Tom Firth was born in Japan where his English father and Polish mother were living. He begins by describing his unusual childhood and the devastating Yokohama earthquake in 1923. In 1930 the family settled in Warsaw, Poland. However they became split up when Poland became overrun by the Nazis and the Russians in 1939. Whilst his father and older brother were in England, Tom found himself trapped in the Russian-occupied part of the country and, after several agonizing months, eventually made his way to Warsaw where his mother had managed to survive the bombing of the city. He vividly describes life under both regimes, as well as the cat-and-mouse game his mother was forced to play with the Gestapo in order to avoid arrest. Later, both became deeply involved with the sheltering of escaped British prisoners of war and it was this activity which led to his capture and imprisonment in a jail in Krakow. Miraculously released after eighteen months captivity, largely due to his command of the Polish language, he vowed to escape to Britain at all cost. Later in the war and after many harrowing experiences he succeeded in getting through to the Red Army, but was again faced with hostility, suspicion and imprisonment. Held for several months in primitive conditions, he, along with two British companions was finally taken to Moscow and handed over to the British Military Mission there. Arriving in Scotland with a convoy of supply ships late in December 1944, he had the galling experience of spending a night in Brixton Prison. With nowhere to go he then began a frantic search for his father and brother, who were convinced that he was dead. His dream came true, but even after the ending of hostilities and later in time, tragedy struck with the news of his mother's arrest by the Polish Communist authorities. Sentenced to death for alleged espionage, she spent several years in prison, being freed in a Government amnesty and arriving in England in 1956.
Author: Elie Wiesel
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Release Date: 2012-02-07
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
A New Translation From The French By Marion Wiesel Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man. Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.
Author: Andrew Carswell
Release Date: 2012-01-30
A POW's Journey from Hell to Freedom "His story exemplifies the courage and integrity of the generation that sacrificed so much for the cause of freedom ... The greatest single attribute these men who enlisted possessed was the virtue of high moral character and a willingness to do their duty ... It is my pleasure to recommend this book wholeheartedly. Read it, it will make you proud to be a Canadian." -T.J. Lawson, Major-General, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff National Defence, Canada "This is a quiet Victory in Europe story ... Carswell's story of personal liberation in the dying days of World War II, and his harrowing bailout over Germany, reads like an epic." -Scott Simmie, The Toronto Star In 1943 RAF Bomber Command was losing planes and aircrew at an alarming rate on its nighttime missions over Germany and occupied Europe. Volunteers across Canada answered the call to duty. This is the story of one of those who served and survived against almost impossible odds. Andrew Carswell grew up in Toronto and, shortly after his eighteenth birthday, enlisted and began the training that would soon qualify him to fly a Lancaster bomber. On his fourth operational mission his plane was shot down over Germany. Andrew and his crew bailed out of the burning airplane just before it crashed in flames. Alone and unarmed, but unhurt, Andrew found himself deep in forest on a bitterly cold night. He was taken prisoner, as were four other members of his crew, and spent the next three years as a prisoner of war in German Silesia--now eastern Poland--at Stalag VIIIB. His account of life in the camp and his two daring escapes from the heart of this fascinating story of a boy sent to do a man's job. He risked death daily yet never gave up and never lost hope. He was finally liberated by Montgomery's Second Army in 1945 and returned to England. This is Andrew's story, but it is also the story of tens of thousands of Canadians of his generation who were proud to serve their country in its hour of greatest need.
Named one of the Best Books of 1999 by the Los Angeles Times, The Pianist is now a major motion picture directed by Roman Polanski and starring Adrien Brody (Son of Sam). The Pianist won the Cannes Film Festival's most prestigious prize—the Palme d'Or. On September 23, 1939, Wladyslaw Szpilman played Chopin's Nocturne in C-sharp minor live on the radio as shells exploded outside—so loudly that he couldn't hear his piano. It was the last live music broadcast from Warsaw: That day, a German bomb hit the station, and Polish Radio went off the air. Though he lost his entire family, Szpilman survived in hiding. In the end, his life was saved by a German officer who heard him play the same Chopin Nocturne on a piano found among the rubble. Written immediately after the war and suppressed for decades, The Pianist is a stunning testament to human endurance and the redemptive power of fellow feeling.
