A story from the Nazi death camps!
Jack Mandelbaum never thought of himself as a Jew. He thought of himself as Polish – after all, only his grandfather was Jewish. But the fact that Jack was only partly Jewish made no difference to the Nazis. To them, he was all Jew.
He was only twelve years old when the war started so, although he was ostracized with the rest of the Jews and thrown into a ghetto, he was not required to do forced labor. Instead, he agreed to work shifts for the Nazis in place of the rich Jewish men who could pay him to take their place. He slaved for Hitler, but he also supported his family.
And then came June 14, 1942. All of the Jews in Jack’s ghetto were herded out and divided into factions. Some were to remain in the ghettos – others were sent to concentration camps.
Jack was sent to the camps.
For the next three years, Jack learned how to control his hatred, how to give his all so as to stay alive, yet how to reserve his soul from the Nazis. He dealt with disease, starvation, and brutality. He nearly died a dozen times. But instead of dying, he lived to tell his story.
Although the reading level is for middle school aged children, the content covered is not light. Different methods of violence are mentioned, including the gas chambers, an instance of attempted suicide, and the burial of wounded-but-still-alive Jews.
A picture is included of four girls in 1940s era swimsuits. Also it is mentioned that Jack’s aunt had lots of boyfriends.
Conclusion. A great resource on a true WWII survivor.
Review © 2014 Laura Verret