happening to themselves – no less harrowing than more dramatic renditions of Holocaust survival, but somehow more compelling, and universal, for the unembellished simplicity of his style.”

“You must read Outcry, Holocaust Memoirs. You will have tears and joy how this young boy survived the six years in concentration camps in Poland and Germany. It is a hand-made story for a motion picture. Hollywood producers and directors, grab it! We must not allow this to happen again to human people. May God bless you, Mendel.” Mrs J. Olson.

“Read Outcry for reality. For reality it gets five stars. This is a real chronicle of a real 12-year-old boy faced with the horrors of the German obsession with anti-Semitism and Jewish genocide. …  For those who were the same age in the US at the time, as I was, you can only feel grateful that you were not in mainland Europe at the time. You cannot help but feel sympathy for Manny, his brother Stanley and father and sorrow for those in his family that did not survive. Brotherly love shines through the horror…” Webrand

Bittersweet Memories of a survivor:

“Manny Steinberg gives a riveting account of endurance of atrocities, set against his love of family and the Jewish culture. His faith has thankfully overcome the deep hatred he had nourished during early years of unspeakable suffering. He never fails to thank God for His countless providential interventions and a full life afterward.” D. Sifferd

Must Read!

“A testament to human suffering so severe it seemed impossible their lives would not end in death. But the relentless strength of the human spirit took them to blessed freedom. Gratitude pervades this book!” Carol Egan

Download your copy of Outcry  – Holocaust Memoirs

Outcry in the press:

Crescas Joods Boekennieuws

Jewish Book World

SocialDashboard

ireport-CNN

AbsoluteBestseller

Bietigheimer Zeitung (11 April 2015)

Vaihinger Kreiszeitung (11 April 2015)

Bietigheimer Zeitung (13 April 2015)

Vaihinger Kreiszeitung (17 April 2015)

Press Release June 2016: Outcry: Holocaust Memoirs Hits #1 on Amazon Best Seller’s List

Press Release January 2017: Outcry is now a #1 Bestseller

Broadway World (18 January 2017)

Press copy: info at amsterdampublishers.com

More Holocaust Memoirs? See: Hank Brodt Holocaust memoirs, or The Dead Years

Hank Brodt Holocaust Memoirs

Hank_brodt_holocaust_memoirs_amsterdam_publishersHank Brodt Holocaust Memoirs – A Candle and a Promise

Another Holocaust survivor story? Yes, and hopefully many more to come. These testimonies are too important.

Over the years Hank Brodt (b. 1925) has bourn witness through the spoken word, and from this Autumn also in the written word. His daughter Deborah Donnelly has worked for years with her father to make his life story into a memorable book.

Writing a memoir allows victims such as Hank Brodt to have a voice and to take ownership over their own story. After all, these memoirs combined will act as the voice of the Holocaust when, in ten years time,  victims are no longer with us and able to tell us their stories first-hand.

As publisher I feel it is our task to accept these testimonies with gratitude and become the witnesses of witnesses. Although decades passed since the Holocaust it is important that we preserve the memories of those who lived through it and to honor those who perished. We should continue to reflect on the events of the Holocaust so that we can – hopefully – learn valuable lessons from it.

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Two excerpts from Hank Brodt Holocaust Memoirs:

Hank Brodt in Boryslaw (Poland)

I found myself becoming more and more enraged. There was no outlet to rid myself of the anger and hatred that were building inside me. There was nothing I could do but carry it around and feel it grow day by day. I watched my mother become weaker as the days wore on, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. That feeling of helplessness added to my anger.

As I walked through my town, orders were barked in German. Failure to comply resulted in being beaten or killed. Memorizing German words to avoid being clubbed, or worse killed, for not responding became very important. Fortunately, there was some similarity between German and Yiddish. I worked diligently to give these new German words meaning. I thought it might well mean the difference between life and death for me and my mother.

We did not know how it could get worse, but it did. I lost my job, our sole source of income. Our world was falling apart. By October 1941, things became even tougher. Two ghettos were formed in Boryslaw. There was no need for a fence. Most of us did not venture beyond our designated area. The Nazi guards and the Ukrainians, primarily the latter, gladly took on the job of beating any Jew who violated the rules or ventured beyond the ghetto.

Being poor did have some unexpected advantages in these miserable circumstances, and in a very strange way, we were actually lucky. Our house was in a poor section of town that was later designated the ghetto. As a result, we did not have to move and no one came to share our home. Unlike many others, we were not forced to endure such changes.

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Hank Brodt & Nazi criminal Amon Goeth

Amon Goeth was the commandant of Plaszow until September 13, 1944. Goeth was not only insane, but a sadist. He found joy in killing. His house stood on another hill, high above the camp, from where he would randomly shoot prisoners going about their business. He walked around with guard dogs and without any provocation would order them to rip a prisoner to shreds.

Commandant Amon Goeth stands with his rifle on the balcony of his villa in the Płaszów concentration camp

Amon Goeth with his rifle on the balcony of his villa in the Płaszów concentration camp.
copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

When the smell of decomposing bodies could no longer be ignored, there was a visit from some Berlin officials. All bodies buried on the hill were to be exhumed. This of course became a work detail. After the bodies were exhumed, they were set ablaze. Hitler’s henchmen hoped that all incriminating evidence had now been erased, proof of the horrible crimes literally going up in smoke.

When I arrived in Plaszow, I soon discovered that there were no rules to play by. The commander was crazy; I would see a man standing one minute and then see him shot dead the next. I had no idea what to think. I could not see a guard anywhere near him. I looked toward the hill, where there was a house. My eye caught a man standing on the balcony with a gun. It was Goeth. I had no idea what the poor man in Goeth’s crosshairs had done as he dropped dead. It did not matter. It was just Goeth’s way, using innocent people for target practice. This particular shooting happened within a few minutes after we got off the train and were marched to the showers.

Hank_brodt_and_deborah_donnelly_with_hank_brodt_holocaust_memoirs

For other Holocaust Memoirs published by Amsterdam Publishers see: Outcry – Holocaust Memoirs by Manny Steinberg. This book made it into the #1 bestseller list on Amazon.

Hank Brodt Holocaust Memoirs – A Candle and a Promise is available on Amazon

Check this interview with Hank Brodt on the publication of his autobiography.

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Reviews of Hank Brodt Holocaust Memoirs

January Gray Reviews 28 September 2016

In November 2016 we launched the Amsterdam Large Print Library. Outcry – Holocaust Memoirs by Manny Steinberg is the first volume in this series. Hank Brodt Holocaust Memoirs is volume 2. These publications with font size 16 are catering for the visually impaired.

hank-brodt-holocaust-memoirs-large-print-coverOn Memorial Day 2017, an article written by Deborah Donnelly was published in the newsletter of the American Hebrew Academy Hagesher. Deborah described her publisher as tough..! Thanks Deborah (..!)

Newsletter American Hebrew Academy 29-May-2017

Newsletter American Hebrew Academy 29-May-2017

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