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How do you survive when you’re 11 years old and all your family have been taken from you and killed? How do you continue to live, when everything around you is designed to ensure certain death? Arek Hersh tells his story simply and honestly, a moving account of a little boy who made his own luck and survived. He takes us into the tragic world imposed on him that robbed him of his childhood. The depth of the tragedy, strength of courage and power of survival will move you and inspire you. Contrary to assertions that the Holocaust years were a mere ‘detail of history’, Arek Hersh gives us a glimpse into the greatest catastrophe that man has ever inflicted on his fellow man.
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Born in Sieradz in Poland in 1928, Arek was the fourth of five children. His family were Orthodox Jews. At the age of ten, he was sent by the Germans to Otoschno labour camp, where he was forced to work on the Warsaw-to-Berlin railway for two years. Of the 2,500 Jews in the labour camp, only 11 survived. When Arek was 12, he was reunited with his family in Sieradz, but after just two weeks, he was transported to the Lodz ghetto. He never saw the rest of his family again. He found himself in an orphanage in Lodz and was given a job in the textile mill. In June 1944 the Germans started to liquidate the ghetto and soon orders came through for the orphanage to be closed. All the children were to be “resettled”. On 25 August, about 185 of them assembled outside the orphanage. They were put onto a truck and transported in cattle wagons to Birkenau-Auschwitz. On arrival, when the selection took place, Arek realised that the Nazis were separating people into two rows. Although ordered to go to the left, he managed to cross to the right when the guards’ attention was distracted. Arek had just saved himself from certain death in the gas chambers. Of the 185 orphans, only Arek and two others survived the day. In January 1945 Arek was among the thousands of men and women from Auschwitz forced onto a death march towards Germany. They marched for days to the large town of Katowice, where they were put into goods wagons. The journey in those wagons lasted for several days without food. They eventually arrived at Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. Arek managed to survive in the most appalling conditions until, in April 1945, the Germans decided to evacuate the camp. The 4,500 inmates were on the march again towards the city of Weimar, where they were loaded onto open wagons. After three and a half weeks on the train, mostly without food, they arrived in Czechoslovakia. On 4 May 1945, 600 of the original 4,500 men from Buchenwald arrived at Roundnice. The train was finally taken to the Theresienstadt ghetto, where, four days later, on 8 May, they were liberated by the Russian army. Arek had survived, but virtually all his family had been murdered. His only surviving relative was Mania, his eldest sister, whom he found in 1947. After liberation, Arek was transported to England with 300 other children. Today, Arek lives in Leeds, England. He is married and has three daughters and seven grandchildren. His years since the Holocaust have been quiet and happy.
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Book Description Apostrophe Books Ltd, 2015. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1910167770
Book Description Apostrophe Books Ltd. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 174 pages. 9.00x6.00x0.40 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # zk1910167770