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The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz: A True Story of Family and Survival

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  6,921 ratings  ·  862 reviews
The #1 Sunday Times bestseller—a remarkable story of the heroic and unbreakable bond between a father and son that is as inspirational as The Tattooist of Auschwitz and as mesmerizing as The Choice.

Where there is family, there is hope

In 1939, Gustav Kleinmann, a Jewish upholster from Vienna, and his sixteen-year-old son Fritz are arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Germany
Paperback, 464 pages
Published May 26th 2020 by Harper Paperbacks (first published July 2018)
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Average rating 4.49  · 
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 ·  6,921 ratings  ·  862 reviews

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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Followed His Father Into Auschwitz reads like fiction, but it’s based on meticulous research, including interviews with the family. This book is brilliant, all heart, and an absolute must-read if you are drawn to Holocaust and World War II fiction, so we never forget the despicable transgressions to humanity.

Gustav and his son Fritz are sent to Buchenwald together. It’s then determined that Gustav should be sent to Auschwitz, and Fritz will not let him go alone. The Nazis allow him t
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3 stars.

Based on the secret diary of Gustav Klienmann, this novel shares the detailed story of Gustav and his sixteen-year-old son Fritz’s devastating and horrific six year journey from the Buchenwald concentration camp to Auschwitz. Gustav and Fritz face the endless unfathomable Nazi brutality yet together they remain hopeful for survival and for reaching a better future.

This is an excellent book if you are looking for a historically factual and detailed account of this time in history. For me,
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
One glance at the title of Jeremy Dronfield’s The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz will have you shaking your head in sheer disbelief. A place of certain and horrific death, why anyone would willingly choose this path of fate is unfathomable. But it did happen, to Austrian Jews Gustav Kleinmann and his faithful son, Fritz. The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz is an almost unbelievable account at times of one of the worst years in our hist
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read several books about the Holocaust but this one will stay with me for a long while. It has been the most graphic book that I have read about the atrocities that happened in the hands of the Nazi’s and the concentration camps.
It’s 1939 Gustav Kleinmann a furniture upholsterer and son Fritz Kleinmann are sent to Buchenwald in Germany were a new concentration camp is being built. Fritz is put to work building the camp. By learning construction skills, it stops him being exterminated from
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz by Jeremy Dronfield is the true story of the atrocities in the concentration camp during the Second World War.
Gustav and his son Fritz are arrested and sent to a Buchenwald concentration camp.
Father and son are put to work and are treated cruelly. When Gustav is to be transferred to Auschwitz his son goes with his father even though he has heard that no one survives there.
This is the story of the bond between father and son and the determination to
Amanda Hupe
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Harper Perennial For the opportunity to read this book!

The Boy Who Followed His Father To Auschwitz by Jeremy Dronfield is such a powerful read. This account is by Gustav Kleinmann and his family. They are Jews that live in Vienna. Gustav is married to Tini and they have 4 children: Edith, Herta, Fritz, and Kurt. The world is changing but they could never guess how much. In 1939, Gustav and his son Fritz are arrested and imprisoned. Edith manages to get a work visa and goes to England.
I have always been interested in books on the Holocaust and as soon as I read the blurb for this one I was desperate to read it.

This is another book though that I am going to be in the minority with. Yes it is a harrowing tale but for me it lacked depth and emotion. I didn't feel any of the horrors that were happening to people or the atrocities that were going on in the camp. It was all to much matter of fact rather than really getting into Gustav and Fritz's minds.

There is certainly a lot of
Roman Clodia
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The boy is my greatest joy,' Gustave wrote in his secret diary in Buchenwald. 'We strengthen each other. We are one.'

So, in 2018, do we really need another book about the Holocaust? In the case of this one I think we do. In the face of many memoirs, fictions, academic and journalistic studies, what Dronfield brings to this story is the sense of the local and particular as he follows a single family of Viennese Jews.

