A Brush with Death: An Artist in the Death Camps

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Recounts the author’s experiences during the Holocaust, from the time of the Nazi invasion of Poland to the liberation of the Theresienstadt concentration camp by the Red Army in 1945.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The book effectively combines the narrating of a personal memory which is at the same time a part of collective memory. There are particularly vivid descriptions, and an attention to detail when conveying certain events. Clear and effective, the book is at several moments exceptionally powerful. Because of the author’s work as an artist, he recollects unusual events or perspectives, and also includes powerful illustrations.” — Sara Horowitz, author of Voicing the Void: Muteness and Memory in Holocaust Fiction
Now a graphic designer in New York City, Wyszogrod recounts his experiences from the time of the Nazi invasion of Poland to the liberation of the camp he was in by the Red Army in May 1945. Among his stories are life in the Warsaw ghetto, the various art jobs he did for the Germans, digging up mass graves to burn the evidence of war crimes, and the firebombing of Dresden. He includes a few line drawings from the period. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Morris Wyszogrod is a graphic designer, living in New York City.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2000

    Sensitivity and Brutality Combine For a Chilling Remembrance

    This review is hardly unbiased. The author, Morris Wyszogrod, a commerical artist by trade is my cousin, and quite truly, a hero of mine. Whenever I visit my Cousin Morris' apartment, I am greeted as soon as I step off the elevator with genuine warmth and enthusiasm. His smile, unbreaking, and his conversation, always scintilating, I am amazed at his sincerity and good nature despite what he has witnessed and experienced as a Holocaust survivor. His warmth and love for his fellow man is evident throughout his memoir. Morris provides a vivid look at pre-war Poland and the lives that were stolen from our families. And similar to the warmth and caring with which he greets his guests today, he treats each character in his memoir with similar respect and reverence. His memory is outstanding as he remembers the many personalities and every day people of his Warsaw youth, and later in the death camps. His descriptions are detailed and he succeeds in bringing out the special qualities of each character. This is so important because more often than not, the people he describes with such affection will soon be dead at the hands of the Nazis. Much of Holocaust literature refers to the millions who were massacred. Morris didn't know the millions, but he pays beautiful homage to the hundreds with whom he shared a piece of life. From homage to carnage, Morris' story takes us into the Nazi occupation and his incarceration in several death camps. Similar to his skills in painting a picture of his pre-war youth, he is equally and shockingly vivid in his memories of the death camps. Certainly the raw material for his story is there and he presents the brutality, anguish and sheer inhumanity as only a man of his artistic talents is capable of doing. And in the midst of the brutality, there are the friendships, the shared moments, and the appreciation for his fellow prisoners that are necessary for the reader to grasp onto so that he or she may continue with the chilling chronicle of Morris' survival. A Brush With Death has warmth, beauty and brutality. It is one of the many stories of the Holocaust experience, and one which I am confident will provide a unique perspective ot the most horrific period in recorded history.

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