Automotive Deals BOTYSFKT Amazon Fashion Learn more Discover it Look Park Fire TV Stick Happy Belly Coffee Handmade school supplies Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer TarantinoCollection TarantinoCollection TarantinoCollection  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis STEM Water Sports
Profile for Charles S. Weinblatt > Reviews

Browse

Charles S. Weinb...'s Profile

Customer Reviews: 63
Top Reviewer Ranking: 128,796
Helpful Votes: 405


Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Charles S. Weinblatt RSS Feed (Ohio USA)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
pixel
A Girl from There
A Girl from There
by Chava Nissimov
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.96
34 used & new from $1.91

4.0 out of 5 stars Fragmented memories of a small child’s arduous struggle to survive the Holocaust., March 9, 2016
This review is from: A Girl from There (Hardcover)
A Girl from There is a book of poems that document fragmented memories of a small child’s arduous struggle to survive the Holocaust. Torn away from her parents and grandparents, alone and at the mercy of the Polish family hiding her, she recalls being hidden away into the far reaches of dark attics, claustrophobic hiding places and cold, damp basements.

Part memoir, essay, testimony and expressive free-verse poetry, A Girl from There is a series of delicate, fragmented and emotional descriptions about her early life hiding from Nazi Germany and those who would gladly turn her in to the Gestapo. Each page describes the turmoil and fear of a small child who must always be hidden. She struggles with the death of her grandparents and her father; and she tries to comprehend why her mother abandons her to a Christian Polish family.

Too young to grasp her appalling situation, Chava must never be seen or heard by anyone outside of the family hiding her. She may not sleep under the stars, enjoy the caress of a warm breeze on a summer night or feel the softness of grass under her small body. She may not speak with anyone outside of the household in which she is hidden, or leave it. Nor can she count on love from these surrogate mothers. She is at the mercy of those hiding her and in constant fear of capture by Nazis. Survival is all that matters.

The author’s disjointed childhood memories spill out in clear, animated poetic verse and are linked together, carrying the reader chronologically from Chava’s earlies memories through a dark, silent childhood filled with sickness and fear until the end of WWII. She then enters Israel as it is born out of the ashes of the Holocaust.

Reviewer Charles Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. He is a retired university administrator. Mr. Weinblatt is the author of published fiction and nonfiction, including the popular Holocaust novel, Jacob’s Courage. His biography appears in Wikipedia.


The Crime and the Silence: Confronting the Massacre of Jews in Wartime Jedwabne
The Crime and the Silence: Confronting the Massacre of Jews in Wartime Jedwabne
by Anna Bikont
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.92
77 used & new from $4.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Christian residents of Jedwabne burned every Jew that they could find..., March 9, 2016
“For me, the hardest thing to bear is not that Jews were massacred in Jedwabne and the area, but that it was done with such cruelty and that the killing gave so much joy.” —Marek Edelman.

A reviewer of fiction and nonfiction about Judaism, World War II, and the Holocaust, would rarely be shocked or frightened by a book. European Jews have been the object of scorn and animosity for centuries’ however, Anna Bikont’s masterpiece, The Crime and the Silence, fills one with apprehension. One is prepared for the brutality and horror from the past. But one is not prepared for the same level of detestation toward Jews in contemporary Poland. This is almost more frightening than the genocide nearly 75 years ago.

On July 10, 1941, the Jewish residents of Jedwabne Poland, numbering at least a thousand, were captured, humiliated, brutalized, tortured, raped, beaten, and herded into a barn by Christian Poles. The doors were locked. Gasoline was poured over the barn, and it was set on fire. Hundreds of Jewish families were burned to death in the conflagration. The very same death awaited the Jews of nearby Radzilow. Almost immediately, Poles looted and occupied the Jews’ dwellings and businesses.

Polish residents claim that the genocide is at the hands of German armed forces, not Poles. A handful of Jews who hid from the tragedy survived, as did a few who had converted to Christianity. They repeat that the massacre at Jedwabne was committed by Poles, not by Germans. Eventually, after a 1949 trial, the highest levels of Polish government agree that it was Poles who committed the atrocity and they later apologize for it publicly.

