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What Papa Told Me [Kindle Edition]

Felice Cohen
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $10.00
Kindle Price: $0.99
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Book Description

What Papa Told Me is the story of Murray, a young Jewish boy from Poland whose courage and sheer will to live helped him survive eight different labor and concentration camps in the Holocaust, start a new life in America, and keep a family intact in the aftermath of his wife's suicide - one of the Nazis' last victims.

Editorial Reviews


"Children and grandchildren of survivors also have their stories to tell. As is this one. All are poignant, just as they all are important to the understanding of the Event and its human implications and consequences."

- Elie Wiesel

From the Author

I wrote this book as a gift to my grandfather for him to give to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Neither of us expected it would sell over 20,000 copies. It was a labor of love and we're thrilled it continues to touch so many people around the world. Thank you for your support and kind words.

Product Details

  • File Size: 9427 KB
  • Print Length: 133 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615372880
  • Publisher: Dividends Press; Second edition (November 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004A90FPM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,510 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!!!!! September 28, 2010
By Mom
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thanks for the tears and the memories. This was an incredible book told from a true survivor and his family. I fell in love with Papa, and his courage and the continual sadness of working so hard and getting cheated by so many people. I can't believe you talked with a group of survivors...that alone would be a memory of a lifetime. I am so proud of you and your family. This book will remain in your family for years. I am glad Papa had a chance to tell us all. Tell Papa thanks for sharing a history that we should all be aware of. Also, what a great person he truly is. Sounds like he REALLY cared about his family and still does.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Piece of History! Great Read! September 20, 2010
A powerful piece of work! It is a story about one man, one family and determination to keep on living in the face of adversity. If you are interested in the Holocaust this is a first hand look at how human atrocities affected a real life family. Read this book and walk a mile in "Papa's" shoes.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Real Story of Survival September 27, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A compelling story, exceptionally well-told. "What Papa Told Me" is moving and haunting -- and also, maybe strangely, heartwarming because it shows how humanity and humaneness just simply won't be snuffed out even in the face of unspeakable horrors. Murray Schwartzbaum's strength of character, will, and spirit is astounding. This is a story that needs to be read by young people (and older ones, too).
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Story of a Survivor November 12, 2010
Felice Cohen sat with her grandfather Murry Schwartzbaum and listened to the story of his life. This book contains that story in brief, the outline of an extraordinarily complex and difficult reality.
The story is told in a straightforward way. And the events themselves are often so shocking, so incredible so horrifying as to make one once again wonder what it is to be a human being, how human beings can sink on one side to such depths of cruelty and evil, and on the other endure and overcome so much. It also makes one wonder how anyone who survived the horrors of the Nazi era managed to do so and remain sane.
The hero of this book encounters throughout his life tremendous challenges and difficulties. The worst of this is of course the time in which he survives eight different camps. His strong will to survive, his ability to work, his youth, his 'mazal', and his unswerving Jewish religious faith are what carry him through. He is subject to and witnesses incredible cruelties acts of sadistic brutality of the German Nazis and in some of the cases their Romanian assistants.
Schwartzbaum survives the camps weighing seventy- eight pounds when liberated. After a brief period of two years in Germany he eventually comes to America. In America he does not have it easy but it is paradise in comparison to the kinds of evils he has known. Great tragedy however comes to him in America. His wife and the mother of his three - children who is also a survivor cannot bear the memories and the guilt of surviving. Her suicide leaves him alone to care for and raise his three children. Fortunately he meets a widow who is too a survivor and with her goodness as his help he raises his family, and makes a good livelihood in America.
My summary of this book is totally inadequate to it.
Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murray's my new hero October 26, 2010
Listening to your elders is important. The stories they tell you can help you choose your own path in life. And nobody tells history better than someone who's been there.

This book is the life story of Felice Cohen's grandfather, Murray. He grew up in Poland with loving parents and five siblings. When Murray was nineteen, the lot of them were consigned to ghettos or shipped off to German camps.

