More related to World War I

Starting as early as 1939, disparate Jewish underground movements coalesced around the shared goal of liberating Poland from Nazi occupation. For the next six years, separately and in concert, they waged a heroic war of resistance against Hitler’s war machine that culminated in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Isaac’s Army, Matthew Brzezinski delivers the first-ever comprehensive narrative account of that struggle, following a group of dedicated young Jews—some barely out of their teens—whose individual acts of defiance helped rewrite the ending of World War II.
 
Based on first-person accounts from diaries, interviews, and surviving relatives, Isaac’s Army chronicles the extraordinary triumphs and devastating setbacks that befell the Jewish underground from its earliest acts of defiance in 1939 to the exodus to Palestine in 1946. This is the remarkable true story of the Jewish resistance from the perspective of those who led it: Isaac Zuckerman, the confident and charismatic twenty-four-year-old founder of the Jewish Fighting Organization; Simha Ratheiser, Isaac’s fifteen-year-old bodyguard, whose boyish good looks and seeming immunity to danger made him an ideal courier; and Zivia Lubetkin, the warrior queen of the underground who, upon hearing the first intimations of the Holocaust, declared: “We are going to defend ourselves.” Joined by allies on the left and right, they survived Gestapo torture chambers, smuggled arms, ran covert printing presses, opened illegal schools, robbed banks, executed collaborators, and fought in the two largest rebellions of the war.
 
Hunted by the Germans and bedeviled by the “Greasers”—roving bands of blackmailers who routinely turned in resistance fighters for profit—the movement was chronically short on firepower but long on ingenuity. Its members hatched plots in dank basements, never more than a door knock away from summary execution, and slogged through fetid sewers to escape the burning Ghetto to the forests surrounding the city. And after the initial uprising was ruthlessly put down by the SS, they gambled everything on a bold plan for a citywide revolt—of both Jews and Gentiles—that could end only in victory or total destruction. The money they raised helped thousands hide when the Ghetto was liquidated. The documents they forged offered lifelines to families desperate to escape the horror of the Holocaust. And when the war was over, they helped found the state of Israel.
 
A story of secret alliances, internal rivalries, and undying commitment to a cause, Isaac’s Army is history at its most heart-wrenching. Driven by an unforgettable cast of characters, it’s a true-life tale with the pulse of a great novel, and a celebration of the indomitable spirit of resistance.

Advance praise for Isaac’s Army
 
“Told with care and compassion, Matthew Brzezinski’s Isaac’s Army is a riveting account of the Jewish resistance in wartime Poland. This is an intense story that transcends the horror of the time and finds real inspiration in the bravery of those who fought back—some of whom lived to tell their stories. Highly recommended.”—Alan Furst, author of Mission to Paris
Sam Halpern’s eyewitness account of a flourishing Jewish life wiped out by the Nazis, Sam’s miraculous survival, and his ultimate success in America.

In this incredible memoir, Sam Halpern lovingly and mournfully shares his life story—from his vibrant childhood in Chorostkow, Poland, to the horrors of the labor camp he was forced into by the Nazis, and ultimately his survival with his brother Arie. We see Sam’s deep affection for his parents, Mordechai Dov and Bella Halpern, and brothers, Naftali, Avrum Chaim, and Arie, and are introduced to the people, customs, and traditions of the Chorostkow shtetl. We also have an up-close view of the cruelty and horror inflicted by the Nazis. While in a forced labor camp, Sam is beaten, nearly starved, and ill with typhus, but ultimately as a result of street smarts and divine intervention, Sam and Arie escape and are miraculously hidden until liberation. Throughout the darkness, they maintain hope. After the war, Sam meets Gladys, the exceptional woman who becomes the love of his life and with whom he will raise four sons. Together with Arie, they eventually make it to the United States where they raise families and are international advocates for the Jewish community.

This beautifully written story was originally published in 1996. This new edition features a moving contribution by Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and a wealth of new photos, and is published in honor of Sam and in advance of what would have been his one hundredth birthday.

"Needle in the Bone" tells the astonishing stories of Holocaust survivor Lou Frydman and former Polish resistance fighter Jarek Piekalkiewicz. As mere teenagers during World War II, the two men defied daunting odds, lost everything and nearly everyone in the war, and yet summoned the courage to start new lives in the United States. Captured by the German army during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, Frydman survived six concentration camps and three death marches. By the war's end, everyone in his extended family had been killed except for his brother. Piekalkiewicz started his own underground army at age sixteen. In addition, one of his uncles was the main leader and another the head treasurer for the Polish resistance before the Nazis discovered, tortured, and murdered them. After the war, Frydman and Piekalkiewicz began the long process of healing, taking different paths through the refugee camps of Europe, and then through university, marriage, and work, eventually leading them both to teaching positions at the University of Kansas, where they met in 1975. Recognizing the trauma and courage of each other's experiences, they became best friends, forming a lasting bond. "Needle in the Bone" offers insight into the Holocaust and the Polish resistance by entwining the stories of these two survivors. By blending extensive interviews with Frydman and Piekalkiewicz, historical research, and the author's own responses and questions, this emotionally stirring book provides a unique perspective on still-compelling issues, including the meaning of the Holocaust, the nature of good and evil, and how people persevere in the face of unbearable pain and loss.
"Shocking. Revelatory. Compelling. A truly authentic and riveting read. A milestone in WWII and Holocaust history." – Damien Lewis, author: The Nazi Hunters