Author: Barbara Rylko-Bauer
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Release Date: 2014-02-24
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Jadwiga Lenartowicz Rylko, known as Jadzia (Yah′-jah), was a young Polish Catholic physician in Lódz at the start of World War II. Suspected of resistance activities, she was arrested in January 1944. For the next fifteen months, she endured three Nazi concentration camps and a forty-two-day death march, spending part of this time working as a prisoner-doctor to Jewish slave laborers. A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps follows Jadzia from her childhood and medical training, through her wartime experiences, to her struggles to create a new life in the postwar world. Jadzia’s daughter, anthropologist Barbara Rylko-Bauer, constructs an intimate ethnography that weaves a personal family narrative against a twentieth-century historical backdrop. As Rylko-Bauer travels back in time with her mother, we learn of the particular hardships that female concentration camp prisoners faced. The struggle continued after the war as Jadzia attempted to rebuild her life, first as a refugee doctor in Germany and later as an immigrant to the United States. Like many postwar immigrants, Jadzia had high hopes of making new connections and continuing her career. Unable to surmount personal, economic, and social obstacles to medical licensure, however, she had to settle for work as a nurse’s aide. As a contribution to accounts of wartime experiences, Jadzia’s story stands out for its sensitivity to the complexities of the Polish memory of war. Built upon both historical research and conversations between mother and daughter, the story combines Jadzia’s voice and Rylko-Bauer’s own journey of rediscovering her family’s past. The result is a powerful narrative about struggle, survival, displacement, and memory, augmenting our understanding of a horrific period in human history and the struggle of Polish immigrants in its aftermath.
Author: Ian Serraillier
Publisher: Oxford University
Release Date: 2000-01-01
The Oxford Bookworms Library offers new editions of the original Oxford Bookworms Black and Green series, merging the two series into one with new covers. The new editions build on the success of the original series and provide enhanced teaching support. Sixteen additional pages inside each book allow extra pages of activities and increased author and series information. Some of the titles have new illustrations. For those titles which had associated cassettes, the cassettes will remain available with the same ISBNs as before.
Inspired by the lost voices of the Romany Holocaust this heartbreaking and tender novel will appeal to readers who loved Sophie's Choice, Schindler's Ark and The Book Thief. Austria, 1944. Jakob, a gypsy boy - half Roma, half Yenish - runs, as he has been told to do. With shoes of sack cloth, still bloodstained with another's blood, a stone clutched in one hand, a small wooden box in the other. He runs blindly, full of fear, empty of hope. For hope lies behind him in a green field with a tree that stands shaped like a Y. He knows how to read the land, the sky. When to seek shelter, when not. He has grown up directing himself with the wind and the shadows. They are familiar to him. It is the loneliness that is not. He has never, until this time, been so alone. 'Don't be afraid, Jakob,' his father has told him, his voice weak and wavering. 'See the colours, my boy,' he has whispered. So he does. Rusted ochre from a mossy bough. Steely white from the sap of the youngest tree. On and on, Jakob runs. Spanning from one world war to another, taking us across England, Switzerland and Austria, Jakob's Colours is about the painful legacies passed down from one generation to another, finding hope where there is no hope and colour where there is no colour.
Author: Helga Weiss
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2013-04-22
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
“A sacred reminder of what so many millions suffered, and only a few survived.”—Adam Kirsch, New Republic In 1939, Helga Weiss was a young Jewish schoolgirl in Prague. Along with some 45,000 Jews living in the city, Helga’s family endured the first wave of the Nazi invasion: her father was denied work; she was forbidden from attending regular school. As Helga witnessed the increasing Nazi brutality, she began documenting her experiences in a diary. In 1941, Helga and her parents were sent to the concentration camp of Terezín. There, Helga continued to write with astonishing insight about her daily life: the squalid living quarters, the cruel rationing of food, and the executions—as well as the moments of joy and hope that persisted in even the worst conditions. In 1944, Helga and her family were sent to Auschwitz. Before she left, Helga’s uncle, who worked in the Terezín records department, hid her diary and drawings in a brick wall. Miraculously, he was able to reclaim them for her after the war. Of the 15,000 children brought to Terezín and later deported to Auschwitz, only 100 survived. Helga was one of them. Reconstructed from her original notebooks, the diary is presented here in its entirety. With an introduction by Francine Prose, a revealing interview between translator Neil Bermel and Helga, and the artwork Helga made during her time at Terezín, Helga's Diary stands as a vivid and utterly unique historical document.