To understand the crime at Jedwabne, Anna Bikont accesses oral testimonies and she travels the world to interview Jewish survivors and their progeny. She conducts interviews with additional witnesses and their children, with perpetrators and their progeny, and with righteous gentiles. Almost to a person, the same hatred, mistrust, and rage that existed decades ago toward Jews remains within the fabric of contemporary social life in Jedwabne.

The Crime and the Silence is at once haunting, engaging, and revealing. Part memoir, part historical account, this amazing book chronicles the events leading up to and during that fateful day in 1941 when Christian residents of Jedwabne set fire to every Jew that they could find, including women and children. And while there is disagreement about the actual number of Jews burned to death, there is no possibility that it was at the hands of Germans or Einsatzgruppen, who were not in or near Jedwabne at the time of the massacre.

Anna Bikont’s courageous battle to uncover the truth is an uncommonly powerful journalistic effort. Bikont persists even while her own life is threatened. The townspeople of Jedwabne still deny the bloodthirsty acts of their ancestors. When the president of Poland and a representative of the Vatican arrive at the dedication of a memorial to the slain Jews, no one from town is in attendance. They perpetuate a disturbing lie.

The Catholic Church in Jedwabne spews venom at author Bikont, claiming that Jews deserved to die because some had been informants for the Soviets when Russia occupied the area. That barely handful of Jews collaborated with the Soviets seems irrelevant to the town. Church leaders preach that “Jews must be punished for killing Christ.” The central belief in 1941 and today is that Poland is for Christians, not for Jews, despite the fact that Jews have lived there for centuries and that many thousands perished protecting their beloved nation.

The Crime and the Silence is detailed, terrifying, and fascinating. Author Anna Bikont’s effort is heart-rending and humane, a must read for anyone with an interest in history, WWII, culture, and intolerance. She writes with empathy and sensitivity.

Charles S. Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. He is a retired university administrator. Mr. Weinblatt is the author of published fiction and nonfiction. His biography appears in the Marquis Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, and Wikipedia. - See more at: [...]


My Revenge
My Revenge
by Yaakov Wodzislawski
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.95
24 used & new from $11.28

4.0 out of 5 stars Escaping certain death to tell the world about the Holocaust., February 21, 2016
This review is from: My Revenge (Paperback)
Yaakov Wodzislawski was not quite 14 when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. A Jew, he survived harsh ghetto life and a labor camp in his home town, Czestochowa.

While his parents were being murdered in Treblinka, Yaakov escaped the labor camp and was shielded from harm by Barbara Hajdas, a Pole later declared, “Righteous Among the Nations.” She put her own life in jeopardy by hiding 14 Jews from Nazi troops and the Gestapo. During this time, Yaakov was forced to hide in an underground bunker with no light, no heat, starvation rations, and nothing but straw to sleep on. For eight months, it was dark, day and night.

When Poland was finally liberated, Yaakov returned to his home town and found solace with his brother. But they had no money, no jobs, and no food. Yaakov made a promise to himself. He vowed that he would survive in order to tell the true story of the Holocaust to others. In this way, he fought the guilt of being a survivor and promised the dead that their story would be told.

In 1945 Yaakov entered Israel illegally. His brother soon followed. When Israel was declared a nation and attacked by surrounding countries, Yaakov joined the Haganah, the predecessor of today’s Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He was wounded in battle, leaving permanent paralysis in one leg.

In 1978, Yaakov married Irena, who was also a child of the Holocaust. Together, they founded the Ariel (Israel) Holocaust and Heroism Memorial House, dedicated to the lives of his family and the six million murdered because of their faith. Yaakov died in 2013. This publication is dedicated to his memory.

