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Il bambino senza nome

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,524 ratings  ·  252 reviews
I frammenti della sua vita sono chiusi in una logora valigia da quasi settant'anni. Ora Alex ha bisogno dell'aiuto di suo figlio Mark per ricostruire il proprio passato.

Un'epopea tragica e assurda: scampato a soli cinque anni allo sterminio della sua famiglia da parte dei nazisti e sfuggito alla propria esecuzione, lui, ebreo bielorusso, diventa la mascotte delle SS. Ora v
Paperback, Pickwick, 434 pages
Published November 2013 by Piemme (first published 2007)
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,524 ratings  ·  252 reviews

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Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shrina by: Lisa Durst
This is an amazing story about a 5 year old Jewish boy surviving a masacre in his village only to roam the Belarus mountains during late autum/early winter. He is eventually "found" by a woodsman who takes him to a soldier's camp to be killed.

Because the boy can think on his feet, he makes a connection with Sergent Kulis who saves him from the firing squad. Jekab Kulis is a Latvian sergent on a mission to "liquidate" the ghettos in 1941.

The sergent, knowing that the boy is Jewish, saves him. H
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alex Kurzem is a retired television repair man living in Melbourne. In 1997 he arrived, without prior announcement, on the doorstep of his son Mark, an academic living in Oxford, England. In the days that follow, Alex takes the first of many tentative steps toward revealing his extraordinary past, a secret he has buried deep for almost 60 years.

As a Jewish boy, aged only 5 or 6, Alex witnessed the murder of his mother and siblings by a German-led execution squad. Fleeing into the nearby forest,
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Mascot is such a powerful and compelling biography. It is not your traditional biography--Holocaust or not. It is the story of how one man's past is revealed, how a father chooses to share his memories--some quite vivid, others very vague or fuzzy--with his adult son. The father's life is revealed to his son in a series of conversations and through the son's research to validate his father's story.

Mark, our narrator, always knew his father had his secrets. His father had a brown bag he carri
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been drawn to Holocaust memoirs most of my life and have therefore read many. This, by far, is the most extraordinary story I've read -- and it's well documented as not being fictional (unlike some others I could mention). A remarkable human spirit and nearly feral desire to survive are demonstrated by a 5-year-old orphaned Jewish boy who, through his charm and desperation, manages to not only hide his ethnicity, but also survive World War II in Nazi-dominated Latvia as a "mini SS" soldier ...more
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm not much of a history reader, and not much into WWII, but this book was gripping and entirely captivating. I liked the personal focus that didn't try to do too much with the horror of the time and didn't try to do too much with sentimentality, it was just well balanced and incredibly unique. Of all the stories you hear about WWII, you have not heard this one. I particularly enjoy that the book unfolded, it is as much a mystery novel as it is a book of personal history.
Shauna Hruby
Apr 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was our book club book, otherwise I would not have picked this book on my own because I shy away from dark, difficult subject matter for the most part. And this is some of the darkest: dealing with WWII, Nazis, Holocaust massacres, Russian and Latvian plots, and just unbelievable evil. It is also gut-wrenching to "watch" the author's father tap into his purposefully repressed memories of his horrific childhood. And yet there is something of the fascination of tragedy about it--like watching ...more
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A survival story, a grim fairy-tale, and a psychological drama, this memoir asks provocative questions about identity, complicity, and forgiveness. When a Nazi death squad raided his Latvian village, Jewish five-year-old Alex escaped. After surviving the winter by foraging for food and stealing clothes off dead soldiers, he was discovered by a Latvian SS unit. Not knowing he was Jewish, they made him their mascot, dressing the little "corporal" in uniform and toting him from massacre to massacre ...more
May 19, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An interesting underlying story, but the author's style drove me nuts and made the whole thing sound implausible.
Dec 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mesmerizing read, painfully revealing of the dark that lurks inside us, and beside that shadow, the light. I first heard about The Mascot on NPR, with both son and father being interviewed. It touched upon some part of my own heritage as a Latvian born of immigrant parents, come to the United States during WWII as refugees fleeing the Soviet occupation in Latvia.

This is the story of Uldis Kurzemnieks, by birth Ilya Galperin, a Jewish boy caught in the turning wheels of the Holocaust. To the b
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story itself was very interesting, but the "voice" of the book just didn't feel authentic. It was written from the perspective of the author having conversations with his father about his (the father's) past, and it felt a bit too forced for my taste. Not that his story isn't believable, but for me the way the story was presented lacked something for me.

