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From A Name to A Number: A Holocaust Survivor's Autobiography [Kindle Edition]

Alter Wiener
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (764 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"Alter Wiener’s father was brutally murdered on September 11, 1939 by the German invaders of Poland. Alter was then a boy of 13. At the age of 15 he was deported to Blechhammer, a Forced Labor Camp for Jews, in Germany. He survived five camps. Upon liberation, by the Russian Army on May 9, 1945, Alter weighted 80 lbs as reflected on the book’s cover.
      Alter Wiener is one of the very few Holocaust survivors still living in Portland OR. He had moved to Oregon several years ago and since then he has shared his life story with 300 audiences in universities, colleges, middle and high schools, Churches, Synagogues, prisons, clubs etc. He has also been interviewed by radio and TV stations as well as the press
    Wiener’s autobiography is a testimony to an unfolding tragedy taking place in WWII. It has a message what prejudice may lead to and how tolerance is imperative.
      This book is not just Wiener’s life story but it reveals many responses to his story. Hopefully, it will enable many readers to truly understand such levels of horror and a chance to empathize with the unique plight of the Holocaust victims."


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

I had lived in Forest Hills, New York for 40 years and I had never been asked to share my life story, with students or adults. Like many other Holocaust survivors, I was focused on adjusting to a new life in a new country. I had a full time job until the age of 73, and then I left New York for Oregon.

I have never been able to bring down an iron curtain on my past. For me, the horrific memories from the Holocaust are still fresh. The ashes I rose from are still smoldering. I am tormented by memories even as I try to carry on with my life. I am crying in silence, I am still in pain, I am draped in sadness. While grieving I am also somewhat healed. Most members, of my extended family, had passed away but their love will stay and our relationship will never end, because love is not mortal.. The warmth that permeated our family is the anchor that I hang on to. The Holocaust is a ghastly and repulsive historical nightmare. Not all physical and mental scars can be completely healed with passing years; some extend through time. However, I can not let grief immobilize me.
I realize that it is beyond the understanding of most people to fathom the horror and dread that I have witnessed and endured. The Holocaust is indeed beyond comprehension. My tribulations during the Holocaust are so removed from people’s daily lives that those horrors sound unbelievable to them.

In April 2000, I moved to Hillsboro Oregon. I met a Holocaust survivor who urged me to join the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center (OHRC). I did, and became a member of the OHRC “Speakers Bureau.” The Speakers share their Holocaust experiences with young students and adults, in the State of Oregon and Washington.

I have always been self conscious of my limited vocabulary, my foreign accent and my flawed diction. Had I been well versed in the English language I would still feel uncomfortable to address audiences. However, I was coaxed by the coordinator of OHRC to give a try, and I made my first presentation, in December 2000, at Century High School, Hillsboro.

Since then, I have shared my life story with over 840 audiences. Most of my listeners have been quite respectful, sympathetic, as reflected in their faces, sometimes with outrage and often with tears. They are captivated, in their rapt attentiveness. The appreciation for my implicit and explicit messages is reflected in their verbal and written responses. I am very pleased when told by teachers that my presentation had inspired even the most fidgety students.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3482 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Authorhouse (November 22, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0047O2E0Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,874 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Uniqueness of "From A Name to A Number" July 19, 2009
Format:Paperback
My late father was a Holocaust survivor; so is my mother. From my early childhood on I have been listening and over hearing about the tragic events taking place during WWII.
Most of my parents' friends were also Holocaust survivors. Their social conversations were always intertwined with episodes experienced or witnessed in ghettos and concentration camps in Germany. Some of their life stories are etched in my memory.

Alter Wiener, the author and my late father had been great friends since their early childhood in Chrzanów, Poland. They had common roots and had been subjected to identical horrors under the Nazis' yoke. After the liberation, in 1945, they both faced similar struggles on the path of reconstructing their life. By marrying and having children of their own they assured the continuity of the their annihilated families' heritage.

From A Name to A Number encompasses the author's life before the war, during the war and its aftermath. My late father and the author traveled the same journey of travails and triumphs. I am grateful to Alter Wiener for writing the book to perpetuate the Holocaust legacy and my ancestors' legacy.

Reading the book, I was very impressed by its uniqueness. The life audiences recorded responses to Alter's life story are very compelling. The young and the old listeners are impacted by Alter. They decide to be more appreciative of their lot. They realize how precious personal freedom is; how difficult life is without loving parents. They become aware that without a good education there is no promising future. The questions presented to Alter are indicative of a keen interest in the Holocaust legacy, and sometimes it reflects the questioner's ignorance about the Holocaust..
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76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living With the Past September 17, 2007
Format:Paperback
Al honestly and poignantly relates the story of his early childhood, the loss of normal adolescence because of the Holocaust and his lifelong journey to overcome the past. I know Al personally and know that his willingness to share painful memories, both through speaking and through writing, is motivated by his desire to eliminate hate, vengeance and intolerance in the world. His book is a compelling read for all, especially those who think the past is over and done one should only move forward. Al has moved forward, but everyday he continues to be affected by the past. Now he willingly shares his lessons with others. I highly recommend this book.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I was at Alter Wiener's home last Friday. I saw him speak when I was thirteen, nearly fourteen years ago. His message inspired me as a youth to study every act of evil perpetrated on a citizenry by a government and the horrible persecution that has happened in world history. I studied them because I wanted to know more about the people who did not remain silent during the dark times of history and those who managed to survive nearly impossible odds. But I also wanted to know how mankind could be so filled with hate and willfully take the lives of innocents with no remorse.