From the Anschluss to the end of the war, this is an unashamedly emotive an
Rita Costa (Lusitania Geek)
Today it’s the 75th anniversary that the gates of Auschwitz are open and I finish this book with deep thoughts and try to imagine the cruelty and what human beings can do to each other’s in this particular environment in their very worst and best. It’s a hard chapter of human race to remember the atrocities but also a life lesson.

This is a book about a boy who followed his dad to Auschwitz concentration camp, even when he heard about the existence of gas chambers, slavery, hunger and diseases t
The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
This review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...

It feels wrong to write that I enjoyed The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz. Enjoyed isn’t the right word. Honestly, how can you enjoy something that is based on something so horrific? It feels disrespectful, like belittling history and making light of the persecution of the Jewish people and the atrocities that were committed in WWII. Instead, it is best to say that this book is an
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star
A beautifully devastating and moving account from a Jewish family in nazi occupied territory during the war. Like Anne Franks diary, notes were kept throughout the war describing the atrocities committed against prisoners within the many concentration camps positioned throughout Europe.

This was an incredibly detailed and well researched book; much of it is taken from eyewitness accounts of experiences in the camps. The resilience of the prisoners is astounding and heartbreaking at the same time.
*thank you to Netgalley, Jeremy Dronfield and Penguin UK for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

3 stars.

Auschwitz stories are all such powerfully emotional stories that are sure to leave an imprint on your heart. This was no exception but I did feel that I didn't quite feel as connected with this story as I have with other War and Auschwitz stories. I'm not sure why exactly so I'm unable to explain it. I felt it was quite well written and it is one I'm glad I had been given the
Donna Hines
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jewish upholster Gustav and his son Fritz are taken by the Nazi's in 1939 in Vienna to a new concentration camp in Germany.
The six year odyssey would not be complete without the bond between the two which ultimately kept them alive in such harsh surroundings.
They were inseparable no matter what they had to face.
The courage and will to survive is a force to be reckoned with and embraced here.
This will bring tears to your eyes as it's straight from the heart and emotionally riveting.

Adele Shea
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply heartbreaking.
No matter how many books I have read about the atrocities of Auschwitz, I still find it hard to comprehend what people had to deal with.
This book is a book that must be read.
While I have a deep love of history, I have a special interest in World War II. That is perhaps understandable given that my father served in the Pacific during the entire course of the war along with his two brothers and my mother’s four brothers. Unfortunately, surveys increasingly show that knowledge of the war is fading, including knowledge of the Holocaust. A survey by Pew Research found that fewer than half of Americans (45%) know that approximately 6 million Jews were killed in the Holoca ...more
Kirsti Ferguson (MrsFegFiction)
This book was different to anything i have ever read.
It follows the lives of the Kleinmann family through what is one of the worst times in our history. I was particularly drawn to the book because i have some Jewish family background and i wanted to try to understand more about this time period. The book explores so many different emotions; it's a story of struggle, determination and a family's bond, but it is also one of pain, trauma and devastation. I love how the writer seamlessly inserts q
Julie Lacey
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a true story about the atrocities that took place during the Second World War.
Gustav and his family live in Austria but soon the Nazis have taken over and are taking everything away from those that are Jewish.
Gustav and his son Fritz are soon sent to work at Buchenwald concentration camp.
Father and son are put to work and their lives will never be the same again. They try and stick together but as they both have different skills, it isn’t always possible.
We also find out what happened
catherine ♡
Oct 03, 2020 rated it liked it
I felt like there was a lot that could have been explored here and a lot that I could have loved — WWII is one of my favorite time periods to learn about —but ultimately this book was hard to connect with.

The story itself is incredible and the second half even more so, but I think my main issue with the book was that I went into it expecting a fictionalized account of what happened from the main characters' perspectives. Instead, it read a lot like a mix between a history textbook with some ane
Karen Whittard
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always wonder how you are meant to show how much you loved the book when it is about such horrific, heartbreaking, real life events. The hollocast was a truely, truely, horrific event and I always wonder how people were brave enough to live thou it and how anyone could want to do this horrific event to anyone of our human race is beyond my capabilities of understand. I’m just in awe of people who had to suffer this horrific event, those who did things about it and those that have the courage a ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The boy who followed his father to Auschwitz will stay with me forever. It is utterly incomprehensible to fully understand the horrendous experiences the Jewish refugees suffered at the hands of other human beings. The authors account is so remarkable that when I put the book down between chapters I had a deep sense of gut wrenching dread that I wanted so desperately to find out their outcome.. At times I found it hard to read on and absorb the accounts of what happened to a father and son.. a s ...more
Rebecca Hill
This book is one that will make you cry, it will make you think, and it will make you cringe.

