The Forger: An Extraordinary Story of Survival in Wartime Berlin
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The Forger: An Extraordinary Story of Survival in Wartime Berlin

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  171 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The amazing account-soon to be a film-of Cioma SchAnhaus, the Jewish Schindler who evaded the Nazis and forged life-saving documents in wartime Berlin"
ebook, 241 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Da Capo Press (first published 2004)
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Petra X
The whole genre of Holocaust literature inspires horror and revulsion for the Nazis, disgust for the collaborating and enabling Germans and great sympathy for the Jews and other victims of the vile policies of Hitler and his entire morally-bankrupt Klan.

This book is completely different. Cioma is a cheeky chappy who will always find a way around any situation and thoroughly enjoys outwitting those who would have him deported to the camps and gassed. But he can't do this alone and through him we...more
This is not the greatest work of literature, but, boy, is it a great story. The writing kind of jumps around, and it's not always very clear when one scene changes to the next, but the tale of this young man hiding out in Berlin and forging documents is fascinating. He takes crazy risks but always manages to be elsewhere when they're looking for him, and finally makes his way into Switzerland, stopping on the way to forge one last document.
Definitely not your typical Holocaust survival book which is, more often than not, an emotional and heartbreaking account of inhumane treatment and tragic loss of family and friends. "The Forger" breaks the mold and although this is a book about a Holocaust survivor, the memoir is that of a courageous and ingenious twenty-year-old graphic artist who channeled his talents and created forged documents to help hundreds of Jews escape Berlin. He risked his life and those who collaborated with him to...more
Personally i thought this book was quite rough around the edges and poorly written, it was very difficult to follow and lacked fluidity. Yet even underneath all the sloppy writing you could tell it was an incredible story and would make an awesome movie!Especially since i read this just after returning from Berlin myself i found it fascinating how he survived and learning all about the city. I loved it when he would mention places i had gone and such!I was really shocked at the end when it said...more
Irving Koppel
"The Forger" is the story of a young German-Jewish boy who finds himself
stranded in Nazi Germany during World War II. Fortunately, he is an artist,and using his skills to become a forger, he is able to create
every kind of official document from ration books to passports. The book
reads more like fiction than biography since we are constantly going from
great danger to relative safety and back again. For one who is interested
in personal survival under extremely trying circumatances,he will find
This is a somewhat roughly translated (G>E) autobiography. The author was a Russian Jew living in Berlin during the war. Because of his artistic skills he was able to make his own 'aryan' documents and live as a regular German during the war in Berlin. He served hundreds of fellow Jews, Russians and Gypsies by giving them what appeared to be legitimate documents. He lost his parents to the camps in Poland, but he was finally able to escape to Switerland, via bicycle, in the yawning days of th...more
Michael Alders
really interesting insight into how jews were able to survive in the underground in Berlin during WWll.
very matter-of-fact writing, a lot of detail as to the how-to of forging documents, the autor's survival tactics,and what kind of resources he was able to draw upon.
Schoenhaus describes the terrible fate of his own family very simply & starkly-he might seem to some unemotional. His mental strength allowed him to carry own & survive.
A remarkable and enjoyable memoir in a grim setting,ult...more
Sandra Strange
This true holocaust story is quite arresting: after Cioma's parents and sister are taken off to the death camps from their home in Berlin, Cioma succeeds in staying alive by using his wits. A talented artist, he also helps others by forging Nazi stamps on false identity documents and food rationing books for a network that helped Jews escape the Nazis. The book is an engaging account, but be warned that Cioma is frank about his sexual adventures and how sex also helped keep him alive.
This was a different kind of book than others I've read about Jews in WWII. Since he avoided the concentration camps it was a bit more mild, although still portraying the unbelievable inhumanity they were treated with. This is how I like history books, the story of an individual.
Roughly written as others have pointed out but the story is amazing and truly inspiring of all the brave people in this book (including the author) who helped the Jewish people during the war... Shows the humanity that existed in characters such as Ludwig and helene etc
Cioma Schönhaus war der Passfälscher

Im Buchladen habe ich erst gezögert, ob dies wohl das richtige Buch für mich ist. Nazideutschland, Judenverfolgung… mmh, klingt sehr politisch. Meine liebe Ehefrau hat gesagt, dass ich das Buch sowieso nicht lesen würde. Also eher ein Trotzkauf, gegen Bevormundung??

