Tagarchief: Holocaust

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.

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.

Buy_now_with_1_click

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

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Bewaren

Hank Brodt Holocaust Memoirs

Hank_brodt_holocaust_memoirs_amsterdam_publishersHank Brodt Holocaust Memoirs – A Candle and a Promise

Over the years Hank Brodt (b. 1925) has bourn witness through the spoken word, and now also in the written word. His daughter Deborah Donnelly has worked for years with her father to make his survivor 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.

AmsterdamPublishers_hank_brodt_holocaust_memoirs

Buy_now_with_1_click

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.

AmsterdamPublishers_hank_brodt_holocaust_memoirs

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.

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.

amazon buy button

Reviews voor Hank Brodt Holocaust Memoirs

January Gray Reviews 28 September 2016

In November 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-cover

Bewaren

Bewaren

Abbé Glasberg

The-mission_ogf_abbe_glasberg_lucien_lazareThe Mission of Abbé Glasberg by Lucien Lazare is the fascinating story of a priest – of Jewish origins – who dedicated himself to the task of helping the refugees who were streaming into France during the years preceding World War II. Together with Father Chaillet, Alexandre Glasberg created the ecumenical Amitié Chrétienne in May 1942 with the full support of Cardinal Gerlier, archbishop of Lyon.

In a joint effort, they managed to retrieve hundreds of Jewish children from French-run concentration camps and disperse them among religious houses and private homes. They refused to give them up even when the government of Vichy placed Chaillet under house arrest in a psychiatric hospital for three months.

They disregarded the orders of Alexandre Angeli, the regional prefect of Lyon who was a Nazi collaborator. Alexandre Angeli was condemned to a death penalty immediately after the war, later commuted to a sentence of four year-imprisonment. Abbé Glasberg later joined the French underground.

After the war, Abbé Glasberg assisted the Mossad in their attempt to transport many of the survivors of WWII to the land of Israel. The book contains an introduction by Cardinal Albert Decourtray, April 4th, l990.

The book is available on Amazon as eBook and paperback:

Buy_now_with_1_click

Justus Rosenberg, one of the Jews saved by the Glasberg network

On 29 April 2016 The New York Times (Sarah Wildman) devoted an article, ‘The Professor Has a Daring Past’, on the 95-year-old Justus Rosenberg who provided a safe passage out of Vichy France to anti-fascist intellectuals and cultural figures fleeing the Nazis. Rosenberg was used as a courier to deliver messages to refugees and scout out safe passage, in particular via the overland route through Spain.

In August 1942, he was rounded up with several hundred other Jews and was taken to a transit camp, Vénissieux, outside the city of Lyon. There, he was rescued by the network of Abbé Alexandre Glasberg and received his new identity: Jean-Paul Guiton. He went on to serve with the French Resistance.

Article in French by Leo Abrami on Alexandre Glasberg in the Tribune Juive

Mendel

Mendel _anita_lavi_amsterdam_publishersMendel: a Holocaust Story for Children by Anita Lavi

Mendel is a children’s book that gently introduces the subject of the Holocaust to children.

In Mendel, a father tells his two children the story of a Jewish boy who lived in Poland during the second world war. Each night after he tucks his children in, Father sits on the edge of the bed and begins his story about Papa, Mama and their three boys. It is, as you may have guessed, his own story.

The book is based on the life story of the author’s father, Manny Steinberg. Together with his father and brother, Manny Steinberg managed to survive four Nazi camps.

Mendel by Anita Lavi takes you from a quiet, loving and warm family home, to being put into trucks, and living in camps. Being reunited after the war, the family ultimately emigrates to the US, arriving to be greeted by Lady Liberty in New York harbor.

The tone of the book is simple, but poignant and gentle which makes it suitable for children aged circa 8 to 11. Mendel is written to teach without frightening. The emphasis is  very much on strength of family.

The author stresses the importance of family, hope and love. The book has been illustrated with pencil drawings by Caroline Juler that beautifully depict the mood and era of the story.

Buy_now_with_1_click

Anita Lavi on writing Mendel: a Holocaust story for Children

“A few years ago, I helped my dad re-write his book Outcry – Holocaust Memoirs.  The collaboration not only brought us closer in understanding one another, but helped me realize that I had a passion for writing.  In April, 2015 I traveled with my father (Manny Steinberg) to Germany for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Vaihingen Concentration Camp. The small city invited survivors and their families to their quaint town to celebrate life and pay tribute to the people who once suffered at the hands of their countrymen and forefathers.  It was an emotional trip to say the least, but my dad endured it at 90 years of age.

One of the events that we attended, was at a local high school where students asked questions of the survivors.  I thought to myself, there in a room filled with 15 – 17 year old kids asking so many questions; how do we as parents and grandparents explain the holocaust to younger children?  I thought about it for several days and when I sat down to write, the words came flooding to me. I remembered when I was a little girl, my dad telling me bedtime stories and all about the young boy and his family who once lived in Radom, Poland.”

Praise for Mendel

“Passing along family history and the simple lessons of life to our children is maybe the most important responsibility parents have. Perhaps the most challenging lessons are those that deal with reality and the fact that bad things happen and children need to know this without scaring them.

If your family is Jewish, this a great book to start to teach the kids in a gentle way some of the more difficult parts of history. It is an excellent tool to generate healthy questions and discussions.”

The drawings are great punctuations in the story and themselves a great way to engage children and let them talk about what they see. Read this book to your children and then have a chat about Mendel and his family and then talk about your family.”

Mendel is available in English (eBook and Print-on-Demand paperback), and in French.

Mendel _anita_lavi_amsterdam_publishers