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I Choose Life: Two Linked Stories of Holocaust Survival and Rebirth Paperback – March 19, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 142 pages
  • Publisher: Xlibris, Corp. (March 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441503056
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441503053
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,911,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Many survivors' children, the Second Generation, are left to wrestle with what their parents experienced. Joe Finkelstein learned about his family's experiences in bits, over many years. Here, his parents' stories are told individually until after they meet and marry in a DP camp in Stuttgart. Both Sol and Goldie are remarkable people, maintaining courage and conviction that they would survive. An SS guard gives Joe's maternal grandfather a choice between which of his two daughters would be put on the train to a labor camp. Goldie volunteers to go while her sister remains behind with their parents. She is the only one of her family to survive. Sol, his brother, and father are sent to Mauthausen. A daring young man, Sol maneuvers himself into a better position and becomes more able to withstand the fiendish practices of the Nazi guards. He later loses his father in a march.

More challenges face Joe's parents in America. HIAS helps but certainly not in a place they would envision living in the future nor in a job Sol would want. Fortuitously, these sophisticated former Europeans find themselves in Vineland, New Jersey, where they become chicken farmers and the nucleus of a small Jewish community. This is a lively, well-written account made particularly so because Joe's parents' wartime records became available in 2007, enabling him to travel to Poland and learn the details about his grandfather, Jacob Finkelstein's, death in a hospital after liberation. --Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter, Marcia Posner, November, 2009 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Author

From Joseph S. Finkelstein: This book is a memoir written in the first person and tells the story of my parents' childhoods in pre-war Poland, their Holocaust experiences in various labor and concentration camps, and their rebuilding of Jewish life in America.

Both of my parents rebuilt their lives after the Holocaust as new people. They decided that they would not burden their children, nor to the extent possible, their own marriage with painful memories of the past. So, as the second-generation children of survivors, my siblings and I grew up in America without knowledge of the life and death events that our parents had experienced in Europe.

Gradually, my parents began telling their experiences through oral history projects and other media. But still I felt the need to do more. 'I Choose Life' has enabled my parents to leave a legacy of their experiences to their family and to future generations. As the next generation, I rejoice in the choices and courage of my parents, Sol and Goldie. As a child of Holocaust survivors, I take upon myself the legacy to preserve the history and memories of what they endured. It is the responsibility of all of us to listen, to learn, to embrace these stories, and to educate the next generation. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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It is a wonderful human story.
Jerrilyn G. Marston
Appropriate for middle or high school age students and adults, this is a wonderful, worthwhile book.
Sara Finkelstein
This is a book I couldn't put down-I started reading it and had to finish it.
KB

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KB on April 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a book I couldn't put down-I started reading it and had to finish it. Well written/easy to read. Highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in Holocuast memoirs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JL Bell on January 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this when it was first published and the story still remains with me today. It is such a good reminder for us all to be told holocaust survivor stories over and over. The courage, bravery and outlook is deeply inspirational. So well written! Beautiful!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Louis Coffey on April 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
I couldn't put it down. Such a moving story, with a wonderful transformation - I was going to say ending, but the Finkelstein's recovery and continuation is ongoing and inspiring.

Getting the book written and published is a gift to all of us.

Congratulations!

Lou Coffey
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading "I Choose Life" last night ... I had intended to read it slowly on my commuter train, but once I got into it, I literally could not put it down. Please do not be put off by the subject matter (as in, "I don't need to be depressed, etc"). This is a beautiful, life-affirming book. and when you finish, you will feel renewed and uplifted, anything but depressed. I love the format: first you meet Sol. His voice just carries you along in such a vivid way; the author preserved not only his words, but his cadence, humor and outlook. You KNOW this man: even when he is facing some truly harrowing experiences (and they will wrench your gut), you can see a smart, savvy young mensch struggling to keep his spirit alive under the most unbelievable3 trials. There is a very touching rendering of the separation from his father, but even this tragedy is redeemed in a surprise that I won't spoil. Then you go through his true triumphs, through canniness, ability to seize opportunities and outwit his captors through an indominatable spirit. And you also see his kindness, his generous acknowledgment of those Germans and Poles who helped where they could, at great risk to themselves. This is what I mean when I say this is a story of the triumph of the human spirit.
And then we meet Goldie, again speaking in her very unique voice. She is so very young when she is faced with the events that turn her comfortable life upside-down; small in stature, proud of her beauty, huge in spirit and dignity. There is a point where her father must choose which of his two daughters to save; and I thought of my own two girls, and how I would have faced such a choice.
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Format: Paperback
Like many others,I have learned a great deal about the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust. Reading "I Choose Life" had a different effect on me. I don't ever remember smiling or feeling hopeful at the end of those experiences. On the contrary, I have always felt anger and sadness.
The personalized accounts of Sol's and Goldie's journeys, coupled with the historical facts and pictures, made it all the easier to read and understand their story. Although their pain was palpable and their treatment inhumane, they were still able to "choose life" and all it had to offer, over hate...somehow knowing that hate would surely destroy them.

This story is so special because it's not only about survival, but also about the resiliance and triumph of the human spirit. Sol's and Goldie's abilities to see the positive and to care for others and each other, are an example to us all.
Looking at their smiling family pictures makes you smile too and feel hopeful that sometimes goodness really can triumph over evil.
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Format: Paperback
This book is an uplifting surprise for folk that think Holocaust memoirs are uniformlly depressing. The Finkelstein's along with Jerry Jennings have crafted a story of courage, fortitude, risk taking, strenth of family, and the ability to recognise and take opportunities that come your way, as well as the importance of chuptsa. For the Finkelsteins the stakes were liife and death. We can take many lessons frrom their story to help us cope and flourish in our own not so dangerous lives. I took many lessons from their story. Perhaps the best is that some times you have to get out of the line in which someone or yourself puts you iand get in the other line. For the Finklesteins this meant life.Please buy and read this book for the life's lessopns you will find in it.
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Format: Paperback
An important, engaging memoir that is easy to read and hard to forget. The true stories of two young Jews and their experiences during the Holocaust, how they suvived concentration camps and personal devastating losses, this book is educational, moving, and inspirational. Told in the first person, you will truly get to know these individuals and become involved in their experiences. You will walk in their shoes, appreciate their sense of humor, and be impacted by their strong committment to family and faith. Appropriate for middle or high school age students and adults, this is a wonderful, worthwhile book.
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