This is work of nonfiction. It is a fact-based memoir of Yaakov’s experiences in the Holocaust. It is not florid or graceful; nor is it consistently linear; however, this survivor is not a successful novelist, well-trained by education and honed by experience. Yaakov recorded his memory as carefully as possible after the war. The result is an excellent description of experiences so tragic that no one should be forced to endure them. This book is educational, personal, horrific, and essential.

“Over the years I asked myself why I had survived instead of millions of other Jews. I realized that others and I were left alive to tell their story, to testify to what really happened. They died anonymously and I, who survived, have immortalized them in the minds of generations to come. I know that I am fulfilling their wish. And I know that the experience the memorial center (that I created) will stay with them as a personal experience. This is my revenge on those who exterminated my people. This is my revenge!”

Charles S. Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. He is a retired university administrator. Mr. Weinblatt is the author of published fiction and nonfiction. His biography appears in the Marquis Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, and Wikipedia.


The Day After Roswell
The Day After Roswell
by William J. Birnes
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $5.93
116 used & new from $0.62

4.0 out of 5 stars The most believable of any book on the subject of the Roswell incident, February 10, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Colonel Philip J. Corso (Ret.), a member of President Eisenhower's National Security Council and former head of the Foreign Technology Desk at the U.S. Army's Research & Development department, has come forward to tell the whole explosive story. Backed by documents newly declassified through the Freedom of Information Act, Colonel Corso reveals for the first time his personal stewardship of alien artifacts from the crash, and discloses the U.S. government's astonishing role in the Roswell incident: what was found, the cover-up, and how these alien artifacts changed the course of 20th century history.

The Day After Roswell is a sober, straightforward, analytical description of the alleged crash of an alien ship in Roswell New Mexico in July 1947. Colonel Phillip Corso was among the first Army specialists on-site shortly after the crash. He not only had an opportunity to interview soldiers who cleaned up the crash site; he was there in time to see the crashed ship and alien bodies before autopsy.

Following the crash, Col. Corso was assigned by the Army to research and development, accessing all data from the crashed ship, its components and the autopsy reports of the alien bodies. All of this he describes in forthright, plain language, with no hint of mystique or subterfuge. Unlike the vast speculative fiction that populates drug store sci-fi novels, this might be the only detailed description of what happened in the New Mexico desert and how the United States protected and used the information for its own military and industrial purposes.

Col. Corso rarely allows the reader to languish in alien imagination. This is a restrained, analytical elucidation of how Corso and his Pentagon bosses scrutinized the materials and information and then used alien technology to develop some of America’s space-age weapons of today, such as lasers, advanced composite materials, fly-by-wire fighter technology, space-age polymers and coatings, stealth technology, satellite weapons, computer chips, integrated circuits and the “Star Wars” defense system pushed to fruition by President Reagan. All of this is explained in blunt, plainspoken text.

There is no florid or embellished language in this account. Rather, Col. Corso places you in his mind as he recalls witnessing the unbelievable and his attempts to make sense of it. He also provides a backroom revelation of how the Pentagon and highest levels of government reacted to and managed this event, perhaps the most incredible and important in world history.

In addition to gaining an understanding of alien beings and their technology, Col. Corso was tasked with creating concepts for sharing some of this information. In this way, the US government was able to use some of this newfound technology for military purposes while American industrialists accessed select portions of it to further their own R&D goals. It helped the United States to maintain its standing as the global leader in advanced weapons production and it allowed American industry to create leading edge products.

This book is written in such a plain, frank and unadulterated way that the reader is able to fly through vast sections without sacrificing comprehension. Unlike florid sci-fi novels that claim to be based upon the Roswell crash, this book delivers facts and little more. There is no room for interpretation. Deprived of speculation and conjecture, lacking flare and flowery literary style, this book (if accepted as fact) is perhaps the most believable of any book on the subject of the Roswell incident.

Reviewer Charles Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. He is a retired university administrator. Mr. Weinblatt is the author of published fiction and nonfiction, including the popular Holocaust novel, Jacob’s Courage. His biography appears in Wikipedia.