Author: John Donoghue
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: 2015-05-12
A novel of the improbable friendship that arises between a Nazi officer and a Jewish chessplayer in Auschwitz SS Obersturmfuhrer Paul Meissner arrives in Auschwitz from the Russian front wounded and fit only for administrative duty. His most pressing task is to improve camp morale and he establishes a chess club, and allows officers and enlisted men to gamble on the games. Soon Meissner learns that chess is also played among the prisoners, and there are rumors of an unbeatable Jew known as "the Watchmaker." Meissner's superiors begin to demand that he demonstrate German superiority by pitting this undefeated Jew against the best Nazi players. Meissner finds Emil Clément, the Watchmaker, and a curious relationship arises between them. As more and more games are played, the stakes rise, and the two men find their fates deeply entwined. Twenty years later, the two meet again in Amsterdam—Meissner has become a bishop, and Emil is playing in an international chess tournament. Having lost his family in the horrors of the death camps, Emil wants nothing to do with the ex-Nazi officer despite their history, but Meissner is persistent. "What I hope," he tells Emil, "is that I can help you to understand that the power of forgiveness will bring healing." As both men search for a modicum of peace, they recall a gripping tale of survival and trust. A suspenseful meditation on understanding and guilt, John Donoghue's The Death's Head Chess Club is a bold debut and a rich portrait of a surprising friendship.
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Release Date: 2014-07-29
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Relates the story of a U.S. airman who survived when his bomber crashed into the sea during World War II, spent forty-seven days adrift in the ocean before being rescued by the Japanese Navy, and was held as a prisoner until the end of the war.
Author: Caroline Moorehead
Publisher: Random House Canada
Release Date: 2011-11-01
“How can you do this work if you have a child?” asked her mother. “It is because I have a child that I do it,” replied Cecile. “This is not a world I wish her to grow up in.” On January 24, 1943, 230 women were placed in four cattle trucks on a train in Compiegne, in northeastern France, and the doors bolted shut for the journey to Auschwitz. They were members of the French Resistance, ranging in age from teenagers to the elderly, women who before the war had been doctors, farmers’ wives, secretaries, biochemists, schoolgirls. With immense courage they had taken up arms against a brutal occupying force; now their friendship would give them strength as they experienced unimaginable horrors. Only forty-nine of the Convoi des 31000 would return from the camps in the east; within ten years, a third of these survivors would be dead too, broken by what they had lived through. In this vitally important book, Caroline Moorehead tells the whole story of the 230 women on the train, for the first time. Based on interviews with the few remaining survivors, together with extensive research in French and Polish archives, A Train in Winter is an essential historical document told with the clarity and impact of a great novel. Caroline Moorehead follows the women from the beginning, starting with the disorganized, youthful and high-spirited activists who came together with the Occupation, and chronicling their links with the underground intellectual newspapers and Communist cells that formed soon afterwards. Postering and graffiti grew into sabotage and armed attacks, and the Nazis responded with vicious acts of mass reprisal – which in turn led to the Resistance coalescing and developing. Moorehead chronicles the women’s roles in victories and defeats, their narrow escapes and their capture at the hands of French police eager to assist their Nazi overseers to deport Jews, resisters, Communists and others. Their story moves inevitably through to its horrifying last chapters in Auschwitz: murder, starvation, disease and the desperate struggle to survive. But, as Moorehead notes, even in the most inhuman of places, the women of the Convoi could find moments of human grace in their companionship: “So close did each of the women feel to the others, that to die oneself would be no worse than to see one of the others die.” Uncovering a story that has hitherto never been told, Caroline Moorehead exhibits the skills that have made her an acclaimed biographer and historian. In this book she places the reader utterly in the world of wartime France, casting light on what it was like to experience horrific terrors and face impossible moral dilemmas. Through the sensitive interviews on which the book is based, she tells personal and individual stories of courage, solace and companionship. In this way, A Train in Winter ultimately becomes a valuable memorial to a unique group of heroines, and a testimony to the particular power of women’s friendship even in the worst places on earth. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Sarah Helm
Release Date: 2015-01
On a sunny morning in May 1939 a phalanx of 800 women - housewives, doctors, opera singers, politicians, prostitutes - were marched through the woods fifty miles north of Berlin, driven on past a shining lake, then herded through giant gates. Whipping and kicking them were scores of German women guards. Their destination was Ravensbrück, a concentration camp designed specifically for women by Heinrich Himmler, prime architect of the Nazi genocide. For decades the story of Ravensbrück was hidden behind the Iron Curtain and today is still little known. Using testimony unearthed since the end of the Cold War, and interviews with survivors who have never spoken before, Helm has ventured into the heart of the camp, demonstrating for the reader in riveting detail how easily and quickly the unthinkable horror evolved.
