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Survivor: Auschwitz, the Death March and my Fight for Freedom

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  698 ratings  ·  83 reviews
In 1939, on his 13th birthday, the Nazis invaded Poland. Sam Pivnik survived the two ghettoes set up in his home town of Bedzin and six months working on the processing ramp at Auschwitz, where prisoners were either taken away for entry to the camp or gassing.

After this harrowing experience, he was sent to work at the brutal Furstengrube mining camp. He could h
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Hodder Ome (first published August 1st 2012)
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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 ·  698 ratings  ·  83 reviews


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Kirsty
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
My sister purchased this as a gift for me when she visited Auschwitz back in August. It is a Holocaust account which I hadn’t heard of before; I do not remember seeing any information about it upon its release, and have come across no reviews on Goodreads or blogs regarding the thoughts of its previous readers. Regardless, as a History nerd, the premise appealed to me immediately, and I only waited for a couple of weeks before reading it.

Pivnik’s account is thorough, and all the more
...more
Karen McMillan
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Not a book for the faint-hearted, but Survivor is truly an astonishing story, told with a great deal of insight. Survivor is a memoir of the Second World War and tells the story of a young Jewish teenager mainly from the time the Germans occupied Poland in 1939, through years of unimaginable hell until liberation six years later. The strength of this book is Sam’s courageous and plucky spirit, his transparency and honesty in his account, and the way the story moves between his younger self and a ...more
Paula
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Both horrifying and incredibly heartbreaking to hear the atrocities Pivnik had to endure at Auschwitz-Birkenau and on. You'll finish the book wishing it was a work of fiction.
Monica Mac
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was quite an eye-opening read.

Young Sam is only 13 when he gets caught up in the madness that was the destruction of the Jewish people in Poland. He and his family end up in a ghetto and from there, they are rounded up and deposited outside Auschwitz. By a stroke of luck, he ends up in the line of (mostly) men, which means that he is spared from dying as soon as he arrives - his family aren't so lucky.

I have read many, many stories about the holocaust and this one is very well
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Marit
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Samantha Hammond
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read in a day. Brilliant book.
Jeanette D Lucas
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really fascinating

Really enjoyed reading this book. A little slow on places but stick with it.
How people survived this period is beyond me
Kim Foss
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story of a death camp survivor strikes a chord about strength, courage and willingness to live in unimaginable circumstances...and incredible resilience after the loss of every member of the author’s family. This story was told without self-pity, but does reflect recrimination for the tasks the author was made to perform to preserve his own life. I am always shocked to find the rest of the world was unaware at that time of these atrocities.
Isabel
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in three days, just because I had to break so much in between because of how heavy the information into the insight into his life is. This book is amazing and I would urge everyone to read it, even if it isn’t something you feel is your normal genre. I got this when I visited Auschwitz and it has opened my mind and shown me in more detail all of the awful and disturbing things that happened there.

During this book you get to see Sam Pivniks life before, during and
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Marsha
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a very powerful memoir about Polish, Jewish-born Sam Pivnik’s life. When sent to Auschwitz, all his family, except for himself and a brother were murdered. I think his strength in surviving was that he was young. Just a teenage boy at the time, he was physically and mentally strong. He says that often some luck was involved in his survival, but he definitely had his share of starvation, beatings, and even sexual abuse.

Fortunately, after all the horror, after WWII, Pivnik reunites with
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Grant S
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: already-own
I've read quite a few books about the Holocaust and this is one of the best.
The story of a teenager living through and surviving the Nazi invasion and occupation of Poland, the ghetto, incarceration in Auschwitz and Furstengrube mines, the death marches, sinking of the Arcona, fighting for a Jewish homeland in Palestine and attemping to bring a Nazi officer to justice.
'Survivor, couldn't be more apt! To come through all that....!
The book doesn't try to answer some of the big qu
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MAHAM TAIMURI
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An reality check of the past we still live in.