Ghosts of Lincoln: Discovering His Paranormal Legacy
Ghosts of Lincoln: Discovering His Paranormal Legacy
by Adam Selzer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.34
49 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Selzer examines them from a formal academic perspective, December 6, 2015
Abraham Lincoln is one of the most haunting presidents in US history. Sightings of his ghost, and his assassin’s, have been reported for more than 150 years. Lincoln has become the subject of dozens of myths and paranormal mysteries.

Buffeted by slavery and the raging Civil War, Lincoln is at the center of a whirlwind of death and destruction. Racing to pass the Thirteenth Amendment while fighting the most devastating war in American history, Lincoln is under immense pressure. Within the White House, the Lincoln family is rocked by death, depression, and conflict.

Americans of this period entertained the concept of paranormal events. The Lincolns lost two sons and their eldest son was threatening to leave Harvard to join the Union Army. Into this conflict, Mary Todd Lincoln’s emotional shortcomings contributed greatly to discord and stress. It is impossible to say with certainty that the Lincolns believed in ghosts. But if they did not, why participate in organized mystical events?

Ghosts of Lincoln digs deeply into the annals of history, including everything from obscure séance transcripts and nearly forgotten newspaper articles to tales, rumors, and folklore. It is well known that the Lincolns consulted with spiritualists in the White House, particularly after the death of their son, Willie. President Lincoln also spoke of dreams of his assassination. Whether the Lincolns believed in the séances and other ghostly occurrences is not known. But the public largely believed in them, which made for prodigious recounting in newspapers, journals, and books.

Adam Selzer is an accomplished researcher. His historical explanations, citations, and footnotes are detailed and objective. Selzer’s approach is to recount an item, cite its references, and then allow the reader to decide whether or not to believe it. Most of the situations presented are historically accurate and presented in an objective manner.

Ghosts of Lincoln is fast reading. Selzer carefully describes the culture and beliefs of antebellum and Civil-War-era America. Within the framework of this ethos, he matter-of-factly presents his research. Although the topics are not particularly erudite, Selzer examines them from a formal academic perspective; however, his casual writing style feels ill-suited to serious scholarly research. A more formal style might have been preferential. A few typos could be eliminated in a second edition.

The inclusion of drawings, art work, and pictures of people and events surrounding the scope of this work aids the reader immensely. Selzer’s evocative writing style helps the reader imagine what it was like to be in these supernatural circumstances.

Charles S. Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. He is a retired university administrator. Mr. Weinblatt is the author of published fiction and nonfiction. His biography appears in the Marquis Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, and Wikipedia.


Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning
by Timothy Snyder
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.21
109 used & new from $8.50

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Earth is a cutting-edge chronicle of the Holocaust, December 6, 2015
Seventy-five years ago, humanity witnessed the most horrific crime in all of history. Tens of millions of innocent people were murdered in an effort to make Germany the leading world power. Among them were six million innocent Jewish men, women and children; the result of Hitler’s effort to cast blame upon a guiltless people. While the Holocaust reshaped our view of humanity, it remains poorly understood. This book illustrates the cold intentions of the murderers, the terrifying experiences of Hitler’s victims, and the rare joy of being saved by a righteous person or family.

Black Earth is a cutting-edge chronicle of the Holocaust. It is intense, poignant, and profoundly instructive. Snyder illustrates with discerning detail how Jews became victims of the most widespread and industrial genocide in history. While Nazi Germany planned and executed the Shoah, tens of thousands of volunteers throughout conquered nations (Einsatzgruppen) assisted Hitler in the murder of innocent Jewish men, women and children, their bodies buried in massive trenches throughout Eastern Europe.

Snyder calls upon the vast repository of historiography and archival sources from Eastern Europe, adding to existing compelling research. This overlay of data creates a depth of comprehension not available in prior Holocaust publications.

Hitler’s view of the world is not as a collection of states, but of races. He declares that Jews have a disproportionate hold upon the earth’s natural resources, positing that Jews had an ability to prevent Aryan races from the land, assets, and property that they deserved. Hitler described the struggle to exterminate Jews as one of ecological and metaphysical objectives, as well as economic and political justice. His worldview required a new kind of war, one that would allow Germany to destroy other states as part of the effort to dismantle global Jewish influence and to exterminate Jews everywhere. In Hitler’s mind, this would restore balance to the world.

