Books by the Boys

'To Hell and Back' by Sender Riseman

This is the story that Sender Riseman typed up for his grandchildren, word for word, unedited. There are no grandiose statements in this book and no revolutionary ideas. This is simply the story of an ordinary man who found himself in hell and managed to come back. Anything you've heard about the Holocaust, he experienced. The Lodz Ghetto, attempting to hide, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buchenwald, Theresienstadt, Death Marches and finally freedom. Sender Riseman is one of 'The Boys' - a group of Holocaust survivors made famous by the Martin Gilbert book of the same name. 'The Boys' got their title because after the Second World War, United Kingdom offered to take children refugees from the camps. Only 732 could be found. He died in March 2016 at the age of 89 years old in London, UK after successfully building up a Jewish Orthodox family and lifestyle and merited to see a new generation with many grandchildren and all the family remembering his legacy.

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'Faces in the Smoke: The story of Josef Perl', Arthur Christopher Benjamin

A brutal and honest story of survival told from the perspective of a schoolteacher and not the survivor, which gives the book a uniqueness and charm, which is enhanced by the notes written by schoolchildren that are included at the end of the book.

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'Lili: Lili Stern-Pohlmann in conversation with Anna Blasiak', Anna Blasiak

Pohlmann survived thanks to the help she was given by two remarkable non-Jews: a German woman working for the Nazi occupying forces in Lemberg, and a Greek Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop. After the war Pohlmann came to London in the first of three transports of Jewish children from Poland organised by Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld. In a series of conversations with Blasiak, Pohlmann tells the story of her childhood, wartime experiences, her arrival in London and the years immediately after the war.

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'A Rage to Live: Surviving the Holocaust So Hitler Would Not Win', Victor Breitburg

Breitburg survived of the Lodz Ghetto, Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Rhemsdorf concentration camps. He was liberated at the Theresienstadt ghetto

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'My Hidden Childhood: A Holocaust Memoir', Catherine Bruce Ott

Before Mirjam Stern was old enough to remember what year she was born, her window to the world was darkened by German occupation of her homeland. She was less than five years old when she sensed a shift in the atmosphere of her small rural town in Czechoslovakia. When friends and neighbours were forced to leave, and her family was held at gunpoint by German officers, she knew that life was about to change forever.

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'Two Who Survived: Keeping Hope Alive While Surviving the Holocaust', M. Lee Connolly

Two teenagers, Rose Swartz and Max Schindler from completely different worlds meet when they are brought to the UK as part of the Boys. A beautiful love story of the first of the Boys to marry. The Schindlers show extraordinary determination in the face of adversity.

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'A Gust of Wind', Michael Etkind

Not currently available to buy

'Sevek and the Holocaust, The Boy Who Refused to Die', Sidney Finkel

Finkel tells his story is told from the perspective of eight-year-old Sevek, capturing the emotions of a boy who loses his home, his family and ultimately his humanity by the time he reaches the age of fourteen. The 2nd Edition includes a new chapter about Finkel's return to Buchenwald 66 years after liberation, as well as new-found information discovered during this visit.

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'Surviving the Holocaust', Isaac Finkelstein

Finkelstein was one of the key players in bringing the first group of the Boys together after the liberation in Theresienstadt. His was the older brother of Sidney Finkel (above).

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'Ben Helfgott – The Story of One of The Boys', Michael Freedland

This is not just the story of another Holocaust survivor. There is nothing about Ben Helfgott that is usual. After all, very few survivors would, just a few years after liberation, become Olympic athletes. He did exactly that. He was a boy growing up in a small Polish town, Piotrkow, when his whole life changed as the Nazis moved in during the first week of the Second World War. As a small child he was top of his class - everything he did was of a standard beyond that of any of his classmates. Multi-lingual, he read newspapers and watched films that were beyond his years.

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'On Behalf of My Father', Judy Glicksohn-Pasternak

Glicksohn-Pasternak’s father, Jacob Glicksohn was one of the first of the Boys to write an account of what had happened to him during the Holocaust. He wrote his diary in Polish while at the Loughton hostel.

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'Ragdolls,' Henry Golde

Golde was held in nine different concentration camps and at the age of 11, he became an adult. This is the story that he has shared with school children as an advocate of Holocaust education.

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'Chasing Shadows', Hugo Gryn

Hugo Gryn arrived in the UK with the third group of the Boys. He went on to become a leading British Reform rabbi, a national broadcaster and a leading voice in interfaith dialogue.

In this intimate and often humorous portrait, published posthumously, Gryn describes his idyllic childhood in the once vibrant and tight-knit Jewish community of the Carpathian Mountains, and the aftermath of Nazi-occupation as his family is forced into the Ghetto and then transported to Auschwitz.

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'Memories in Focus', Pinchas Gutter

As ten-year-old Gutter is deported from the Warsaw ghetto to the killing site of Majdanek and then to a series of concentration camps, he shuts himself off to the terrors surrounding him and tries his best not to be noticed, to become almost invisible. But after liberation, his photographic memory will not allow his past fade away. Gutter struggles to deal with nightmares and flashbacks while trying to raise a family and heal his emotional scars. Memories in Focus vividly retells Gutter’s painful journey, describing the separation from his parents and twin sister, his struggle to stay alive under the cruellest of circumstances and the luck and moments of kindness that enabled him to survive.

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'A Life Sentence of Memories: Konin, Auschwitz, London', Issy Hahn

Hahn and his brother Karol survived six concentration camps, three forced labour camps, typhus and two death marches. The war ended for them on 9 May 1945. The brothers returned to their hometown of Konin and then arrived in London, thanks to the help of Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld.

