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Scheisshaus Luck: Surviving the Unspeakable in Auschwitz and Dora

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4.1  ·  Rating details ·  1,065 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Librarian's note: There is an Advance Reader Copy for this edition of this book here.

In 1943, eighteen year old Pierre Berg picked the wrong time to visit a friend's house--at the same time as the Gestapo. He was thrown into the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. But through a mixture of savvy and chance, he managed to survive...and ultimately got out alive. "As far as
...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 3rd 2008 by AMACOM/American Management Association
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Pierre Berg
Aug 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Here is what The Kirkus Review had to say about my Holocaust memoir, Scheisshaus Luck


"The harrowing story of Berg's time in Nazi concentration camps, related with "irony, irreverence, and gallows humor" that led co-author Brock to urge him to publish it a half-century after it was written.

The pair collaborated to amplify and clarify the original manuscript, but retained the cocky voice of a French Resistance member only 18 years old when he was arrested in Nice in late 1943. On a train full of p
...more
John
Sep 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I've found on the Holocaust, because instead of dry, analytical commentary on what happened, it is the personal narrative of someone who experienced it.
Pierre Berg is a Frenchman who was accidentally arrested by the Gestapo when he was visiting a Jewish friend.

Instead of seeing Auschwitz from somewhere above it, as an onlooker, we see the concentration camp through the eyes of a young man who experienced it. The reader has to have a strong stomach to survive reading some of
...more
Cassandra
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is one of the best Holocaust memoirs I've ever read. I read it last spring but couldn't write a review of it at the time because the book made my emotions so raw. I finally checked it out of the library again last month, started reading it, but had to stop 100 pages in. It hurts too much. The writing and story are both so intense that my heart was breaking. This memoir does not skimp on horrific details and it's intense. It's absolutely devastating that people lived through tortures such as ...more
Avi
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
This memoir is written by a gentile who was imprisoned in Auschwitz as a political prisoner. I found this book very interesting and quite detailed. He went through an horrendous ordeal as you can imagine and the some of the things he witnessed were awful and not for the faint hearted, for example cannibalism. I enjoyed his style of writing and got through the book fairly quickly. I would have liked to know more about his life after the war and if he ever found love again. I would recommend this ...more
Becki
Jan 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is the best Holocaust account I have read. I wish that this book could have come out earlier when I was still in school, because I think it is a priceless addition to any high school English course.

So many important and little known facts about the Holocaust are in this book. For instance, this is the first book I've seen that deals with someone being sent to the concentration camps just because. Pierre is not a Jew, nor a Gypsy, nor any of the other groups that the Nazis attempted to exter
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Rebecca
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
You can read stories of the camps, you can watch documentaries of the camps, you can even sympathize with those in the camps, but you'll never actually GET it.

The closest we can come, is to experience it through someone else's view, someone who was actually there, who lived the grueling awful torture.

I don't know why I continue to be fond of first encounters of places like Auschwitz because it rips my very soul in two when I read the words that must have been so incredibly difficult for the per
...more
Claire
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I actually had the luck of befriending Mr. Berg on Myspace before he published the book and before the days of Facebook. He found me through a search of people who had interests in the Holocaust and Auschwitz and sent me a friend request. He was such a delightful man and was promoting this book. Every day he would have a blog post about his experiences in Auschwitz so as soon as I found out about the release date I preordered the book. It is perhaps one of the best survivor stories I've read yet ...more
Meaghan
This is one of the few concentration camp memoirs written by a Gentile. The author was picked up for his activities in the French Resistance at the age of seventeen and wound up in Auschwitz. As he notes throughout the story, he is both very unlucky and very lucky -- unlucky to have been imprisoned, lucky to have survived at all.

I would like to know more about Berg's relationship with his parents. He hardly mentions them: he just says they left him to his own devices a lot after he was ten. Afte
...more
Laura
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Amazing...I didn't think I would actually "enjoy" a book about the horrors of Auschwitz but the way it was written made it a real page turner. What these poor people went through was nothing less than horrifying but to have survived it was a miracle. Def recommend this book!
Kris
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded up to 5. A really good book.

