Survive. At any cost.
10 concentration camps.
10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.
It's something no one could imagine surviving.
But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.
As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner -- his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087.
He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later.
Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will -- and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?
Based on an astonishing true story
Imagine having no identity and been known only by a number. The book was easy to read but the subject was difficult, hard to even imagine what the Jews went through treated worse than animals, knowing your family is dead and wanting to die but also wanting to survive.
The story is based on a true story. The beginning of the war, the people were hopeful that it would be finished soon and not affect their lives too much but as the war goes on it becomes apparent that everything is going to change. Yanek and his family try and live in some strange places to try and escape the Nazi notice.
I like history so I would read this again. I was reading to see how he managed and trying to recall my history lessons to know when the war ended. Each chapter gave a year that it happened in and it is really hard to imagine having so much happen in such a short amount of time. Glad that not a lot of graphic detail was used as it is a horrible subject to deal with.
I managed to read this in one afternoon, would recommend this to anyone with a love of history. Since it is based on a true story it reads and feels so much more than if it was written by someone who had just read about the subject, always get a better picture if you chat to anyone who was actually there and went through it.
Okay, After once doing some self-led study on World War 2, this story provides an entirely new perspective to what I know. I know that the Jews were a highly disrespected group of people, but after reading this book, I learned things that I hadn't learned before. I guess this is primarily because the story is written in a first-person view, so I can understand how the Jews were treated from a Jew's point of view, and let me tell you, it worked!
I think that this book can be considered as both fiction and non-fiction, as this book is based on true fact, collected from both history and the memory of the main character in this story, Jack (or Yanek, if you go by his Jewish name) Gruener, but it was written in a form of writing that bears strong resemblance to the structure of fictional novels. This story was quite addictive, I read it heaps, and I was struck by the large amount of sudden changes in the emotional atmosphere that this book had, It started off calm, people going about their business, but then it quickly changed into what was officially the start of a 6 year-long nightmare: The day the Nazis took over Poland, and began the Holocaust.
Overall, this was quite a dramatic and action-filled tale, what strikes me is this: the story is true, or at least based on a true story, but nonetheless, it was still quite cool and terrifying. The price is very good, it is a good match to the book's value. I would be quite happy to read this book again sometime, I won't be selling this one for a while. I lost track of time quite easily, this was a very addictive book, so this aspect get's a 10/10, as does the book's overall score!
I don't usually read books that are based during any war that actually happened in our history thus far. It's not so much that I don't want to know, but more that having studied it at school and the small tid-bits that I've read over the years are enough for me to know the horrors that occurred and that I will never understand what any of them, Jew, Nazi, Gypsy etc. alike, went through.
This book follows young Yanek, a Jewish boy who's home is one day invaded by the Nazi. At first he and his parents, along with extended family, are able to live as they had beforehand, but slowly life gets worse and eventually Yanek is left alone. It doesn't last and soon he is being shipped off from one camp to another.
The book does well at letting you know where and when you are, with each new place being given on a separate page, along with the time spent in that particular camp. Whilst each chapter ranges in size, it is good to have the dates kept on their own in a way, making it easier to follow along.
As with any 'based on a true story' you don't know quite what to believe, but the book is written well enough that it simply isn't thought about. There is a couple of pages at the end of the book where the author tells us about meeting Yanek (now Jake) and that his blessing for this book was given. The only misleading part is the cover stating 'based upon the true story of Ruth and Jack Gruener' but it is only Jack/Yanek's story.
This was an easy read in terms of writing style and time taken to read it (I finished it in 3 hours), yet the topic is not the nicest, as you can't tell some of the horrors and have it come out as rainbows and lollipops. Yanek is a great character, well written and you keep hoping that he will survive.
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