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'Roman’s Journey', Roman Halter

Halter was an optimistic and boisterous schoolboy in 1939 when he and his family gathered behind net curtains to watch the Volksdeutsch neighbours of their small town in western Poland greeting the arrival of Hitler's armies with kisses and swastika flags.

Within days, the family home was seized, and 12-year-old Halter became a slave of the local SS chief. Returning from an errand, silently witnesses his Jewish classmates being bayoneted to death by soldiers at the edge of town. Halter recounts his remarkable six-year journey through some of the darkest caverns of Nazi Europe, and the loss of every other member of his family and the 800-strong community of his boyhood. Halter tells his indelible story with a simplicity and grace that allow the facts of his suffering and survival to speak for themselves.

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'David’s Story', David Herman

A young man endures five Nazi concentration camps but survives against the odds and goes on to build a successful new life in Britain with ‘The Boys’. Told through the eyes of young David, this autobiography is initially set in Munkacs in pre-war Czechoslovakia, the “little Jerusalem” of eastern Europe. His childhood is brought to an abrupt end as the Nazis take control of the town. He must rely on his most basic instincts to survive when he is transported to Auschwitz.

Forced as a slave labourer to build railways for the Nazi war effort, Herman is already starving when he is injured in an air raid. Struggling to go on, he is unexpectedly reunited with his brother. Together they help each other to survive a death march and are liberated at Theresienstadt. From an orphanage in Prague, Herman joined the third group of the Boys and began a new life in England.

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'A Detail of History: The harrowing true story of a boy who survived the Nazi Holocaust', Arek Hersh

How do you survive when you’re 11 years old and all your family have been taken from you and killed? How do you continue to live, when everything around you is designed to ensure certain death? Arek Hersh tells his story simply and honestly, a moving account of a little boy who made his own luck and survived. He takes us into the tragic world imposed on him that robbed him of his childhood.

The depth of the tragedy, strength of courage and power of survival will move you and inspire you. Contrary to assertions that the Holocaust years were a mere ‘detail of history’, Hersh gives us a glimpse into the greatest catastrophe that man has ever inflicted on his fellow man.

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'We Stood Shoulder to Shoulder', Jack Kagan

This book serves as a historical guide, as an account of a much-neglected aspect of Jewish history - Jewish resistance - and a memorial to those Jews who fought, and those who fell, in the battle for freedom." Sir Martin Gilbert. This is the first attempt by Belarusian scholars, in cooperation with Kagan, a former Bielski partisan, to introduce the Jewish resistance in Belarus to researchers and to make it available to the English-speaking reader.

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'Surviving the Holocaust with the Russian Jewish Partisans', Jack Kagan and Dov Cohen

Two cousins relate their experiences with Bielski's partisan brigade in war-torn Russia during the Second World War. Natives of Novogrodek, part of present-day Belarus, they describe Jewish life before the Holocaust and furnish a most moving account of how a thriving and prosperous Jewish centre was destroyed by the Nazis and local collaborators. Initial joy when their hometown was taken over by the Soviet Union soon disappeared when the Germans ran the Russians out of town and started implementing policies to eradicate all Jews and anything Jewish.

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'Feathers, smoke, a shattered family : a three year old survivor of Terezín', Berl Lazarus and Maryann McLoughlin.

'Life Of Michael Novice', Michael Novice

Novice describes his life before the war as well as his incredible and terrifying experiences during the Holocaust. He was brought to England after liberation as part of the first group of the Boys. He describes the kinds of medical, financial, educational and emotional support he received as a member of the Boys. Novice writes intimately of his thoughts and feelings as he started a new life in Britain. Additional parts bring the reader up to date in 2017 at his 90th birthday celebration.

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'Survivor: the Death March, and My Fight for Freedom', Sam Pivnik

On 14 different occasions Pivnik cheated death. A survivor of two ghettos, Auschwitz and slave labour in a mine, Pivnik endured a death march and was one of just a handful of people who swam to shore after the prison ship Cap Ancona was bombed by the RAF. He eventually made his way to London, where he found people were too preoccupied with their wartime experiences in the Blitz to care what had happened to him.

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'Memories', Chaim Shane

This is the autobiography of Chaim Shane, who arrived in the UK in 1945 with the first group of the Boys, having survived the Warsaw ghetto, slave labour, concentration camps and death march.

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'Say the Name: A Survivor's Tale in Prose and Poetry', Judith H. Sherman

After more than fifty years of public silence Sherman is triggered to speak out after hearing a lecture by Professor Carrasco at Princeton on 'Religion and the Terror of History'. The narrative is interspersed with Sherman's powerful poems that grab the reader's attention. Poignant original drawings made secretly by imprisoned women of Ravensbruck, at risk of their lives, illuminate the text. Sherman courageously bears witness to the terror of man and simultaneously challenges God for answers.

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'Boy 30529: A Memoir', Felix Weinberg

Boy 30529 tells the story of a child who at the age of twelve lost everything: hope, home, and even his own identity. Born into a respectable Czech family, Felix's early years were idyllic. But when Nazi persecution threatened in 1938, his father travelled to England, hoping to arrange for his family to emigrate there. His efforts came too late, and his wife and children fell into the hands of the Fascist occupiers. Thus begins a harrowing tale of survival, horror and determination. Over the following years, Felix survived five concentration camps and by the skin of his teeth, a death march from Blechhammer in 1945. Losing both his brother and mother in the camps, Felix was liberated at Buchenwald and eventually reunited at the age of seventeen with his father in Britain, where they built a new life together.

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'Missing childhood : my story of surviving the Holocaust', Stephen Wolkowicz