Alter is one of the individuals who survived hell on earth. He is the only Shoah (You know this word as Holocaust) survivor of his immediate family. So how did a man survive hell? I would like to think it is because of the values his parents instilled in him and the fact that he never turned his back on his faith. As a child Alter remembered his family frequently having someone with less or close to nothing at all, at their dinner table. He was taught that it is what a man knows that makes him rich, not what a man has. His Father and Step Mother (He lost his birth Mother at 4) were both great examples to him. The seeds that were planted into his young mind were those of faith, honesty, service, hard work and appreciation.

He and all of Hitler's other undesirables were treated like vermin in the concentration camps. But he makes a point in his book, "Every Jew was a victim, but not every victim was a Jew." Alter never adopted the mentality that he could not change his destiny, even in the pit of hell. He persevered through the dark and turbulent times. He never gave up. When he was liberated, he weighed 80 lbs, he was a shadow of a man, really a skeleton more than anything else.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alter Wiener's calls for soul searching January 20, 2009
Format:Paperback
Alter Wiener writes that his father was murdered on September 11, 1939 during the German invasion of Poland. Alter was 13 years old when his father was killed and his body was thrown into a ditch. At age 15, while living in Chrzanow, Poland he was taken away from his step mother over her screams and protests. He was deported to Blechhaner, a Nazi work camp for interned Jews. He describes the awful work conditions, filth, the starvation diet and the brutality of some of the guards. Over time this young man was transferred to an additional four camps during his internment, which ended in 1945 when liberated by Russian troops. The horror he describes was repeated over and over in every country that was overrun and occupied by German forces in WW II.
An interesting and important part of his book is the section in which he lists questions asked of him during his more than 300 presentations. Alteer Wiener was a Keynote speaker during a series of presentation on WW II at the First United Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon. One question that is often asked of him is, "How could this have happened?" One speaker at the same conference pointed out that in Germany in the 1930's and 40's Christian Churches, for the most part, assisted the Nazi regime. For example, the churches had engaged in anti-Semitic teachings for hundreds of years. Furthermore, the churches generally complied with Nazi requests to help identify Jews by turning over baptismal records. In addition to some level of active collaboration, most churches failed to voice a protest or to offer assistance to the Jews as they faced increasing levels of oppression.
These failures leading up to the Holocaust will require soul searching for many generations to come.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliantly written!
Mr. Wiener is a well-spoken and gracious man who not only shares his story of strength and triumph, he gives well placed insight to the past. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Deborah Gilbert
4.0 out of 5 stars One Man inspires many to press on.
A name to a number is a must read. Mr. Wiener tells his life story. This book opens your mind. It is very clear why we fought against the Nazi. This was a brutal government. Read more
Published 1 day ago by terry Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent book and amazing speaker
Published 6 days ago by Karen Coodley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
interesting but very sad that people had to live through this
Published 8 days ago by Carol J. Lamp
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended book that is life-altering to read
Highly recommended book that is life-altering to read. If you have only a basic understanding of the Holocaust this book will enlighten you above and beyond what you thought you... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
wife loved it
Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest description of what the Jewish people experienced in ...
An honest description of what the Jewish people experienced in Nazi Germany. I am so thankful that my daughter was able to hear his story first-hand and read this book. Read more
Published 12 days ago by CMiller
5.0 out of 5 stars I definitely recommend reading this book
I was moved to read this book after hearing Mr. Weiner speak at a venue in Bvtn, OR. He speaks of his family and their wisdom with such eloquence. Read more
Published 13 days ago by LostAndFound
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
I bought this book at the urging of my college sophomore son after he saw Mr. Wiener speak at his college. I read the book in two days and was deeply affected by Mr Wiener's story. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Jennifer Bernstein
5.0 out of 5 stars Provides perspective on life that will forever impact how you view...
This is an incredible story, as told by someone who experienced one of the most horrific periods of human history, and lived to tell about it. Read more
Published 18 days ago by MJB23XN
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More About the Author

One of approximately 250 customer reviews of Alter's book on Amazon.com: "Al honestly and poignantly relates the story of his early childhood, the loss of normal adolescence because of the Holocaust and his lifelong journey to overcome the past. I know Al personally and know that his willingness to share painful memories, both through speaking and through writing, is motivated by his desire to eliminate hate, vengeance and intolerance in the world. His book is a compelling read for all, especially those who think the past is over and done one should only move forward. Al has moved forward, but everyday he continues to be affected by the past. Now he willingly shares his lessons with others. I highly recommend this book."

Biography:
Alter Wiener's father was brutally murdered on September 11, 1939 by the German invaders of Poland. Alter was then a boy of 13. At the age of 15 he was deported to Blechhammer, a Forced Labor Camp for Jews, in Germany. He survived five camps. Upon liberation, by the Russian Army on May 9, 1945, Alter weighed 80 lbs as reflected on the book's cover. Alter Wiener is one of the very few Holocaust survivors still living in Portland OR. He had moved to Oregon several years ago and since then he has shared his life story with 300 audiences in universities, colleges, middle and high schools, Churches, Synagogues, prisons, clubs etc. He has also been interviewed by radio and TV stations as well as the press Wiener's autobiography is a testimony to an unfolding tragedy taking place in WWII. It has a message what prejudice may lead to and how tolerance is imperative. This book is not just Wiener's life story but it reveals many responses to his story. Hopefully, it will enable many readers to truly understand such levels of horror and a chance to empathize with the unique plight of the Holocaust victims.

http://www.fromanametoanumber.com

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