Snyder examines how Hitler convinced the German people that the Soviet Union was an “illegitimate Jewish regime,” controlling vast natural resources that the German people deserved. Hitler thus proclaimed his attack upon Russia was his sacred duty to destroy the “world Jewish conspiracy” allowing him to colonize Russia and eventually all of Europe.

Complex political relationships between nations and lack of access to concentration camps obscured the fact that Nazi Germany was uprooting, enslaving and murdering Jews wherever they gained control. Even when patriots like Jan Karski risked their lives to bring proof of this genocide to light with the Allies, nothing is done to stop the mass shootings and gassings of Jews. Those not murdered upon delivery to a Nazi camp are left to die from starvation, sickness, overwork, climate exposure, and the brutality of guards.

While the first half of this massive work is dedicated to explaining how and why Hitler exterminated six million Jews, the second half illustrates how a great many Jews resisted and fought against Nazi Germany and the Einsatzgruppen. Snyder examines the leaders of European Jewish resistance groups, especially in Poland. Many eventually become resistance leaders in Palestine, their efforts leading to the creation of the State of Israel.

This portion of the book also illustrates the many righteous gentiles who rescued, hid, fed, and sheltered Jews from the Gestapo, the SS, Einsatzgruppen, and local police. They did this at the risk of their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. Jews were hidden by very courageous individuals. In some cases they were rescued by local churches.

Black Earth is not just a tremendous scholarly examination of the Holocaust. It is a moving, extraordinary, evocative, and inspiring analysis of the intellectual origins of the Holocaust. Snyder’s comprehensive research notes alone constitute dozens of pages. He elucidates Hitler’s racial view of the world in an effort to warn us about our own perilous future. He proffers a warning that prejudice and racism can lead only to misery and death. He cautions us to rethink our own futures in contemplation of contemporary bigotry and intolerance. We cannot afford to continue our misunderstanding of the Holocaust or confine it to museums and monuments. The alternative is another genocide.

We might think that our world is better than that of 20th century Europe. But the causes of the Holocaust, including various forms of intolerance, exist today. If we do not meet this challenge with adroit confidence in each person’s right to life, liberty, and equality, then the horrors of the Shoah will return with a vengeance.

Charles S. Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. He is a retired university administrator. Mr. Weinblatt is the author of published fiction and nonfiction. His biography appears in the Marquis Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, and Wikipedia.


The Failures of Ethics: Confronting the Holocaust, Genocide, and Other Mass Atrocities
The Failures of Ethics: Confronting the Holocaust, Genocide, and Other Mass Atrocities
by John K. Roth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.54
45 used & new from $18.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful discovery of issues and assumptions in the Holocaust, December 6, 2015
John Roth is one of a handful of highly respected and insightful authors on the topic of genocide. The Failures of Ethics is a testimonial to Roth’s extensive research and analysis about a topic with significant implications for humanity’s survival. This masterful book/textbook offers a critical exploration of the vulnerability of ethics and why genocide remains a persistent possibility for vulnerable groups and cultures.

Ethics, the knowledge of right and wrong, is the foundation of all civilizations. Ethical responsibility is the purview of each member of that society. Roth examines genocide, especially the Holocaust, for its root causes. He helps the reader understand why some people are more susceptible to ethical failures. The result of this book is a thoughtful discovery of issues and assumptions, hopefully leading to action that fosters resistance to immorality and collaboration rather than conflict.

Roth postulates that honorable intentions and the depersonalized advances of civilizations have become incoherent and subverted by the “accumulated ruins of history.” We see that respect and honor for those who save lives and resist atrocity must be valued so that future societies can avoid persecution and genocide. Roth clearly posits that impressive philosophical arguments used by the nefarious can result in prejudice, oppression, and genocide, just as easily as it can be used to advance human rights.

