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The Last Jew of Treblinka: A Memoir Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The story tells what he did to survive. It is almost written in journal fashion with little emotion - telling what he witnessed and what happened to him. There is little philosophizing or even bemoaning of his fate. It is what life was. He describes the people around him, the words of those who knew they were about to die. He tells of the constant beatings and what he had to do to live to tell what happened there. The actions of the camp guards are depicted and how they set out to accomplish the goal of a killing camp...so successfully that consequently, so many bodies would be buried that blood would seep to the surface, and then the solution of how to burn all these corpses and how it was done is told. It is not a book for the faint of heart or soul. It is appalling in its recollections..
It is left to the reader to think...What is done to survive?... to think what would you have done? Why do some live?
The time of these horrors, in this place has passed and soon all will be gone. There will only be these chronicles that need to be read to remember a history, so that perhaps humanity will never sink to these depths again.
Rajchman writes: "Treblinka is guarded by 144 Ukrainians and about a hundred SS men." (p. 111). The gassing of a train transport of several thousand people could be finished within an hour. (p. 36). Any Jews working not quickly enough, or not moving fast enough to the gas chambers, were savagely whipped by Germans and Ukrainians.
In common with some other Treblinka escapees, Rajchman believes that the Spring-1943 Germans' switch from mass burial to mass cremation of corpses developed because of the incriminating nature of the discovery of the bodies of murdered Polish officers at Katyn. (p. 85). At Treblinka, hundreds of thousands of decomposing corpses had to be exhumed and burned. To this, fresh bodies from newly arrived gassed victims were added. The massive pyres, however, did not always burn bodies completely, leaving behind charred heads, feet, large bones, etc. The Jewish prisoners were forced to pulverize the cremains to a small enough size to pass through a net. The burial of pulverized cremains and ash, in deep pits, in alternating layers of sand and with a 2-meter "cap" of sand just below the surface, took place.Read more ›
I do have a few quibbles with whoever edited and captioned the included photographs. The ones of Raichman and his family are not the problem -- it's obvious they come from the author himself. Since Raichman died before this was published, it's obvious the editor or the publisher supplied the rest of the photos.
The worst problem is that there is a photo of Hitler and Himmler with the caption "Hitler and Himmler inspect Treblinka." That Himmler visited Treblinka there is no doubt -- Raichman (and other survivors) recalled the visit. Someone with expertise correct me if I'm wrong, but I am pretty sure there is no evidence that Hitler himself ever went to Treblinka. Since no source is given for this photo, it's impossible to track down what event is really being pictured.
On one page, the caption is for three photos of the leaders of the August 1943 uprising, but there are only two photos provided, so we don't know which named person is shown in each picture.
The publisher has included a number of fascinating photos taken by Treblinka's SS commandant Kurt Franz, and these are included and explained -- no problem with these.
There is one picture which, if the caption is correct, would be the most extraordinary one provided: "Smoke rising from Treblinka during the uprising.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't know how anyone could survive the horrors from living in Treblinka. I read a lot of survivor stories and stayed glued to this book. I think it is worth reading.Published 11 days ago by Tam
The human spirit is indeed amazing. A fascinating and graphic account of daily life in a concentration camp. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This brief memoir details the horrors of working on a sonderkommando crew at Treblinka. It shows how people struggled to survive by engaging in the effort to dispose of the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dexter Van Zile
This was a short but very tough read. I already knew a fair bit about the Holocaust, but it was this memoir that introduced me to the detailed horrors of life as a Jewish worker at... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nastassja Riemermann
This wasn't the best Holocaust book I've read but I am glad I came upon it. Treblinka was an extermination camp in Poland where approximately 800,000 people (mostly Jews) were... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Joann R. Greene
Like many of the Holocaust first-person memoirs, this one is spellbinding, heartbreaking and a real page turner. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Kayann
Very good read. Gives a greater insight into what these poor people went through.Published 8 months ago by Coral Hanlon