"A harrowing, beautifully written and extremely well-researched account of a little-known aspect of the Holocaust. Patricia Posner's fine prose style grips from page one, and the horror will stay with you long after you finish the book." – Andrew Roberts, author: The Storm of War


"A gruesome story, eloquently told."  – Kirkus Reviews


"Posner avoids sensationalism and gives us a harrowing and important read." – Jewish Renaissance


"Posner's book doubles as the spellbinding story of Nazi Germany's largest industrial conglomerate, I.G. Farben . . . [and] in one important way, her book is a celebration of a rare kind of heroism. Its compelling side story offers an in-depth profile of Nazi hunter Fritz Bauer, who proved relentless in hunting down Capesius and bringing him to justice." – Dallas Morning News


"The research is impeccable . . . The prose is clear and concise . . . Good for you, Patricia Posner, for documenting a story that really is not yet over. This is a gripping read. Highly recommended." – miamiartzine

 

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is the little known story of Victor Capesius, a Bayer pharmaceutical salesman from Romania who, at the age of 35, joined the Nazi SS in 1943 and quickly became the chief pharmacist at the largest death camp, Auschwitz.

Based in part on previously classified documents, Patricia Posner exposes Capesius’s reign of terror at the camp, his escape from justice, fueled in part by his theft of gold ripped from the mouths of corpses, and how a handful of courageous survivors and a single brave prosecutor finally brought him to trial for murder twenty years after the end of the war.

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is much more, though, than a personal account of Capesius. It provides a spellbinding glimpse inside the devil’s pact made between the Nazis and Germany’s largest conglomerate, I.G. Farben, and its Bayer pharmaceutical subsidiary. The story is one of murder and greed with its roots in the dark heart of the Holocaust. It is told through Nazi henchmen and industrialists turned war criminals, intelligence agents and zealous prosecutors, and intrepid concentration camp survivors and Nazi hunters.

Set against a backdrop ranging from Hitler’s war to conquer Europe to the Final Solution to postwar Germany’s tormented efforts to confront its dark past, Posner shows the appalling depths to which ordinary men descend when they are unrestrained by conscience or any sense of morality. The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is a moving saga that lingers long after the final page.

One of the earliest published accounts of the Nazi concentration camp system, for no crime other than being Jewish Leon Szalet was incarcerated by the Gestapo and experienced the awful torments of Sachsenhausen.

“Long before I became acquainted with a German concentration camp—at the time Germany launched her attack on Poland—I had heard much about the horrors of these German torture chambers. Almost everyone who lived in Germany, native or foreigner, knew of someone who had once been in a concentration camp. Everyone had a vague idea of the punishment cells, whippings, starvation rations. But just how the mechanism of a concentration camp functioned, how a prisoner’s day was spent, how he worked, what he ate, what and how he suffered—these things were known only to those who had once been cogs in such a mechanism.

And these did not speak. They did not speak because the fear of the Gestapo haunted them night and day; because on their release from the camp they were made to sign a statement that they would not make public the things they had seen and experienced; because the Gestapo sent those who broke this pledge back to the camp for “atrocity propaganda”; and because those sent back would soon come out again, this time in a crudely built wooden coffin.

It was a long while before I felt strong enough to describe what I had seen and experienced. That I have been able to put it on paper at all, I owe to my daughter, whose untiring energy and resourcefulness not only accomplished my rescue but has also been an invaluable help in preparing the manuscript.”-Author’s Preface.
First published in 1962, Night and Hope is a collection of interrelated short stories by a young Czech writer who was a boy in the Terezín concentration camp near Prague during the war. They have already been received with great acclaim abroad and they now make their appearance for the first time in this country. They reveal what it was like to live in a sealed town which was in fact a reception station for the gas chambers of Auschwitz. A guard thrashes a poor old woman on the counter of her little shop and each are curiously resigned to their roles of giving and receiving degradation. Little boys play in the streets and are quietly regretful that they won’t grow up and wear fine clothes. A guard’s wife and her coffee-party friends stroll round the ghetto to collect anything that catches their eye—a wedding-ring, pathetic clothes....

