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on February 9, 2017
The Last Jew of Treblinka: A Memoir was written by Chil Rajchman. It is the chilling tale of the death camp Treblinka by one of the very few who survived. His memoir was mainly written in hiding in Warsaw before the Soviets took it over. It contains some of the best descriptions of the Nazi program of extermination. His very deliberate method of relating what happened to him is quite chilling. Although he doesn’t deliberately make it emotional, you can’t help but get the emotions he is feeling at any time.
Chil does not tell anything about his past prior to being in Treblinka. Through other sources we find he was born in Lodz on June 14, 1914. In 1939, he and one sister fled as the Germans approached. He and his sister were captured near Lublin and deported to Treblinka. Here he immediately lost his sister while he was chosen among the one hundred men needed to run the camp. Later, he finds his sister’s dress.
The book is neither long nor difficult to read; but it takes longer to read it than some other memoirs. This is due to his deliberate matter of fact writing that tells so much emotion between the lines. Of the many Holocaust memoirs I have read, this has to be one of the most chilling. What we know of Treblinka comes only through a very small number of survivors.