I loved this book! It was one of those thought inspiring books that really brings the horrors of the holocaust from one families perspective. The resilience and survival was amazing. The many different ways that they survive and learn to navigate the system that Germany had put into effect shows the determination that they had to survive and share their story.
Marti M
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
Big thank you to Harper for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book comes out May 12.


This is the nonfiction story of the Kleinmann family, mostly centered around father Gustav and oldest son Fritz, in 1939 German occupied Austria. The two are forced to go to Buchenwald concentration camp, and eventually Gustav is sentenced to go to Auschwitz. Knowing it’s reputation as a death camp, Fritz is unable to let his father go alone and instead chooses to go with hi
I am finding it very hard to describe what i have just read so please bare with me.
I have been on an incredible journey. I have travelled from Buchenwald to Auschwitz and beyond. This is story of fiction but is written by a survivor of this period of our history. It is based on the seven year period of WW2. The horrors, cruelty and deprivation that a father and his son endure had me more than emotional. A story of love and perseverance when this period in history just wanted to eradicate them.
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gave me all the emotions. Like omg. This book inspired me, and it makes me even more thankful and grateful for the life I am currently living and that I shouldn't take it for granted.

I would have given this book a 5 stars but while reading it there was some bits where I was confused and was going to DNF it but honestly, I an glad I didnt.

It also made me realise that prior to reading the book I never actually knew that that is what happened and that is how they survived the holocaust
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well written book about a dark time in history. Written like a novel but all of it is real,a page turner for sure.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible story about humanity, bravery, strength, family, and the ability to have hope when all the lights have gone out.

This story follows the lives of just one Jewish family who were persecuted by Nazi Germany simply for existing. The Kleinemann's story is told in this beautifully written novel by Jeremy Dronfield, with assistance from Gustav Kleinemann's secret diary and an incredible amount of research.

This is one of those books that I feel I don't even need to say much; the bo
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a book leaves a mark on your soul and makes you better for having read it. This is one of those books. Gustav Kleinmann and his son, Fritz, were separately arrested on Kristallnacht in Vienna. Shortly after, they are reunited in Buchenwald, where their six years of hellish imprisonment begins. The only good thing about their experience in Buchenwald, is that it toughened them up and prepared them for their stay in Auschwitz. It is only through sheer grit and determination, their love f ...more
Vicki VandenBrink
Oct 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Because of the constant interference of factual information, I struggled to connect to the emotional story. I enjoyed the book, but I wanted to be touched and moved. Instead I feel educated...Good, but not what I'd hoped for. ...more
Jo ReadsRomance
"I want to be with my papa, no matter what happens. I can't go on living without him."

After recently reading "The Tattooist of Auschwitz" I have become interested in the powerful stories of survival during World War Two, so when I saw this book, I instantly wanted to read it. "The Boy Who Followed His Father Into Auschwitz" was an incredible true story of strength, sacrifice and courage. A tale that was both heartbreaking and difficult to comprehend. I spent the majority of this book in absolute
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz
by Jeremy Dronfield

Where there is family, there is hope . . .

Vienna, 1939.

Nazi police seize Gustav Kleinmann, a Jewish upholsterer and his son, Fritz, and send the pair to Buchenwald in Germany. There began an unimaginable ordeal that saw the pair beaten, starved and forced to build the very concentration camp they were held in.

When Gustav was set to be transferred to Auschwitz, a certain death sentence, his son refused to leave his side. Throughout
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“Gustav was thankful for the consolation of having Fritz by his side through these hours.” 0 likes
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