I've read several books about the Holocaust and Nazi Germany's concentration camps - Elie Wiesel's Night, Roman Frister's The Cap, Heinz Heger's The Men with the Pink Triangle. Surprisingly, none of them brought home to me on a personal level the severity of conditions in the camps, like Berg's book has. The heavy labor, the randomness of why one person dies and another lives. The starvation-level rations - including days or weeks where the inmates s
...more
Kirsten
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've read many books about the Holocaust, and found myself becoming ambivalent and/or numb to the horrors and tragedies of that horrible period of history over the past couple of years. In light of this realization, I decided to distance myself from books on the subject and return to them at a later date, so that I wouldn't find myself not really acknowledging how terrible and earth-shaking the events of the second World War were.

This book brought everything back into perspective in vivid colour
...more
Sandy
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Pierre didn’t expect to be celebrating his 19th birthday among other prisoners and perhaps he thought he would be at least celebrating it with his family. Here was Pierre alive and working on his 19th birthday in a Nazi concentration camp during WW2 and depending on how you look at it, that could be a good thing or bad thing. In Pierre’s book we are allowed a true accounting of the world he existed in during the Holocaust during his eighteen-month capture until his nightmare was finally over wit ...more
Carol
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, non-fiction
Pierre Berg went to Auschwitz by accident. He was not Jewish by birth or belief; in fact he was an atheist. But he was visiting a friend when the Gestapo came to that house in Nice, France. He had a fake I.D. because he was a messenger for the French underground. If the Gestapo knew that, he would have been executed right away. Instead he was taken to do cleaning in a quarantined ward. This is where he fell in love with Stella, another prisoner. He always smelled back from cleaning the outhouses ...more
Brian
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: books-i-wrote
Here is what the Kirkus Review had to say about Scheisshaus Luck:

"The harrowing story of Berg's time in Nazi concentration camps, related with "irony, irreverence, and gallows humor" that led co-author Brock to urge him to publish it a half-century after it was written.

The pair collaborated to amplify and clarify the original manuscript, but retained the cocky voice of a French Resistance member only 18 years old when he was arrested in Nice in late 1943. On a train full of prisoners, Berg met
...more
Corinne
It doesn't matter how many Holocaust memoirs I read, I am always amazed by the fact that the human spirit can withstand so much and still survive. Scheisshaus Luck provides a new perspective - that of Pierre Berg, an 18 year old from France who was involved with the Maquis (the French Resistance) and ended up spending time in Auschwitz.

Pierre glosses over nothing. His experiences give depth to the inhumane treatment of all prisoners in death camps. Part of this story were almost more than I coul
...more
Marla
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this in the wee hours of the morning and had to weep silently in the bed as my husband was sleeping and I did not want to wake him up.

So many readers have already far more eloquently than I have written such wonderful reviews of this must read book.

Having become online friends of both Mr. Berg and Mr Brock made the experience of reading Mr, Berg's story even more amazing because I would read something he wrote 2 days ago and then be reading about what happened to him 60 years a
...more
Jamesv
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've read quite a few memoirs written by Holocaust survivors, but this is the best I've read so far. There are very dark and evil events that occur in the book...but the author did a great job and conveying the silver linings (no matter how rare they may be). The author has a good sense of humor...which at first I assumed would have felt awkward considering the subject matter of the book-but it really not, if anything in a way it's comforting for the reader. It comes across that the Nazis didn't ...more
SueAnn Porter
Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm currently obsessed with this book. I read it in two days. I am now re-reading it and making notes of some of the language used--some of the sentences jump off the page.

By the cover, this book could be misjudged as 'just another Holocaust story'--but it's very different. I would love to see this book re-released with a different cover, as it would draw in more readers besides Holocaust historians. (I found this in the library with the other Holocaust books.)

