A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy

Overview

The profoundly moving memoir of a young boy's odyssey through the Holocaust.

In a new edition of his bestselling memoir, Thomas Buergenthal tells of his astonishing experiences as a young boy. Buergenthal arrived at Auschwitz at age 10 after surviving two ghettos and one work camp. Separated from his mother and then his father, he managed by his wits and some remarkable strokes of luck to survive on his own. Almost two years after his liberation, Buergenthal was miraculously ...

See more details below
A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.74
BN.com price

Overview

The profoundly moving memoir of a young boy's odyssey through the Holocaust.

In a new edition of his bestselling memoir, Thomas Buergenthal tells of his astonishing experiences as a young boy. Buergenthal arrived at Auschwitz at age 10 after surviving two ghettos and one work camp. Separated from his mother and then his father, he managed by his wits and some remarkable strokes of luck to survive on his own. Almost two years after his liberation, Buergenthal was miraculously reunited with his mother and in 1951 arrived in the U.S. to start a new life.

Since the initial publication of this book, new documents have been made available, allowing Buergenthal to finally learn the details of his mother's search for him and the truth about his father. With a new afterword by the author sharing these revelations, A LUCKY CHILD is a classic that demands to be read by all.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In the plainest words and the steadiest tones (as an intimate would speak deadly truth in the dead of night), Thomas Buergenthal delivers to us the child he once was: an unblemished little boy made human prey by Europe's indelible twentieth-century barbarism, a criminality that will never leave off its telling. History and memory fail to ebb; rather, they accelerate and proliferate, and Buergenthal's voice is now more thunderous than ever. Pledged to universal human rights, he has turned a life of gratuitous deliverance into a work of visionary compassion."—Cynthia Ozick, author of Heir to the Glimmering World

"A Lucky Child is an extraordinary story, simply and beautifully told. Heartbreaking and thrilling, it examines what it means to be human, in every good and awful sense. Perhaps most amazingly of all, Thomas Buergenthal remembers and renders the small mysteries and grand passions of childhood, even a childhood lived under the most horrific circumstances."—Elizabeth McCracken, author of An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

"The unsentimental tone of Buergenthal's writing magnifies his deliberate decision not to make melodrama out of a story that is plenty dramatic enough. Like Primo Levi and Anne Frank, Buergenthal can only tell the story of one life, but through that life we are led to consider and honor all the lives of those who weren't so lucky."—Kate Braestrup, author of Here If You Need Me

"An extraordinary historical document and a humane statement of great moral depth."—Bernard Wasserstein, Harriet and Ulrich E. Meyer Professor of History, University of Chicago

"An extraordinary and inspiring book by an extraordinary and inspiring man. It's one of those rare books you devour cover to cover in a single reading. It deserves to be read very widely indeed, especially for anyone desperate for a hint of light in a world that can often seem so very dark."—Philippe Sands, author of Torture Team and Lawless World

"A remarkable, sometimes astonishing story of finding protection and kindness from unlikely sources, uncanny narrow escapes and a powerfully strong will to live."—Betty Gordon, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Buergenthal is an excellent and evocative storyteller. The fine writing and insights here make this book a powerful choice for teens looking for a mentor through emotional and political challenges of their own."—Francisca Goldsmith, School Library Journal

"You think you've heard it all....But this one is different. The clear, nonhectoring prose makes Buergenthal's personal story-and the enduring ethical questions it prompts-the stuff of a fast, gripping read."—Booklist

"Powerful....The author's story is astonishing and moving, and his capacity for forgiveness is remarkably heartening. An important new voice joins the chorus of survivors."—Kirkus Reviews

"In the darkness, the indomitable spirit of the child...[is] what makes this memoir so rewarding."—Genevieve Fox, Telegraph

Nora Krug
Buergenthal's…plainspoken autobiography demonstrates that it is still possible for a Holocaust memoir to astonish…Though [his] ultimate fate is known from the start…the book still manages to conjure up suspense as Buergenthal escapes one near-death moment after another.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Not many children who entered Auschwitz lived to tell the tale. The American judge at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, Czechoslovakia-born Buergenthal, is one of the few. A 10-year-old inmate in August 1944 at Birkenau, Buergenthal was one of the death camp's youngest prisoners. He miraculously survived, thanks, among others, to a friendly kapo who made him an errand boy. Buergenthal's authentic, moving tale reveals that his lifelong commitment to human rights sprang from the ashes of Auschwitz. 16 b&w photos, 1 map. (Apr. 20)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

As a boy at Auschwitz, Buergenthal apparently avoided its killing process because of administrative chaos but was separated from his parents. His story is especially interesting for its detail of his postwar experiences, reconnecting with prisoners who'd helped him, and living in an orphanage in Eastern Europe until his mother found him. Buergenthal regards the Holocaust as a moral compass for his life's path as a judge on the International Criminal Court in The Hague. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/09.]
—Frederic Krome