He also reveals that ethics can become a valuable commodity, “subject to misuse and perversion.” He agrees that genocide exists for one or more of four different conditions: “1) to reduce or eliminate a perceived threat from a designated group, race or religion, 2) to spread terror among real or potential enemies, 3) to acquire economic wealth, or 4) to implement a particular belief, ideology or theory.” In Roth’s view, nothing matters more than how we react to and deal with failures in ethics.

Despite the human propensity for violence, persecution, and genocide, we can escape it in the future. To accomplish this, we must openly praise the courage of those who sacrifice to help the persecuted; we must always study the actions leading to past genocides and find a way to foster a new and powerful commitment for equality and human rights.

Indifference, Draconian ethnic beliefs, and the failure of differentiation between right and wrong have led religions, nations, and cultures to collapse into genocide or to collaborate and avoid confrontation. Roth delivers a focus on the inadequacies of reason, decision-making and actions that incite humans to perpetrate vast harm. He reveals how ethics can become vulnerable to misuse and perversion; and that no simple reaffirmation of ethics will prevent future genocides.

We learn that only a spirited commitment and political will can alter the human propensity for destruction, brutality, and genocide. Roth emphasizes that only through respect and honor can atrocities be avoided and lives saved. His insight is thoughtful, based upon empirical data and written in a very clear, evocative style.

Roth engages the reader with profound conclusions that are well-designed, intuitive, and at times deeply reflective. He views our failure to end genocides through a particularly clear lens of perspective. This book will allow teachers and students to confront immensely critical decisions about morality in an age still troubled by persecution of the innocent.

While many philosophers insist that their peer-reviewed conclusions are of a certain veracity, Roth encourages the reader to challenge existing concepts and to foster wide-ranging discourse about preeminent ethical conclusions.

Roth concludes that we neither should nor can eliminate the darkness into which genocides plunge us. But we can stand in solidarity with those who resisted the Holocaust and mass atrocities—and we can join those who resist them today. Facing the brutality, persecution and slaughter inflicted by the Holocaust and other atrocities reveals the failures of ethics as no other events can. Deep within that resistance, joy and satisfaction for the human spirit can be found.

Charles S. Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. He is a retired university administrator. Mr. Weinblatt is the author of published fiction and nonfiction. His biography appears in the Marquis Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, and Wikipedia.


The Children of La Hille: Eluding Nazi Capture during World War II (Modern Jewish History)
The Children of La Hille: Eluding Nazi Capture during World War II (Modern Jewish History)
by Walter W. Reed
Edition: Paperback
Price: $20.74
58 used & new from $14.28

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The escape and shelter of German and Austrian Jewish children in in a gripping account., December 6, 2015
After the horror of Kristallnacht in November 1938, the author’s frightened parents lived in mortal fear of Nazi persecution. To find sanctuary for their son, they placed him on a train to Belgium along with many other children escaping escalating anti-Jewish violence in Germany and Austria. In most cases, the parents were never heard from again. This is the story of their brave children’s survival.

A group of Belgian women created a daring, but still largely unknown, rescue mission. More than 800 Jewish children were taken into Belgium from Germany and Austria. Many Belgian families volunteered to host a Jewish child or to provide a financial contribution, including the queen of Belgium, who gave 5,000 francs in cooperation.

After Germany invaded Belgium, almost 100 of the children were placed on freight trains to Southern France. Ranging in age from five to sixteen, the children and their caretakers spent their first brutal winter in a barn, with little food and primitive hygiene.

In 1941, Swiss rescuers moved the children to the Chateau de La Hille, in the countryside north of the French city of Foix. While the United States State Department did everything possible to delay or eliminate Jewish immigration, about 20 children were transported to America in 1941–1942. The remaining la Hille children were constantly tormented by Nazi soldiers and French Vichy militia. The older children became teenagers, maturing rapidly from the constant terror. Most worked hard to maintain the colony and care for the younger children. But the awareness that their parents had been deported to Nazi death camps wore heavily upon them.