Pierre Berg was not Jewish. He was
...more
Neeta
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another amazing biography about a French man who was 18-years-old when he was caught and put in concentration camps for 18 months. He was not Jewish and was put in the camp because of assisting others in hiding from the Germans. He was part of the large population of non-Jewish prisoners in the camps (Resistance workers, communists and other political prisoners, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, and gypsies), who went through the suffering of the Holocaust. His story is told in a matter-of-fact ...more
Mark Goodwin
While reading the first half of this book, I thought I would land up giving it a 4 Star rating but once in the second half, I was down to 3 Stars. Why you ask? Although I do believe he experienced somthing that no living creature should ever need to endure, I wondered how much in the second half was actually fact or dramatization to sell a book. For somebody who was nearly straved to death, he is (in my opinion) portrayed as a cross between Indiana Jones and James Bond. It seems hard to believe ...more
Cari
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best Holocaust books I have read. For me its a struggle to read about something so painful and horrific. Pierre Berg writes in such graphic detail that you travel back in time through his memory. This book will have you sitting on the edge of your seat with the horrific experiences people in concentration camps were faced with. Just when you possibly think something can't get any worse, Pierre Berg describes unspeakable stories after another through out the entire book.
Jodee
Aug 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in WWII history
Pierre Berg may have found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time in 1943 landing himself in Auschwitz as a resistance fighting teenager, but he most certainly found a good team member when he joined forces with Brian Brock. Scheisshaus Luck opens a door to a piece of history needing hearing by a strong voice needing to tell it and a team member willing to walk alongside to pull the story through. An excellent job. Highly recommended.
Siti Musliha
Sep 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
How do i even begin? Never thought i could hate a book but this one i had to give a review about. There are way too many miracles and well like he said "luck" that it make me think twice to believe the whole situation he went through. I thought the book will get better but it came to a point i close my ebook and deleted it off. Too draggy . And too much of " Indiana jones and james bond " drama going on.
Mary
May 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: everybody, after they read P. Levi & E. Wiesel
Recommended to Mary by: Goodreads
Very interesting, & hard to put down. However, it is NOT on a caliber with Elie Wiesel or Primo Levi. I had a hard time believing what a jack- of-all-trades this author claimed he was back in the 1940s when he was a mere teenager when this story takes place. After awhile it just seemed like Rambo, super human. I've never doubted previous Holocaust literature, but something about this one seemed too over the top & contrived, & I came away not trusting the author.
Sarah
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I started Mr. Berg's memoir in college but didn't get enough time to finish it. I'm very glad I decided to purchase and read the memoir completely after I graduated. I loved this memoir, it's unique and gives you a more detailed look into what happened in the camps during World War II. You feel the real rawness of the situation Pierre is in with his memoir, you get scared when he is, feel bold with him and feel the confusion of why all this was happening.
Amber
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How can I not respect the heck out of this guy for getting his story heard (and enduring what he did for 18 months)...and the co author for helping to get his story out. Every survivor story has my mouth gaping open and my heart breaking for the Terror they went through and the things they witnessed.
Nora
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This excellent personal account of a young man's experience during the holocaust is a must read for those following the literature. This is an excellent first person account of camp life and the grim marches after the allied invasion.
Lonni
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lonni by: HCLIB email book club
Quite a different twist on a Holocaust memoir - 18 year old French resistance fighter who gets caught by "bad luck" so luck becomes the theme - very readable - very different from a Jewish perspective!
Amy
Very unsentimental memoir of Pierre's 18 month experience in the Nazi death camps of WW2... talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time! Just when I was starting to think that a lot of these WW2 memoirs were sounding the same, this one comes along. Courageous & thought-provoking
Kris
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have read on surviving the Holocaust.
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In 1947, at my first job in California, a coworker inquired about the tattoo on my left arm.

"It was my license plate in a Nazi concentration camp. I lost half of my weight there. From 145 lbs to 72 lbs."

"We had a rough time, too, here in the U.S. She said. We had to eat chicken all the time."

Thinking that someday I might forget what I went through in those 18 months, I wrote down my odyssey. I wa
...more
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