From Publishers Weekly
The Nazis forcibly transported De Wijze, a 21-year-old Dutch Jew, to Poland from the Netherlands in 1944, a year after they deported his parents. He recounts here the story of his survival after arriving at labor camp Monowitz, a "special unit" outside of Auschwitz. He managed to avoid starvation and relentless hard labor by making friends with a Jewish smuggler who had SS connections. He was given the relatively easy task of tending rabbits and thereby obtained enough food to survive. He also joined the camp soccer team, organized to keep the SS amused, which boosted his morale. At the end of the war, he nearly died on the forced march from the camp into Germany. After three tries, he escaped and, after the war, returned to the Netherlands, where he found his sister still alive. Although De Wijze attributes his survival to luck, his endurance and the ability to seize any opportunity that came his way surely played a part. In the literature of the Holocaust, de Wijze's memoir provides only a minor footnote.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
De Wijze is a Dutch Jew who, in March 1944, was deported from Westerbork, the transit camp in the Netherlands, to Monowitz, a labor camp outside Auschwitz. He was 21 at the time and was put to work in the synthetic oil and rubber factory known as Buna. He faced hunger, brutality, bitter cold, and degradation, but he also managed to join the camp's soccer team, smuggled vodka, and traded tobacco for bread and soup. He eventually secured a less arduous job tending rabbits. In January 1945, de Wijze was forced to leave Monowitz ahead of the advancing Russians. The death march ended at the Buchenwald concentration camp. On a second death march, de Wijze escaped and was rescued by American troops. This is an extraordinary memoir, reflecting the author's raw courage, willpower, and amazing luck. George Cohen