About 35 of these resourceful children escaped on foot across the heavily guarded borders of Switzerland and Spain. This often occurred in terribly cold winters with deep snow and in the presence of Nazi border guards. Others were hidden by courageous French families. Some of these children joined the resistance to fight against Nazi Germany. Of the 93 original children, all but 11 survived the Nazi persecution. Many later completed university educations, some immigrating to Palestine.

This is a well-written, detailed, and poignant memoir about the courage of Jewish parents who in most cases would never see their children again and of the mettle of the children pulled away from their families. It also illustrates the strength of their adult protectors who together survived horrific conditions and the constant threat of Nazi soldiers and French Vichy militia.

Author Walter Reed reveals the escape and shelter of German and Austrian Jewish children in in a gripping account, with carefully coordinated events, dates, and comprehensive research sources.

Here we find the intimate details of a personal journal, as well as carefully archived records of the rescuers and of other La Hille children. Many pictures of the children from the author’s personal collection; appropriate maps of France were added. His narration of the children’s escape and their camaraderie during this dreadful experience is as terrifying and wonderful as it is comprehensive and meticulous. He summoned the words to describe a chilling and courageous experience that remains largely unknown today.

Charles S. Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. He is a retired university administrator. Mr. Weinblatt is the author of published fiction and nonfiction. His biography appears in the Marquis Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, and Wikipedia.


After the Holocaust the Bells Still Ring
After the Holocaust the Bells Still Ring
by Joseph Polak
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.87
49 used & new from $8.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and melancholic, unforgettable and poignant., December 4, 2015
Joseph Polak is from the same nation as Anne Frank, The Netherlands. As Jewish children, they are taken captive by Nazi Germany, deported to Westerbork and then to Bergen-Belsen, where Anne dies from typhus. Joseph has the rest of his life to make sense of the Holocaust, to find a way to re-connect with a God painfully absent from the destruction of his people.

Joseph is an infant when he and his parents are forced onto Nazi train transports and sent to Westerbork. Joseph’s father dies shortly after their next train transport. He and his mother face years of starvation, brutality, and deplorable conditions. They, along with other Jews, await final transport to a Nazi death camp. At Westerbork, the family discovers that Nazi Germany has forced committees of Jews to create transport lists to carry other Jews to the death camps. These committee Jews were forced to decide whether to send their own children or to send the children of other families to their deaths. The author also notes that while about 50% of the Jews in Germany, France, Belgium, and other Western European countries perished under Nazi control, about 90% of Dutch Jews died.

After the war, the government of the Netherlands forced surviving Jews to prove that they were parents of children who survived in a different location. These starved, sick, beaten Jews escaped without a scrap of clothing, let alone birth documents for their children. After a harrowing, heartbreaking manhunt across Europe to find their children, parents discover that the Dutch government is forcing the children to remain in orphanages or with foster parents. Arriving at their homes, the Jewish survivors find neighbors or strangers living there who refuse to leave. In most cases, it was these very neighbors who turned in the Jews to the Gestapo two or three years earlier. Joseph’s earliest memories of Bergen-Belsen include playing hide and seek among mountains of skeletal bodies.

The constantly increasing piles of corpses, stacked like so much cord wood, are ubiquitous, like the pervasive stench of death and the endless agony of starvation. This are among Joseph’s earliest memories. Happier times in The Hague are gone, replaced by sickness and death.

After liberation, Joseph and his mother struggle to reenter the world, battling serious physical ailments and a society that does not want to hear or think about Nazi concentration camps survivors. After living among corpses and terror, they must quietly push back against the demons of their past, while the reanimation of those horrific memories await every night in their sleep.

Many Holocaust survivors leave God far behind. They ask what deity could allow his “chosen people” to be so dehumanized, disparaged, degraded. What sort of God allows Nazis to force His devout people to watch as their loved ones are killed, before they are also murdered? What God allows His people to be starved, raped, brutalized, and forced into gas chambers by the millions, without preventing or stopping it?

