Top positive review
Totally awesome biography
Reviewed in the United States on May 10, 2017
Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz is by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat. It is a very good story of a Holocaust survivor. He is the youngest I have heard of. Debbie does an excellent job of research and combining that with her Father’s story.
Michael did not tell his story for most of his life for four major reasons. First it was traumatic to talk about. Second, people didn’t want to hear about it at first. Third, and most importantly, he saw his photo on a Denier page with the statement that it didn’t happen because there were no children in Auschwitz. Michael was in a film the Soviet’s made of the children leaving the camp. First, he was in the middle with his Grandmother carrying him and then he is in the forefront of another picture of the children holding their arms up to see the numbers. Fourth, he knew his story would be used as a basis for history and he didn’t want to get anything wrong. Since he was so young, he was afraid he would mix things up.
Michael was born May 2, 1940 in the Warsaw Ghetto. Poland had been under Nazi rule since September 1, 1939. Michael had one older brother, Samuel. From stories, Samuel was elated to have a little brother. After his Mother would put Michael down to sleep, Samuel would get him up and make him play school with him. Of course, Michael was still a baby at that time and had no idea what was going on. All Michael has for knowledge of his older brother and his Father are the stories his cousins, Aunts and Uncles, and his Mother told. As far as he knows, no pictures remain of Samuel although he does have one of his Father. Both were gassed in Auschwitz. Michael, his parents, Samuel and his Grandmother were sent to Auschwitz. Later, Michael’s Mother was sent to another camp leaving Michael with his Grandmother. On January 17, 1945, Michael got very sick and his Grandmother took him to the infirmary. Luckily for him, the Nazis were getting ready to leave and only a German doctor with some humanity was there. He gave Michael and his Grandmother beds to sleep in and told them there would be an evacuation but they would be safe here. About ten days later, they were liberated.
The book gives a different view of Auschwitz-Birkenau than other books have. What is interesting is they, like almost all other survivors do not differentiate between Auschwitz I and Birkenau. The book is written in such language that students in junior high could read it and understand what is going on.