Books by Holocaust Survivors in Atlanta
- Give Me the Children, by Pola Arbiser
- Hearing a Different Drummer: by Benjamin Hirsch
- Home is Where You Find It, by Benjamin Hirsch
- By Fate or By Faith, by Cantor Isaac Goodfriend
- On the Run in Nazi Berlin, by Bert Lewyn & Bev Saltzman Lewyn
- Through The Eyes Of A Child, by Ilse Reiner
- Someone Must Survive to Tell the World, by Tosia Schechter Schneider
- My Reconstructed Life, by Eugen Schoenfeld
- Innocence & Reality, by Mathew Sikorski
Give Me the Children: How a Christian Family Saved a Jewish Family During the Holocaust, by Pola Arbiser
Pola Arbiser spent three years hiding in silence under her nanny's bed, afraid the Nazis would find her if she made the slightest noise. "We had no toys or newspapers," said the 69-year-old Decatur, Georgia, resident, who was 8 years old when she went into hiding in Drohobycz, Poland, during the Holocaust. "We were scared all the time that we would be killed any minute."
But Arbiser survived — along with her mother and sister, who hid there with her — and she has made a mission out of telling as many people as possible about Franciszka Sobkowa, the nanny who saved them.
Pola Arbiser (center) with her brother, who died before the war, and her nanny, Frania.
Hearing a Different Drummer: A Holocaust Survivor's Search for Identity, by Benjamin Hirsch
In this book, Korean War veteran, prominent Atlanta businessman and architect Benjamin Hirsch recounts his awakening identity as an observant Jew. While serving in the United States Army during the Korean War, Hirsch faced the ridiculousness of army life as well as the horror of war from a unique perspective, that of a child survivor of the Holocaust.
He also found that as a Jew he was regarded as alien and as a man he must cope with being a soldier in the United States Army during the Korean War. Memories of the Shoah are brought back by wartime experiences in Korea. Hirsch also used his position in the Army to get back to Germany and search for lost relatives. Amazingly, he is able to relate amusing experiences, showing how he and others coped with the difficulties of living amidst horror.
In the course of his research, Hirsch found evidence supporting the claim of many survivors that the Nazis made soap from the bodies of some Jews. This is presented in hope of reopening discussion of this horrific and controversial topic that has divided survivors and historians.
Home is Where You Find It: A Memoir, by Benjamin Hirsch
Shortly after the devastating Kristallnacht in Germany in 1938, author Benjamin Hirsch’s mother sends him and his four older siblings on a Kindertransport to Paris from Frankfurt, Germany. After almost three years of hiding in France, they escape through Spain to Portugal where they board a ship and arrive in the United States on two separate convoys, eventually settling in Atlanta, Georgia. But Hirsch’s parents and his younger siblings are not so fortunate—they perish in Auschwitz at the hands of the Nazis.
Anti-Semitism is at its peak in the United States, and the children must learn to adapt to an America at war. Growing up in the American South as orphaned Jewish emigrants during the 1940s and early 1950s, Hirsch and his four brothers and sisters struggle—each in his or her own way—to hold on to their traditional Jewish values and practices. But in the aftermath of war, the children learn to thrive and excel in their new country.
The prequel to Hirsch’s first book, Hearing a Different Drummer, Home Is Where You Find It poignantly chronicles Hirsch’s journey from the horrors of Nazism to a new life in America.
By Fate or By Faith: a Personal Story, by Cantor Isaac Goodfriend
This memoir details internationally renowned Jewish cantor Isaac Goodfriend's compelling story in light of the two factors he believed have affected his life at every turn: fate and faith. The juxtaposition of these two elements shaped the man he became and the inspiring story he has told here.
On the Run in Nazi Berlin, by Bert Lewyn and Bev Saltzman Lewyn
In 1942, Gestapo agents knocked on the door of the Lewyn family. Bert Lewyn was a teenager, only 18 years old. Like thousands of other Jewish families, Bert, his mother and father were all arrested and taken away. His parents were deported to a concentration camp and Bert was conscripted as a slave laborer, forced to work in a weapons factory building machine guns for the German Wehrmacht. This is a story of Bert's escape and subsequent struggle to survive on his own, living underground in Nazi Berlin.
Through The Eyes Of A Child: Diary Of An Eleven Year Old Jewish Girl, by Ilse Reiner
Ilse, who was 2 months short of her twelfth birthday, was deported from the Jewish orphanage in Prague in mid-October, 1942. She arrived in the concentration camp Terezin, called by the Nazis the "Jewish paradise," when in reality it was the gateway to Auschwitz. Today when Ilse speaks to various groups, mainly school children, she refers to this place as "the center of foolery." She is one of the hundred children out of fifteen thousand who survived Terezin and the horrific typhus epidemic which took the lives of many.
Deported for the second time, she found herself in Birkenau/Auschwitz where she passed the inspection at the selection site in front of the infamous Dr. Mengele who decided who was to live and who was to die. Ilse was sent to a slave labor camp in Silesia named Kurzbach bei Trachtenberg. What helped to save her life was saying that she was eighteen when in fact she was only fourteen as she was forewarned to do so by an inmate of the camp who helped at the train station with new arrivals.
Miraculously, it worked! She later escaped from the death march heading for the Gross Rosen concentration camp with two other women and hid in a cellar on a farm amidst piles of potatoes and burlap bags. When the Russian military arrived a few days later, she masqueraded among the soldiers as a young male. After she learned of the war ending, she and her friends walked for some distance towards the Czech border, where she fainted. She awoke to find herself in a Red Cross van heading towards Prague, where she was hospitalized for three months. Thereafter she returned to her hometown of Vsetin where she lived with a Christian family with five children of their who were former friends of hermother and her as well. Ilse immigrated to the USA in mid-October 1946 and resided with her mother's brother and his American wife.
Someone Must Survive to Tell the World, by Tosia Schechter Schneider
Schneider spent her early childhood in an idyllic Jewish setting in a small town in Poland. The advent of Hitler and World War II destroyed that world and turned her life into unspeakable horror. All her immediate family was murdered as well as most of her extended family. In 1949, she came to the US, married, and raised a family in Atlanta. These memoirs fulfill the pledge she made to her mother in the bitter winter of 1942: to tell the world should she survive. It is also a plea to her children and grandchildren to remember the past and struggle against hatred, prejudice, and anti-Semitism.
My Reconstructed Life, by Eugen Schoenfeld
In My Reconstructed Life Eugen Schoenfeld tells the improbable story of his life. Born in a small shtetl in the Carpathian Mountains, Schoenfeld became a professor of Sociology at Georgia State University. The fact that a small boy from this background would become a professor is noteworthy in and of itself. What makes it remarkable, however, is that between one axis of his life—his youth in a small Jewish community in Hungary’s mountains—and the other—his distinguished career at a state university—he endured and survived the Holocaust. Though each life is uniquely valuable, the course of Schoenfeld’s life reminds us of the tremendous intellectual and professional losses perpetrated by the Holocaust.
From Foreword by Deborah E. Lipstadt, Ph.D., Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Innocence & Reality: A miraculous journey of faith and family during WWII, by Mathew Sikorski
A book which educates, entertains and inspires. It will help you gain a new perspective on the challenges in your life.
Travel back sixty years with Mat Sikorski as he tucks his dog under his coat and marches out of the burning city of Warsaw, Poland. In the perilous months that follow, this fifteen year old miraculously survives one life-threatening event after another. Eventually he makes his way to America, where he fulfills his destiny to be a husband, father, scientist and finally, in the legacy of his parents, a teacher.