After the horror, Joseph decides to pursue a career in which he might find answers for the Holocaust—a way to comprehend how and why people can behave so terribly. Joseph also seeks to understand God’s role in the terror and genocide. So he becomes a rabbi. Joseph eventually realizes that he will be one of the last Holocaust survivors, one of the final firsthand witnesses to the horror. But to do so, he must find a way to recall those long-ago events that so terribly impact his life and his mother’s life.

Not only is Joseph attempting to recall specific events that took place when he was a toddler, he is also struggling to define something virtually without description; to recall events that defy sanity. Joseph Polak is an outstanding writer. His memoir is an essential contribution to Holocaust literature. In unadorned language, Polak presents the story of a young boy who witnesses terror and horrific circumstance that would be difficult for anyone to recall and describe.

In this brief volume of work, Polak describes how he and his mother suffered, but also how he eventually becomes a rabbi, teaching the Torah to his progeny. Having lived for years among rotting corpses, having survived that which is not survivable, he returns to God and finds a pathway to understanding. This fast-paced, brief memoir reads like a novel. It is haunting and melancholic, unforgettable and poignant.

Polak is a wonderful writer, proffering a terrifying truth while speculating about the wisdom of the Torah and the apparent absence of God. He describes physical and spiritual survival at its most visceral level. He is instinctive, instructive, and intuitive. Beyond a physical deprivation and suffering that few humans can endure, Polak teaches us about the cognitive and spiritual toll that survival demands—essential ingredients for making sense of that which defies understanding.

Charles S. Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. He is a retired university administrator. Mr. Weinblatt is the author of published fiction and nonfiction. His biography appears in the Marquis Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, and Wikipedia.


The Pawnbroker: A Novel
The Pawnbroker: A Novel
by Edward Lewis Wallant
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.18
65 used & new from $2.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pawnbroker is an honest, serious work about the human experience, with fascinating complexity and haunting sorrow., December 4, 2015
The Pawnbroker is a haunting, powerful book about the vast gamut of human behavior, including some of the darkest moments in human history. But it’s not a book about the Holocaust.

It’s about the cognitive destruction of a Holocaust survivor. It’s the haunting story of a man named Sol, so embittered by life experiences that he has become immune to any form of human sympathy, compassion, or love. He lives in constant desperation, unable to find a release from horrific dreams and equally powerless to form a singular bond of tenderness with another person. He lives in bitterness.

Before the Holocaust, Sol Nazerman is a university professor in Poland. He survives the Holocaust; but his wife, daughter, and son are murdered in Nazi camps. His mind, having been decimated by loss, brutality, and cruelty, tilts upon the verge of collapse. Sol settles in New York and becomes a pawnbroker in Harlem. Here he survives, but with a personality so broken by pain and suffering that he repels everyone.

Day after day, the wretched poor of Harlem flow in and out of Sol’s shop, begging for a few dollars from the depressed and broken pawnbroker for owned and stolen artifacts. Already severely depressed, Nazerman falls into even greater despair from the wretched display of broken lives that flow into his pawnshop.

Wallant is an extremely gifted writer, producing a taught, flowing story replete with unforgettable characters and personalities. Had Wallant lived more than his brief 36 years, he certainly would have become the equal of other great American Jewish authors, including Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, Norman Mailer, and Phillip Roth.

The Pawnbroker is an honest, serious work of art about the human experience, with fascinating complexity and haunting sorrow. Wallant proffers an amazing exhibition of human power, weakness, tenderness, and grace in the characters he writes about.

Deep within the thematic brilliance of The Pawnbroker the reader feels life through the eyes of each troubled character. Wallant proffers an amazing display of vision and clarity in describing the insurmountable suffering of this aspect of the human experience. Although the time period in this novel is 1960s America, the characters’ situations, personalities, and travails ring true today.

Charles S. Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. He is a retired university administrator. Weinblatt is the author of published fiction and nonfiction. His biography appears in the Marquis Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, and Wikipedia.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7