Luann's Reviews > Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps

Surviving Hitler by Andrea Warren
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's review
Mar 13, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: sibert-honor, holocaust, young-adult, nonfiction, war, biography, 2010
Read on March 16, 2010

There's always room for another book telling the story of a Holocaust survivor. This is a particularly nice one for young adults. It isn't too long or graphic, but still doesn't pull punches in sharing the experiences of 15-year-old Jack Mandelbaum.

Jack survived his time in concentrations camps for several reasons. He made good friends who gave him good advice and who helped him to laugh and keep his optimism going through his darkest days and moods of despair. His family was also a huge factor. He had a burning desire to survive so that he could be reunited with his family. He also made several key decisions. He decided, based on advice from a friend, that he would not take what was happening to him personally. He would treat it like a game in which he would outlast the Nazis. Also, he would not complain, but would act respectful, be likable and cooperative, and as good of a worker as he could. He chose not to hate the kapos, the guards, or the officers. He felt that the negative emotion of hate would consume energy that he needed for survival. He said, "In spite of all the terrible things that happened to me, I did not allow Hitler to make me feel less than human. I had been raised well and I knew who I was. My strategy was not to allow myself to hate. I knew I could be consumed by hate."

After all of that, with good decisions and some luck, Jack survived the concentration camps. The sad part is that of the 80 people in Jack's extended family, only five survived. None of his immediate family survived.

Because of the way Jack chose to live during his concentration camp experiences, he has some very wise advice for the rest of us. He says:
One thing people wonder is why the Jews did not defend themselves, why we were like lambs led to the slaughter. In truth, many Jews fought back bravely. But the Holocaust was so well planned that we were overwhelmed. It started with little acts of racism and discrimination and eventually led to the murder of millions of innocents. We thought the European people would rise up out of basic decency and defend us. Some tried, but not enough. We must never think the Holocaust cannot happen again.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan He sounds extraordinary. I've seen this and considered putting it on my list. Now, onto my list it goes.

Luann Good! It's a quick read, and a Sibert Honor winner. I highly recommend it.

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