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"A nerve-wracking saga in which life and death depend on a capricious fate...absorbing lucidity...vivid portraits...simple moral vision that resonates--'I met enough decent, brave, and noble Germans and Latvians during the war to be immunized against prejudice'. A testament of remarkable clarity and humanity...." Kirkus Reviews
When Stalin brutally seized Latvia--my country--in June 1940, I was one of many Latvian patriots alarmed at this perfidious aggression. I narrowly escaped deportation to the USSR on 14 June 1941. But a few days later, when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union and swiftly drove the Red Army out of Latvia, I became one of 90,000 Latvian Jews who suddenly faced death. The Holocaust began at once. Jews were shot by tens, hundreds, and thousands. Only 2% survived the Nazi occupation.
My father invented an audacious bluff to save his wife and sons--though not himself. My mother was to claim that she was a German foundling raised by Jewish parents. At best this bluff would last a few months, as too many people in our town (Liepāja, pop. 57,000) knew our family. Against all odds, we managed to stretch it out for nearly 2 years, followed by a few years in legal limbo when my mother and I "slipped through cracks in the Holocaust", though my father, brother, and 24 other relatives perished. When the Red Army reentered Latvia in 1944, we fled to Germany with 100,000 others who also thought that one year under Stalin was enough.
This book covers only my years in Europe (1926-1949), prior to my emigration to the US. Part I is my survival story. Part II is my attempt as a scientist to give a dispassionate objective analysis of Latvian conduct during the German occupation. I show that most Latvians deplored the German-led Holocaust murders in which a few thousand Latvians participated.
A brilliant scientist wrote an honest and truthful account of his personal experiences and events during the WWII and his own life story. Read morePublished 8 months ago by msnordy
Easy-to-read, very interesting, very informative, well-documented, objective and an affordable read by an intelligent author with significant real-life experiences. Read morePublished on May 28, 2013 by email@example.com
Invaluable experience of a Jewish family in Latvia during the German occupation there.
Recommend for anyone interested in Eastern European Jewish experience.