From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival

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Overview

When the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Thomas Toivi Blatt was twelve years old. He and his family lived in the largely Jewish town of Izbica in the Lublin district of Poland - a district that was to become the site of three of the six major Nazi extermination camps: Belzec, Sobibor, and Majdanek. Blatt's account of his childhood in Izbica provides a fascinating glimpse of Jewish life in Poland after the German invasion and during the periods of mass deportations of Jews to the camps. Blatt tells of...
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Overview

When the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Thomas Toivi Blatt was twelve years old. He and his family lived in the largely Jewish town of Izbica in the Lublin district of Poland - a district that was to become the site of three of the six major Nazi extermination camps: Belzec, Sobibor, and Majdanek. Blatt's account of his childhood in Izbica provides a fascinating glimpse of Jewish life in Poland after the German invasion and during the periods of mass deportations of Jews to the camps. Blatt tells of the chilling events that led to his deportation to Sobibor, of his separation from his family, and of the six months he spent at Sobibor before taking part in the most successful uprising and mass breakout in any Nazi camp during World War II. Blatt's tale of escape, and of the five horrifying years spent eluding both the Nazis and later anti-Semitic Polish nationalists, is a firsthand account of one of the most terrifying and savage events of human history. From the Ashes of Sobibor also includes a moving interview with Karl Frenzel, a Nazi commandant from Sobibor.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1958, when Blatt emigrated to Israel, he sent the story of his incarceration and escape from Sobibor to a notable Auschwitz survivor. The names Auschwitz, Treblinka and Dachau had by then become symbols of the horrors of the Holocaust. But the concentration camp at Sobibor was another site where thousands of Jews had been killed, so Blatt must have been horrified when this survivor wrote in response to his manuscript, "`You have a tremendous imagination. I've never heard of Sobibor and especially not of Jews revolting there.'" Forty years later Sobibor's existence is no longer in question. But even today it is a camp shrouded in mystery, in large part, as Blatt points out, because "very little official documentation" survives of Sobibor's existence or operationthis memoir is one of the few eyewitness accounts. Through first-person narrative and reconstructed dialogue, Blatt describes with chilling objectivity the German occupation of his hometown of Izbica, Poland; early Nazi roundups; the transportation of Jews to Sobibor; his own internment there; the inmate revolt that followed on the footsteps of Nazi defeats by the Russians; and finally his flight to and from his hometown. Although parts of this story were printed elsewhere and have been incorporated into Richard Rashke's Escape from Sobibor as well as a 1987 CBS documentary of the same name, this is Blatt's first full-length account and the result of 40 years of work. Blatt's story is a powerfully written memorial to Sobibor's victims. (July)
Library Journal
Among the most common questions asked of Holocaust survivors are why the Jews didn't fight back: Why, it is wondered, did they let their families go to their deaths so easily? The recollections of Blatt, a survivor of the extermination camp Sobibor, in Poland, where Jews staged a successful revolt, addresses these questions in a frank and gripping narrative. Blatt's account demonstrates how the Germans kept Jews in Poland subjugated through random terror combined with promises that the status quo would be maintained if the Jews cooperated. By the time Blatt reached Sobibor with his family, it was too late for resistance. Perhaps the most frightening, and dispiriting, part of Blatt's account is how Christian Poles at times robbed, terrorized, or even murdered Jewish fugitives, such as the Sobibor escapees. A chilling narrative; highly recommended for Judaica collections and Holocaust specialists as well as general readers.Frederic Krome, Northern Kentucky Univ., Highland Heights
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810113022
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Series: Jewish Lives Series
  • Pages: 225
  • Sales rank: 616,869
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    By far the BEST holocaust survivor book I have read-and I have read A LOT!!!

    I could not put this book down, It completely grabed me and I felt like I was right there with Toivi. All I read is Holocaust survivor books and this is by far the best. I finished the book almost two months ago and it is still with me, haunting me. I rarely read books twice but this one I will read 100 times!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2009

    Something everyone should read

    I read this book as an undergrad at Pacific Lutheran University for a holocaust course. I finished it within a couple of days because I couldn't put it down. It was an emotional rollercoaster that everyone should read to fully grasp what life was like for those targeted by the Nazis. I was also fortunate enough to meet Mr. Blatt when he came to speak to our class about the book and his experiences.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2002

    One of the best Holocaust books

    I had watched a movie about the Sobibor revolt on the History Channel. That same week I had to pick a book to read for a book report in my Stuggle for Human Rights class so I chose this book. It was an amazing book and the best book on the Holocaust I have ever read. It gives a good account of life before, during, and after the WWII. It also proves that the Jews did not go like sheeps to slaughter. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn or just read aboout the Holocaust.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2000

    Remarkable

    I attened two different speeches that Mr. Blatt gave about Sobibor. He is a incredible man and I would reccomend buying this book!! It gives you a first hand look at what the jews went through in WWII.

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