The controversial journalistic analysis of the mentality that fostered the Holocaust, from the author of The Origins of Totalitarianism Sparking a flurry of heated debate, Hannah Arendt’s authoritative and stunning report on the trial of German Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann first appeared as a series of articles in The New Yorker in 1963. This revised edition includes material that came to light after the trial, as well as Arendt’s postscript directly addressing the controversy that arose over her account. A major journalistic triumph by an intellectual of singular influence, Eichmann in Jerusalem is as shocking as it is informative—an unflinching look at one of the most unsettling (and unsettled) issues of the twentieth century.
Author: Sarah Helm
Release Date: 2015-03-31
A masterly and moving account of the most horrific hidden atrocity of World War II: Ravensbrück, the only Nazi concentration camp built for women On a sunny morning in May 1939 a phalanx of 867 women—housewives, doctors, opera singers, politicians, prostitutes—was marched through the woods fifty miles north of Berlin, driven on past a shining lake, then herded in through giant gates. Whipping and kicking them were scores of German women guards. Their destination was Ravensbrück, a concentration camp designed specifically for women by Heinrich Himmler, prime architect of the Holocaust. By the end of the war 130,000 women from more than twenty different European countries had been imprisoned there; among the prominent names were Geneviève de Gaulle, General de Gaulle’s niece, and Gemma La Guardia Gluck, sister of the wartime mayor of New York. Only a small number of these women were Jewish; Ravensbrück was largely a place for the Nazis to eliminate other inferior beings—social outcasts, Gypsies, political enemies, foreign resisters, the sick, the disabled, and the “mad.” Over six years the prisoners endured beatings, torture, slave labor, starvation, and random execution. In the final months of the war, Ravensbrück became an extermination camp. Estimates of the final death toll by April 1945 have ranged from 30,000 to 90,000. For decades the story of Ravensbrück was hidden behind the Iron Curtain, and today it is still little known. Using testimony unearthed since the end of the Cold War and interviews with survivors who have never talked before, Sarah Helm has ventured into the heart of the camp, demonstrating for the reader in riveting detail how easily and quickly the unthinkable horror evolved. Far more than a catalog of atrocities, however, Ravensbrück is also a compelling account of what one survivor called “the heroism, superhuman tenacity, and exceptional willpower to survive.” For every prisoner whose strength failed, another found the will to resist through acts of self-sacrifice and friendship, as well as sabotage, protest, and escape. While the core of this book is told from inside the camp, the story also sheds new light on the evolution of the wider genocide, the impotence of the world to respond, and Himmler’s final attempt to seek a separate peace with the Allies using the women of Ravensbrück as a bargaining chip. Chilling, inspiring, and deeply unsettling, Ravensbrück is a groundbreaking work of historical investigation. With rare clarity, it reminds us of the capacity of humankind both for bestial cruelty and for courage against all odds. From the Hardcover edition.