Arnošt Lustig’s stories are a new and vivid focus on this fearful tragedy as it affected the private individual. They are written with restraint yet nothing is glossed, and they take their place amongst the very best writing to have come out of the shambles of Hitler’s ‘Jewish Question’.

“Arnošt Lustig has succeeded in putting truth into a poem. Nothing in art could mean more than that. His style is sober and modern, his sentence carries all attributes of that which connects prose with poetry and makes it obvious how slight and unperceivable the borderlines between genres.”—L. Askenazy, Literarni Noviny (Prague).

“Each tale has a genuine unity of its own and is a small work of art in its own right. No one reading them could ever feel that they were only stories.”—The Times Literary Supplement (London).

“No writer in Europe, in the East or in the West, has expressed as much truth about the time of the holocaust as Arnošt Lustig.”—Maariv (Tel Aviv).

“Outstanding stories.”—The Bookman, London
One summer day in 1941, half of the Polish town of Jedwabne murdered the other half, 1,600 men, women, and children, all but seven of the town's Jews. Neighbors tells their story.

This is a shocking, brutal story that has never before been told. It is the most important study of Polish-Jewish relations to be published in decades and should become a classic of Holocaust literature.


Jan Gross pieces together eyewitness accounts and other evidence into an engulfing reconstruction of the horrific July day remembered well by locals but forgotten by history. His investigation reads like a detective story, and its unfolding yields wider truths about Jewish-Polish relations, the Holocaust, and human responses to occupation and totalitarianism. It is a story of surprises: The newly occupying German army did not compel the massacre, and Jedwabne's Jews and Christians had previously enjoyed cordial relations. After the war, the nearby family who saved Jedwabne's surviving Jews was derided and driven from the area. The single Jew offered mercy by the town declined it.


Most arresting is the sinking realization that Jedwabne's Jews were clubbed, drowned, gutted, and burned not by faceless Nazis, but by people whose features and names they knew well: their former schoolmates and those who sold them food, bought their milk, and chatted with them in the street. As much as such a question can ever be answered, Neighbors tells us why.


In many ways, this is a simple book. It is easy to read in a single sitting, and hard not to. But its simplicity is deceptive. Gross's new and persuasive answers to vexed questions rewrite the history of twentieth-century Poland. This book proves, finally, that the fates of Poles and Jews during World War II can be comprehended only together.

American s are justly proud of th e role their country played in liberating Europe from Nazi tyranny. For many years, we have celebrated the courage of Allied soldiers, sailors, and aircrews who defeated Hitler's regime and restored freedom to the continent. But in recounting the heroism of the "greatest generation," Americans often overlook the wartime experiences of European people themselves -- the very people for whom the war was fought.

In this brilliant new book, historian William I. Hitchcock surveys the European continent from D-Day to the final battles of the war and the first few months of the peace. Based on exhaustive research in five nations and dozens of archives, Hitchcock's groundbreaking account shows that the liberation of Europe was both a military triumph and a human tragedy of epic proportions.

Hitchcock gives voice to those who were on the receiving end of liberation, moving them from the edge of the story to the center. From France to Poland to Germany, from concentration-camp internees to refugees, farmers to shopkeepers, husbands and wives to children, the experience of liberation was often difficult and dangerous. Their gratitude was mixed with guilt or resentment. Their lives were difficult to reassemble.

This strikingly original, multinational history of liberation brings to light the interactions of soldiers and civilians, the experiences of noncombatants, and the trauma of displacement and loss amid unprecedented destruction. This book recounts a surprising story, often jarring and uncomfortable, and one that has never been told with such richness and depth.

Ranging from the ferocious battle for Normandy (where as many French civilians died on D-Day as U.S. servicemen) to the plains of Poland, from the icy ravines of the Ardennes to the shattered cities and refugee camps of occupied Germany, The Bitter Road to Freedom depicts in searing detail the shocking price that Europeans paid for their freedom.

Today, with American soldiers once again waging wars of liberation in faraway lands, this book serves as a timely and sharp reminder of the terrible human toll exacted by even the most righteous of wars.
Peter Van Woerden, Corrie Ten Boom’s nephew, began his career in the Dutch underground in 1942. He was the organist of the Reformed Church in Velsen and was at his regular post on the bench one Lord’s Day morning as he recounts:

“On this particular Sunday, as I sat and mused, I suddenly realized that exactly two years before, on the 10th of May, the Nazi invasion of Holland had begun. As I looked over the congregation I decided that something should be done, something on this Sunday morning to demonstrate that we still were real Dutchmen at heart, something to express our faith and hope in a day of victory when we would again be a free people. The sermon over, I pulled extra stops out on the organ, then firmly and distinctly played the first chords of the Wilhelmus, the national anthem of the Netherlands. There was a rustling downstairs. People stood to their feet. One voice began to sing, then another, and others; and soon, like a mighty sea, the glorious old hymn rolled forth from the overflowing hearts of hundreds of Hollanders as tears streamed down their faces. For that one moment we were a free people in the midst of a dark world full of oppression and persecution.”

