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From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival (Jewish Lives)

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1958, when Blatt emigrated to Israel, he sent the story of his incarceration and escape from Sobibor to a notable Auschwitz survivor. The names Auschwitz, Treblinka and Dachau had by then become symbols of the horrors of the Holocaust. But the concentration camp at Sobibor was another site where thousands of Jews had been killed, so Blatt must have been horrified when this survivor wrote in response to his manuscript, "`You have a tremendous imagination. I've never heard of Sobibor and especially not of Jews revolting there.'" Forty years later Sobibor's existence is no longer in question. But even today it is a camp shrouded in mystery, in large part, as Blatt points out, because "very little official documentation" survives of Sobibor's existence or operation--this memoir is one of the few eyewitness accounts. Through first-person narrative and reconstructed dialogue, Blatt describes with chilling objectivity the German occupation of his hometown of Izbica, Poland; early Nazi roundups; the transportation of Jews to Sobibor; his own internment there; the inmate revolt that followed on the footsteps of Nazi defeats by the Russians; and finally his flight to and from his hometown. Although parts of this story were printed elsewhere and have been incorporated into Richard Rashke's Escape from Sobibor as well as a 1987 CBS documentary of the same name, this is Blatt's first full-length account and the result of 40 years of work. Blatt's story is a powerfully written memorial to Sobibor's victims.

Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Among the most common questions asked of Holocaust survivors are why the Jews didn't fight back: Why, it is wondered, did they let their families go to their deaths so easily? The recollections of Blatt, a survivor of the extermination camp Sobibor, in Poland, where Jews staged a successful revolt, addresses these questions in a frank and gripping narrative. Blatt's account demonstrates how the Germans kept Jews in Poland subjugated through random terror combined with promises that the status quo would be maintained if the Jews cooperated. By the time Blatt reached Sobibor with his family, it was too late for resistance. Perhaps the most frightening, and dispiriting, part of Blatt's account is how Christian Poles at times robbed, terrorized, or even murdered Jewish fugitives, such as the Sobibor escapees. A chilling narrative; highly recommended for Judaica collections and Holocaust specialists as well as general readers.?Frederic Krome, Northern Kentucky Univ., Highland Heights
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Jewish Lives
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press (January 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810112213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810112216
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,892,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Mr. Thomas Toivi Blatt gives us a chilling look into what it was like to live and just survive under a barbaric system; one where one's neighbors and friends became their enemies and pursuers in the aim to please the occupation forces of Nazism. Mr. Thomas Toivi Blatt and others like him survived against incredible odds to their survival. It makes one reflect on and cherish each and every day that we live in freedom without the tremendous tyranny that Mr. Thomas Toivi Blatt, his family, and many others endured on a day to day basis for several years. Thank you Mr. Thomas Toivi Blatt for your sincere and honest reflections.
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This book is phenomenal. I could not put it down until I finished it. I was expecting the worst part of the book to be about what was done in Sobibor. But to me, it wasn't. What was even worse to me, was what happened after the escape. I thought people would be honoring him as a hero for escaping. Instead, people were STILL trying to turn him in to the Nazis--after everything he had been through. And still a kid, for crying out loud. But nothing else compared, to me, to what happened at the very end of the book. The Germans were overthrown, and the Russians in control, so he should have been safe. But no, that is STILL not enough for some people. Now the Polish townspeople are ready to finish off what the Nazis started. Absolutely unbelievable! There were also parts in it that were very touching. When the German took Stefan out in the woods to shoot him, and then told him to run, while he shot in the air. And lots of people risked their lives to help. But then others would rather turn you in than look at you. What horrible psychological warfare for people, not knowing who they could trust, when they asked for help. This war was so brutal for so many different peoples.

This book is totally riveting. I'm reminded of one of the interviews for the movie "Uprising." Where one of the survivors asked the director of the movie if he thinks this same kind of thing could happen again, and the director said, ''I hope not.'' And the survivor said that he thought it could. After reading books like this on what DID happen in WW2, I believe he is right. This COULD happen again. When you read about all the people who turned on others, and some of the atrocities committed. And Stalin and Hitler were NOT the only people committing them.
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Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was amazing. My history teacher recommended this to me after i read 'man's search for meaning'.

It's an incredibly honest and gripping book on the life of a young man survivng sobibor and the activies around it.

It will definately make you be thankful for what you have and not to take anything for granted. A truly inspirational book.
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By A Customer on June 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
Among the most common questions asked of Holocaust survivors are why the Jews didn't fight back: Why, it is wondered, did they let their families go to their death so easily? The recollections of Blatt, a survivor of the extermination camp Sobibor, in Poland, where Jews staged a successful revolt, addresses these questions in a frank and gripping narrative. Blatt's account demonstrates how the Germans kept Jews in Poland subjugated through random terror combined with promises that the status quo would be maintained if the Jews cooperated. By the time Blatt reached Sobibor with his family, it was too late for resistance. Perhaps the most frightening, and dispiriting, part of Blatt's account is how Christian Poles at times robbed, terrorized, or even murdered Jewish fugitives, such as the Sobibor escapees. A chilling narrative; highly recommended for Judaica collections and Holocaust specialists as well as general readers.
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My favorite subject, This is a great look at the Germans inhumanities to man. And still the world learned nothing.
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Format: Paperback
Until I read this book, "Holocaust" to me was just one of those small sparks of a big firework called "World War II". It was briefly mentioned in a very short paragrah in one of the World War II chapters in my history class in high school. But after reading this book, the word "Holocaust" gives me goose bumps. This book is a great revelation of one of the darkest time in human history. I had never read any thriller that is as thrilling as this real story. I had never read any page turner that enthralled me like this book did. I just couldn't put the book down while I was journeying with the author through one near-death experience to another. (it seemed as if those incidents were never ending...)

The book not only taught me a very important piece of history that my history book failed to show me. It also helped me understand an aweful lot about the Jewish culture, the Jewish people and their lives before World War II. (and after WWII, since the book got me curious enough to research more on Israel and the Jewish people). This book showed me in great detail why, how and what had happened during the Jewish extermination campaigns, and finally understand why such appalling schemes were so successful and unstoppable.

Besides being an excellent history book, it's also a very compelling book that shows all human weaknesses there are. (greed, cowardice, prejudice, ignorance, fear, lack of faith, lack of ethnical conviction, group thinking, etc...) Sometimes I wonder, if only we didn't have all these flaws and weaknesses in us, the Nazzi wouldn't have a chance to execute their plan, and the entire history of war and atrocity wouldn't keep repeating itself.
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