There was also a bit of "cloak and dagger" stuff that never really was explained, which took away from the main story too much. All in all,
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hated-it
I was very intrigued by this story and I feel as though I would have really enjoyed it overall with the way the father speaks. That being said, the father's story is wonderfully told and I enjoyed his side of things, what I could not get through was the son's narrative. It took nearly forty pages of the son to get to the father. These stories must be told but by the people who experienced it. It would have been wonderful just to have the son relay the story, not his interjections and questions t ...more
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A truly heartbreaking tale that made me reflect on how we define good and evil, and how both can exist in one person. A true testament to resilience and the power of seeking the truth. I wish there had been more - more about the aftermath of the journey as described in the book, which is alluded to but never shared.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really liked this.
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Think back to all the memories you have from when you were 5 years old. What can you learn and trust from memories you have at such a young age? This book is about a man who has been hiding the secret of who he was for such a long time that he can hardly remember what the truth is. He asks his son to help him find out who he is and who his family is. This book is the result.
Geri  Cafarella
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book very interesting as it is a true story.
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, just wow. I don't know how to describe this book. It is in some ways like a detective story or putting together a jig saw puzzle. You read it and you wonder how the pieces will fit together. I've been in two death camps -- Auschwitz (5 times) and Majdanek (twice). The first time I travelled to Auschwitz in 1991 I went with a Polish Army Colonel whose uncle was killed there. I've read several books about the 'Shoah including "Night" and "the Diary of Anne Frank." I've pored over David Roskie ...more
The author's father, Alex Kurzem, has been keeping a secret from his family forever. It's only when he is older and all his sons are grown up and long gone that he starts to confide in Mark. Mark grew up in Australia and was living in England when he father, who Mark believed grew up in Latvia, began to reveal his secrets and to ask for help to find out who is really is. He remembers only two words as clues, and remembers that when he was 5 or 6, he saw his mother and siblings shot by the Nazis. ...more
Jan 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing and heartbreaking story of a young boy who witnessed the death of his mother and siblings at the hands of SS soldiers only to go on to become a young "soldier" himself in order to survive. The narrative is told through the eyes of the "little soldier's" adult son, who helped his father sort through the fragmented memories in order to find out his true identity. It is one of the most unbelievable stories of survival I have ever read. One cannot blame the Oxford professors who f ...more
Jun 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Simone by: Lea
Shelves: 2012-read

So Lea recommended this to me forever ago. And I finally got around to reading it. Probably because it's not exactly the kind of book that makes you want to run right out and read depressing stories about Nazi's. However, this was really interesting. In part because it's not the typical Holocaust narrative, this isn't a story you've heard before, and it doesn't go where you thought it might. Either way, interesting. Glad I finally read it!
Montana Davis
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a man trying to rediscover his Jewish past. Over sixty years he kept his story a secret until finally sharing it with his son and wife. In this book he finds his past. I would recommend this book to people who would like to learn about World War Two without it going into any extreme detail about the Holocaust. It was fairly interesting but also had some dull areas. Overall, I think this book is good and I would recommend it to others.
Oct 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this a 3.5 book rating. The story is fascinating but the writing is not the best I have ever read. Still, the circumstances of the writer's father is so interesting that it is worth reading.
Jan 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The whole idea of this book was intriguing, but I didn't feel like it was very well written. An interesting, but rather odd book. When I finished it, I had a lot of ambiguous feelings toward the people portrayed. Since it is about real people, maybe that was the way I was supposed to feel.
Mary Lynn HR
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-copy
Read a copy borrowed from the library, after a recommendation from a friend. Thank you Adele for your review.
Oct 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a parent of a one-year old baby girl, one of the most difficult things for me to read about and yet find so intriguing is the subject of children in times of war. Perhaps it is the stark contrast between childhood innocence (and helplessness) and the animal-like cruelty that Man is capable of inflicting to himself.

Children and war. It is a pain that strikes me in deep the heart, the same way I feel when I read about babies abandoned at birth or children neglected and abused. War is that great
Tom Schulte
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a way, this is a story too good to fact-check: According to the spellbinding story, Alex Kurzem (father to the author) is the former boy mascot of the collaborationist Latvian police Schutzmannschaft Battalion 18. Certainly, photographs and survivor interviews support this mascot role. Controversy remains as to whether Alex is Jewish and if he actually witnessed the other Jewish residents of his shtetl massacred by an open pit by (an early Nazi massacre mode I read of in Black Earth: The Holo ...more
Sarah Arnold
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I met Alex at Sunshine hospital while he was visiting a friend, a long stay patient I was caring for while on clinical placement in 2016. He is such a friendly and genuine man, and I feel blessed to have met him and heard his story especially since reading this book about him written by his son.
Anne Mina
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Honestly, this is not the type of books I normally read. However, this is one of the best book I’ve ever read! Personally, I think it portrays the different way holocaust affected the world in a really interesting way. It tells a war story that is out of the ordinary, but absolutely worth reading.
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating story, but it could have been written more concisely.
Marion Roux
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful, unforgettable memoir
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story, unbelievable at times.
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