I am lost of words by the individuslisation that this book gives to the statistics of the tragedy the world experienced. Definately recommend this to everyone and anyone, as it personalises the implications of WW2 in the context of an innocent civilian's life.
Kelly
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very informative book of Sam's time in concentration camps during his teenage years. They stole so much of his life from him and he delivers his story with a lot of emotion. You really cannot comprehend what he went through both with and without his family. He's such a brave man, it's a shame he never became a father as I feel he would have made a new generation very proud.
Nick
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read many Jewish survivor stories. Each one different. But, this one was also educational for me with dates and allies info. I wish I could hug Sam. Poor guy. What an unbelievable history. Hard for me to wrap my head around this happening in the 1040s! Scary. We must never forget. Im44 and plan to tell my kids all this.
Erin Woodall
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is hard to say you like a book on this subject. This book seemed really real to me. He said things I had not read in a Holocaust memoir before. I hope we can all learn from the past and not make the same mistakes. I would recommend this book, but there are some parts that are hard to read!
Haley Craig
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An extremely vivid memoir of a horrific time in history. A compelling story of Sam's life and the struggles he faced alongside other Jewish people. Such a brave man to relive those memories so we can better understand the trauma of what they went through
Robert
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really good book featuring another survivor of the Holocaust. A tale of luck, and, all under terrible conditions that most of us in the modern day world just can’t imagine. A moving true story of someone who got through those terrible times back seventy years ago. I especially liked the attention at the end chapters when Sam details what happened to many of the perpetrators of this horror of horrors bestowed upon a race that’s been persecuted for over two thousand years. I highly recom ...more
Alan
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We live in a time when even the memories of these events are fast fading, but such things should never be forgotten indeed in my opinion that would be criminal. This is one account of someone who miraculously lived through them. Sadly there are many like it. we cannot change or deny the past and what happened, however, I would hope that by reading accounts such a Sam Pivnik's, we might just be able to stop them from happening again. I urge you to read this book and keep the message alive from ge ...more
Mrs Sonya
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haunting and Moving

This book is so well written. If someone wrote all that had happened to Sam as a movie plot you would say it was all too farfetched to be true. What an amazing man. I have been felt totally in awe of his bravery and totally horrified that we humans could possibly have treated each other like this. I have read many accounts of the holocaust and this is certainly one of the most powerful. Highly recommended.
Pamela Harridine
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking account of his life story. Having recently visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, it was easier to visualise, but still cannot comprehend the actual horror of this....his life story was spoiled for me by having joined forces with fighters to drive Palestinians out of their homes. Can’t imagine someone going through what he had gone through would be wanting to act in that way?
Claire Biggs
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The story of a boy who entered Auschwitz and lost his family, whose life was a living hell but somehow managed to survive the starvation, beatings and death marches, it makes for a hard read but well worth the while to see what he did to survive
Amanda Henderson
It was a good story and obviously spoke of the hell this gentleman went through but unfortunately I found myself getting confused and distracted
Yassemin
Apr 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
I found what I read very very boring. DNF
Linda Pittard
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Awesome first hand account of the madness of the Nazi " cleansing" in WWII
Deann Doolittle
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Very good book on surviving the holocaust.
Terrie-Leanne Cass
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very well written gripping story of such a sad era
Xanthi
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author pulls no punches and tells his life story straight, in graphic, horrifying detail. We begin with his childhood before WW2, in Poland, and go through to his 80's revisiting the places he once had been in Germany and Poland, as a prisoner. His survival is part resilience and toughness, and part sheer luck and chance. A powerful and important story to tell. I am glad he did, as painful as it must have been.
I do wish he went into more detail about his life after his liberation, espe
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Lauren Weichert
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sam Pivinik describes his heart wrenching story of survival and perseverance by recounting the traumatic events that continually plagued his teenage years, that continue to haunt him to this very day. Miraculously Sam survived despite enduring brutal conditions for four excruciatingly long years inside of a Nazi death camp after being robbed of his innocence, health, home, and family. After escaping imprisonment and fleeing to safety, Sam decided it was time for his story to be told. This novel ...more
Teresa
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The story of Sam Pivnik is truly astonishing. This summer I went on a trip to different places in Europe and one of the places I got to go was Poland. I've always been interested in the holocaust and different survivor stories from people that overcame the Holocaust. In Poland My family and I got to go to Auschwitz. Seeing the place where the prisoners were kept and then reading about it made me understand what happened in the camps even more so. Going to Auschwitz was a surreal experience. Seei ...more
Lizzy Attwood
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sam Pivnik's novel is really an honest and really reflect what profoundly dire situation that every person involved the holocaust was witnessing and living through. What made this story so real is that you know he survived as he wrote the novel, but each twist and turn meant that yes he survived but he lost someone dear. And you really are moved come the end, and you sign. Phew! He's done it. This book has you spine on edge, you can't sit still because during quieter periods in the book you know ...more
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