School Library Journal

Adult/High School

Buergenthal was elected American judge at the International Court of Justice, The Hague, in 2000. He is a survivor of Auschwitz, one in a succession of several labor, prison, and death camps where he spent his 10th and 11th years. An excellent and evocative storyteller, he finds that the distance of time allows him to ask questions about how his experiences in a Polish ghetto, the fact that he was able to stay with his father during his early concentration camp months, and his reunion with his mother after liberation and before his 13th birthday shaped him, and also helped him to survive in the worst Holocaust scenarios. Illustrating the vivid word images he creates with snapshots of his prewar and postwar life (the former saved by a neighbor in spite of her fears that the Nazis would discover her Jewish sympathy), this is a well-constructed, warm, insightful visit with the man. He knows that he was both lucky and well served by the plasticity of a youth that really had no "ordinary" contrast against which he might have turned and lost hope, will, and the strength to keep alive emotionally and physically. In addition to being an excellent curriculum-support text, the fine writing and insights here make this book a powerful choice for teens looking for a mentor through emotional and political challenges of their own.-Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia

Kirkus Reviews
A powerful Holocaust memoir from an International Court Judge in The Hague..First published in Germany in 2007, the book revisits Buergenthal's youth in the late 1930s when he and his parents were forced by the Nazis to leave their home in Lubochna, Czechoslovakia, where they owned a hotel. After a short period in the Polish ghetto in Kielce, they were transported to Auschwitz in August 1944. The author was five when he was first uprooted in 1939, and he attributes the family's early survival to his parents' cunning and sheer luck in the face of the "Nazi killing machine." Though his mother was stripped of her German citizenship because of her Jewish heritage, her ability to speak fluent German allowed her to pass through borders relatively obstacle-free. His father's knowledge of Polish, work in the ghetto Werkstatt (a workshop or small factory) and fair hair were also important factors in their avoidance of the SS. During the journey to Auschwitz, Buergenthal lost sight of his mother. At the camp, the boy witnessed horrendous violence, sickness and death, and survived by running errands for the Kapo who supervised the showers. Separated from his father—whom he never saw again—taken to the hospital camp and marked, he believed, for death, Buergenthal was befriended by a young Polish doctor who saved him. He endured the Auschwitz Death Transport to Sachsenhausen, where the Russians eventually liberated the survivors. Only 11 years old, he briefly joined a Polish scout company before being delivered to an orphanage in Otwock, Poland. A year and a half later his mother finally located him. The author's story is astonishing and moving, and his capacity for forgiveness is remarkablyheartening..An important new voice joins the chorus of survivors..Agent: Eva Koralnik/Liepman Agency.
The Oklahoman
"Reminiscent of Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel...Buergenthal [speaks] most eloquently for the millions of Holocaust victims who cannot."
The Free Lance-Star
"An incredible tale."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"A remarkable, sometimes astonishing story of finding protection and kindness from unlikely sources, uncanny narrow escapes and a powerfully strong will to live."
Booklist
"You think you've heard it all....But this one is different. The clear, nonhectoring prose makes Buergenthal's personal story-and the enduring ethical questions it prompts-the stuff of a fast, gripping read."
The Sydney Morning Herald
"A Lucky Child does not wallow in the horrors nor does it shirk the darkest events. It is a clear-headed account of Buergenthal's experiences and how they determined his life."
Elizabeth McCracken
"An extraordinary story, simply and beautifully told. Heartbreaking and thrilling, it examines what it means to be human, in every good and awful sense. Thomas Buergenthal remembers and renders the small mysteries and grand passions of childhood, even a childhood lived under the most horrific circumstances."
Kate Braestrup
"The unsentimental tone of Buergenthal's writing magnifies his deliberate decision not to make melodrama out of a story that is plenty dramatic enough. Like Primo Levi and Anne Frank, Buergenthal can only tell the story of one life, but through that life we are led to consider and honor all the lives of those who weren't so lucky."
Cynthia Ozick
"In the plainest words and the steadiest tones, Thomas Buergenthal delivers to us the child he once was. History and memory fail to ebb; rather, they accelerate and proliferate, and Buergenthal's voice is now more thunderous than ever. A work of visionary compassion."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316339186
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 4/7/2015
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 374,546
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Considered one of the world's leading international human rights law experts, Thomas Buergenthal served as a judge at the International Court of Justice and prior thereto as judge and president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He is the Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law & Jurisprudence at the George Washington University Law School, and the recipient of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's 2015 Elie Wiesel Award.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

One day my mother came home in a very excited state. She told my father that she and a girlfriend had gone to a famous fortune-teller. Before going in, Mutti had taken off her wedding ring, and because she looked much younger than her age, she was very surprised when the fortune-teller, after studying her cards, proclaimed that my mother was married and had one child. In addition to knowing a great deal about our family background, the fortune-teller told my mother that her son was "ein Glückskind" - a lucky child - and that he would emerge unscathed from the future that awaited us.

-from the book
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Foreword Elie Wiesel xi

Preface xv

Chapter 1 From Lubochna to Poland 3

Chapter 2 Katowice 26

Chapter 3 The Ghetto of Kielce 38

Chapter 4 Auschwitz 64

Chapter 5 The Auschwitz Death Transport 87

Chapter 6 Liberation 98

Chapter 7 Into the Polish Army 115

Chapter 8 Waiting to Be Found 131

Chapter 9 A New Beginning 150

Chapter 10 Life in Germany 161

Chapter 11 To America 193

Epilogue 207

Acknowledgments 227

Reading Group Guide 231

Read More Show Less

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)