Was für eine Geschichte! Fantastisch! Diesem Buch gebe ich 5 von 5 Sternen und werte alle anderen Bücher, die ich gelesen habe um einen Stern ‘runter. Selten habe ich die Geduld und die erforderlich...more
As some other reviews have pointed out, the prose is choppy and at times rough, additionally the tone seems a bit strange. It is unclear, at least to this reader, if it is the translation or the author (the tone being a way to distance himself).

Regardless, it is still a rather good and engrossing read.

Schonhaus was the child of Russian Jews who had emigrated to Berlin. The story starts during 1943, and covers the experience of Schonhaus as he hids at in Berlin, escaping the deportations that too...more
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I was disappointed in this, a memoir from a Jewish man who was 19 during Hitler's reign & who survived in Berlin by forging documents & living "underground," until he was forced to flee the country. I just found the writing style disconnected & hard to follow. I read about half the book. It would probably be easier to follow in English translation (it's available in paperback as "The Forger: An Extraordinary Story of Survival in Wartime Berlin").
I wanted so much more. I feel that he had an incredible story to tell but I never connected with anyone, not even him. He seemed to me like a cocky and irresponsible kid who didn't appreciate the good that he was doing. I felt like I was reading his diary with many disjointed incidents strung together. At the end of the book when he named the people in his story and what happened to them I realized that I remembered very few of them.
This book transports you to WWII Germany and the fear of living as a Jew waiting to be deported to "work camps". As a 20 year old Cioma was able to put his skills as an artist to use and forge believable papers so if her were stopped he would pass as a non-Jew, hopefully. He had many close calls, which ultimately led him to decide to work his way through Germany to try and escape to Switzerland.
Erik Graff
Jan 31, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WWII fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
I picked this up in Evanston with the idea of giving it away, not expecting to read it myself. However, one night, looking for a light, quick read, I saw this on the shelves reserved for gifts and brought it to bed.
The tale, that of a Jew successfully surviving in Germany--mostly in Berlin--until 1944, is not as dark as many such accounts are. One expects a movie...
This memoir is excellent first and foremost because of a beautiful translation which I'll assume reflects a beautiful composition in the original German (although I haven't seen the text in German). The context, of course, is tried and true as a drama-ready vivarium, but Schonhaus contributes the adolescent adventurous spirit that make his story singular.
What if you were a Jew in Germany? What would you do? I had to answer those questions because the author was very brave and stood up and was counted against the Nazis. This is an incredible story of someone doing something truly corageous.
A very different read from most of the WWII Jewish accounts of the war. Cioma suffered little compared to the many Jews who lived in Berlin during that time. As a result, it is an interesting story, but it is written rather poorly.
What an intersting, unusual view of events in Berlin coinciding with the Holocaust. I am glad to know that there were Jews as wwell as Christians that resisted, hid and helped others to avoid 'emigration' to the death camps.
Justin Ryman
An amazing story about a young Jewsih boy, who through growing up in anti-semtic Berlin found a way to survive on his own. This story s unbelievable and a true definition of perserverance.
I liked this book. I'm a fan of WWII stories. It was a bit rough of a translation in some parts but I thought it was a great story about a boy's amazing survival in Nazi wartime.
I've read many many books about survival in this terrible time in history and most are of camps but this one is survival avoiding the camps. Very very impressive
Abenteuerliche und zugleich authentische Geschichte eines Juden, der in Berlin durch das Fälschen von Pässen vielen Verfolgten zur Flucht verhilft.
This was not all it was hyped up to be in my opinion, it was an ok book, but I felt like I was left hanging when the book was over.
The true story of a plucky German Jewish boy who used his artistic skills to make counterfeit passes and evade the Gestapo.
Good true story of a Jewish artist who escaped Nazi Germany during WWII. He forged papers for many people to survive.
Interesting look into the underground Jews in Berlin. Unfortunately this book gets a little lost in translation.
Amazing story. It never ceases to astound me how many peculiar corners the Holocaust still conceals.
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Der Passfälscher El falsificador de pasaportes

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