Roman's Journey: A Memoir of Survival

Skyhorse
Free sample

The Polish painter, sculptor, and architect gives readers “a terrifying view from the epicenter of the Holocaust” (Kirkus Review).
 
Roman Halter was a spirited, optimistic schoolboy in 1939 when he and his family gathered behind the curtains to watch the Volksdeutsche (German Polish) neighbors of their small town in western Poland greet the arrival of Hitler’s armies with kisses and swastika flags. Within days, the family home had been seized, twelve-year-old Roman had become a slave of the local SS chief, and, returning from an errand, he silently witnessed his Jewish classmates being bayoneted to death by soldiers at the edge of town. So began his remarkable six-year journey through some of the darkest caverns of Nazi Europe that claimed the lives of his family and the eight-hundred-strong community of his boyhood. Incredibly, he survived the Lodz ghetto, Auschwitz, the Stutthof concentration camp, and a slave factory in Dresden, only to find this his native village, post-war, was nothing like the home he remembered.
 
“Written with the piercing detachment of much of the great literature of the Holocaust . . . Compelling [and] compassionate.” —Observer (UK)
 
“Halter stubbornly conveys both harrowing loss and hunger for renewed life with measured matter-of-factness that allows his ordeals to speak for themselves.” —Publishers Weekly
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About the author

Martin Gilbert was born in London, England on October 25, 1936. He was sent to Canada during World War II, but returned on a liner bringing American troops to Britain in preparation for D-day. After national service in the intelligence corps, he was educated at Magdalen College at Oxford. He graduated from Oxford in 1960 and wrote his first book entitled The Appeasers. In 1961, after a year of research and writing, he was asked to join a team of researchers working for Winston Churchill. At the age of 25, he was formally inducted into the team, doing all of his own research. Gilbert became known as Churchill's official biographer, but he also wrote books on the Holocaust, the first and second world wars, and Jewish history. During his lifetime, he wrote over 80 books including Winston Churchill, Auschwitz and the Allies, The Holocaust: The Jewish Tragedy, The Jews of Hope: The Plight of Soviet Jewry Today, Shcharansky: Hero of Our Time, Letters to Auntie Fori: The 5,000-Year History of the Jewish People and Their Faith, and In Search of Churchill. He died after a long illness on February 3, 2015 at the age of 78.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Skyhorse
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Published on
Mar 1, 2012
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781628722772
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Holocaust
History / Jewish
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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This poignant memoir by Noah Lederman, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, transports readers from his grandparents’ kitchen table in Brooklyn to World War II Poland. In the 1950s, Noah’s grandparents raised their children on Holocaust stories. But because tales of rebellion and death camps gave his father and aunt constant nightmares, in Noah’s adolescence Grandma would only recount the PG version. Noah, however, craved the uncensored truth and always felt one right question away from their pasts. But when Poppy died at the end of the millennium, it seemed the Holocaust stories died with him. In the years that followed, without the love of her life by her side, Grandma could do little more than mourn.

After college, Noah, a travel writer, roamed the world for fifteen months with just one rule: avoid Poland. A few missteps in Europe, however, landed him in his grandparents’ country. When he returned home, he cautiously told Grandma about his time in Warsaw, fearing that the past would bring up memories too painful for her to relive. But, instead, remembering the Holocaust unexpectedly rejuvenated her, ending five years of mourning her husband. Together, they explored the memories—of Auschwitz and a half-dozen other camps, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the displaced persons camps—that his grandmother had buried for decades. And the woman he had playfully mocked as a child became his hero.

I was left with the stories—the ones that had been hidden, the ones that offered catharsis, the ones that gave me a second hero, the ones that resurrected a family, the ones that survived even death. Their shared journey profoundly illuminates the transformative power of never forgetting.
Through compelling personal accounts and family correspondence, One Step Ahead documents Alfred Feldman’s harrowing flight into exile as he and his family fled the pogroms that flooded across Nazi-occupied Europe. It is a memoir of horror and hope recounted by a man who survived the organized terror of Hitler’s "Final Solution" as it destroyed entire generations of European Jewish life within ten catastrophic years in the mid-twentieth century. Feldman’s memoir conveys the searing pain that has never left him, while demonstrating the triumphant humanity of a survivor.

Feldman vividly describes the impact of the escalating anti-Semitic hatred and violence in Germany during the 1930s, the impact of the notorious Nuremberg Laws in 1935, and the terrifying Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938. By age sixteen, Feldman was living with his parents and three younger sisters in Antwerp, Belgium, during the 1939 German invasions of Poland, marking the start of World War II. In the face of increasing persecution, Feldman’s extended family scattered over the globe in a desperate attempt to remain one step ahead of their Nazi pursuers.

Recalling his life on the run, Feldman describes what few survivors have chosen to write about: the Vichy raids of August 26, 1942; the French labor brigades; the Comité Dubouchage; and life in super-vised residence in France under the Italians. While in the south of France, Feldman endured food shortages and Nazi anti-Semitic measures, beginning with work camps and culminating in the deportation and ultimate death of his mother and sisters at Auschwitz.

To evade the Germans, Feldman and his father fled into the Italian Alps in September of 1943, hiding between the Allies and the Germans. Aided by local villagers, the Feldmans survived precariously for over a year and a half, along with other Jewish refugees, until that region was liberated. Only then, and only gradually, did Feldman manage to piece together the fate of his surviving family and learn at last of the death of his mother and sisters.

Now, as an adult, Alfred Feldman has retraced his escape and exile, taking his wife and children to his hometown in Germany, the mountains in Italy, and Montagnac, where a plaque commemorates his mother and sisters.

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. 

In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

Praise for The Diary of a Young Girl

“A truly remarkable book.”—The New York Times

“One of the most moving personal documents to come out of World War II.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

“There may be no better way to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II than to reread The Diary of a Young Girl, a testament to an indestructible nobility of spirit in the face of pure evil.”—Chicago Tribune

“The single most compelling personal account of the Holocaust . . . remains astonishing and excruciating.”—The New York Times Book Review

“How brilliantly Anne Frank captures the self-conscious alienation and naïve self-absorption of adolescence.”—Newsday
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