"What Papa Told Me" is primarily Murray's oral history of his experiences in the camps. It took ingenuity, resourcefulness, and plain luck to survive. Clearly, Murray had all of those and an indefatigable spirit. He worked for the Germans for five years of his life combating pestilence, plague, and unimaginable abuse.

The secondary portion of this book is how Murray made a life for his family in America afterwards. That combination of skills got him from abject poverty to a successful grocery business and a lovely retirement in Boca.

Murray doesn't lecture in his tales. He shines by example and that's the best kind of hero to have.

Rebecca Kyle, October 2010
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must-read November 30, 2010
Felice's telling of her grandfather Murray's story is moving & vivid, heartwarming & disturbing, and should be required reading for all high school students. Bless you and your family, Murray.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story! January 25, 2011
Very touching. I couldn't put it down and finished it in one day. I thought it provided an extremely personal view of a very troubling time in our history. Highly recommend book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing November 6, 2010
By Rubin
I could not put this book down until I finished it. It was an amazing story that mirrors the experience of Jews in Europe at that time. Time and time again I look back and remember stories that my grandparents told me about life prior to the war and I realize that these people were made from different stock than we are. Because they were able to go on with life and thrive despite the horrors they lived through.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars How can people be so inhuman
I'm glad this story was told , I cried a lot while reading it ,it goes beyond comprehension that people can be so unfeeling ,nasty, how did any of them live with themselves after... Read more
Published 23 hours ago by Che
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 7 days ago by Bertha Kidd
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Would be good for everyone to read ...
Great book! Would be good for everyone to read this one and others like it. Might actually help make the world a better place.
Published 19 days ago by Spyder Rider
5.0 out of 5 stars Alek R.
This book you will cry a lot but it is the BOOK you should give your Sun if he's into trouble because they will fix it but that's what I did
Published 22 days ago by Allen R.
4.0 out of 5 stars What every child of every veteran should do. Don't let another minute...
Very personal
Published 1 month ago by Gigi
4.0 out of 5 stars Truth is inspirational
Sad but good to be known to public. How does a human overcome such atrocities. It kept me reading non stop.
Published 1 month ago by Susan L. Camp
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I was very touch by the atrocities and madness, the Jewish people has to suffer, during the holocaust.
Excellent book.
Published 1 month ago by JAIRO I CASTRO
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a very interesting record and a credit to Felice Cohen and her grandfather. well worth reading.
Published 2 months ago by musikat
5.0 out of 5 stars you feel like you are there with them & can visualize the ...
Very well written & very touching. As the author tells her grandfather's stories, you feel like you are there with them & can visualize the horrible things he lived through.
Published 2 months ago by David T. Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars an exceptional read
Beautifully written, inspiring,frightening at times. Could it happen again? I certainly hope and pray it never happens again. Read more
Published 3 months ago by laura sawdon
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More About the Author

Author Felice Cohen's first book "What Papa Told Me", endorsed by Elie Wiesel and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, won honorable mention from The 2011 Eric Hoffer Award and the 2011 New York Book Festival Award and has been in the top ten on Kindle for over a year. She has published over 100 opinion columns and articles in amNew York, the NewYork Daily News, and Metro (New York, Boston and Philadelphia editions), many of which have appeared at She has published stories in two anthologies: "The Truth About the Fact" and "For Daddy, With Love," and is writing a new book on organizing.

A video of Ms. Cohen's 90 square foot Manhattan studio went viral with over 5 million views on, gaining media attention on ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's LXTV, NY1, Good Morning Sacramento as well as on TV shows in Australia and Germany. She's also been on the radio in the U.S., Australia, Ireland, Canada, along with online media coverage on ABC, AOL, the Canada's Globe and Mail, and the UK's Daily Mail. And thanks to the YouTube(dot)com video of her 90 square foot studio, she is writing a book about Living Large in a Small Space.

Felice is available for speaking engagements at schools, synagogues and bookstores. For more information on speaking engagements and on her book, go to

Felice is also a professional organizer and Shrinky Dink artist. You can find more information on at

Felice is also a professional organizer and Shrinky Dink artist. You can find more information on either of those at

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