That gesture landed Peter in prison where, in turn, he experienced, for the first time in his life, a deep hunger for God. After years in the church he met Christ and was truly converted. And thus an adventure in which Peter evaded the Nazis many months until the night he went to grandfather and Aunt Corrie.
On the Eve is the portrait of a world on the brink of annihilation. In this provocative book, Bernard Wasserstein presents a new and disturbing interpretation of the collapse of European Jewish civilization even before the Nazi onslaught.

In the 1930s, as Europe spiraled toward the Second World War, the continent’s Jews faced an existential crisis. The harsh realities of the age—anti-Semitic persecution, economic discrimination, and an ominous climate of violence—devastated Jewish communities and shattered the lives of individuals.

The Jewish crisis was as much the result of internal decay as of external attack. Demographic collapse, social disintegration, and cultural dissolution were all taking their toll. The problem was not just Nazism: In the summer of 1939 more Jews were behind barbed wire outside the Third Reich than within it, and not only in police states but even in the liberal democracies of the West. The greater part of Europe was being transformed into a giant concentration

camp for Jews. Unlike most previous accounts, On the Eve focuses not on the anti-Semites but on the Jews. Wasserstein refutes the common misconception that they were unaware of the gathering forces of their enemies. He demonstrates that there was a growing and widespread recognition among Jews that they stood on the edge of an abyss.

On the Eve recaptures the agonizing sorrows and the effervescent cultural glories of this last phase in the history of the European Jews. It explores their hopes, anxieties, and ambitions, their family ties, social relations, and intellectual creativity—everything that made life meaningful and bearable for them.

Wasserstein introduces a diverse array of characters: holy men and hucksters, beggars and bankers, politicians and poets, housewives and harlots, and, in an especially poignant chapter, children without a future. The geographical range also is vast: from Vilna (the “Jerusalem of the North”) to Amsterdam, Vienna, Warsaw, and Paris, from the Judeo-Espagnol-speaking stevedores of Salonica to the Yiddish-language collective farms of Soviet Ukraine and Crimea.

Wasserstein’s aim is to “breathe life into dry bones.” Based on comprehensive research, rendered with compassion and empathy, and brought alive by telling anecdotes and dry wit, On the Eve offers a vivid and enlightening picture of the European Jews in their final hour.
Slave Labor in Nazi Concentration Camps examines the slave labor carried out by concentration camp prisoners from 1942 and the effect this had on the German wartime economy. This work goes far beyond the sociohistorical 'reconstructions' that dominate Holocaust studies - it combines cultural history with structural history, drawing relationships between social structures and individual actions. It also considers the statements of both perpetrators and victims, and takes the biographical approach as the only possible way to confront the destruction of the individual in the camps after the fact. The first chapter presents a comparative analysis of slave labor across the different concentration camps, including Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau. The subsequent chapters analyse the similarities and differences between various subcamps where prisoners were utilised for the wartime economy, based on the example of the 86 subcamps of Neuengamme concentration camp, which were scattered across northern Germany. The most significant difference between conditions at the various subcamps was that in some, hardly any prisoners died, while in others, almost half of them did. This work carries out a systematic comparison of the subcamp system, a kind of study which does not exist for any other camp system. This is of great significance, because by the end of the war most concentration camps had placed over 80 percent of their prisoners in subcamps. This work therefore offers a comparative framework that is highly useful for further examinations of National Socialist concentration camps, and may also be of benefit to comparative studies of other camp systems, such as Stalin's gulags.
New York Times Bestseller: The true story of twelve Jews who went underground in Nazi Berlin—and survived: “Consummately suspenseful” (Los Angeles Times).

When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, approximately one hundred sixty thousand Jews called Berlin home. By 1943 less than five thousand remained in the nation’s capital, the epicenter of Nazism, and by the end of the war, that number had dwindled to one thousand. All the others had died in air raids, starved to death, committed suicide, or been shipped off to the death camps.

In this captivating and harrowing book, Leonard Gross details the real-life stories of a dozen Jewish men and women who spent the final twenty-seven months of World War II underground, hiding in plain sight, defying both the Gestapo and, even worse, Jewish “catchers” ready to report them to the Nazis in order to avoid the gas chambers themselves. A teenage orphan, a black-market jewel trader, a stylish young designer, and a progressive intellectual were among the few who managed to survive. Through their own resourcefulness, bravery, and at times, sheer luck, these Jews managed to evade the tragic fates of so many others. 

Gross has woven these true stories of perseverance into a heartbreaking, suspenseful, and moving account with the narrative force of a thriller. Compiled from extensive interviews, The Last Jews in Berlin reveals these individuals’ astounding determination, against all odds, to live each day knowing it could be their last.
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