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Prisoner B-3087

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Overview


Survive. At any cost.

10 concentration camps.

10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.

It's something no one could imagine surviving.

But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.

As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. ...

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Overview


Survive. At any cost.

10 concentration camps.

10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.

It's something no one could imagine surviving.

But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.

As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner -- his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087.

He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later.

Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will -- and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?

Based on an astonishing true story.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Nazis killed more than one million Jewish children and teenagers; Jack (Yanek) Gruener, who was 10 when Krakow, Poland, fell, was a rare survivor. “Survive,” however, hardly seems adequate to describe what unfolds in these pages. Having lost his parents and close relatives just as he entered adolescence (Yanek has a secret bar mitzvah in a basement of the Krakow ghetto), the boy is totally alone as his life becomes a roll-call of nightmares: Trzebinia, Bir-kenau (where his arm is tattooed with the number in the book’s title), Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Gross-Rosen. Yanek is finally liberated at age 16, when American soldiers arrive at Dachau. Gratz (Fantasy Baseball) has fictionalized some aspects of Gruener’s life to “paint a fuller and more representative picture of the Holocaust as a whole,” and this determination to be exhaustively inclusive, along with lapses into History Channel–like prose, threatens to overwhelm the story. But more often, Gratz ably conveys Yanek’s incredulity (“Not long ago, all these half-dead creatures around me had been people”), fatalism, yearning, and determination in the face of the unimaginable. Ages 10–14. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
Yanek Gruener was only ten years old when the Germans invaded his native land of Poland. Swiftly the German troops conquered Yanek's nation and occupied Krakow, where he and his family lived. As a Jew, Yanek was immediately subjected to the terrible hatred the Nazis had for him and all other members of his faith. But, even as the Germans inflicted indignities and brutality upon Yanek, his family, and all the Jews of Poland he could hardly imagine just how deep Nazi hatred of European Jews ran. In short order Yanek lost nearly his entire family and found himself in a concentration camp with his last remaining relative, Uncle Moshe. Over the course of six years Yanek was to travel from one camp to another, each more brutal than the last. During his journey of suffering Yanek became completely isolated in his hopelessness but somehow persisted in living. In the end, it was an inner spark of resilience linked to fate that allowed Yanek Gruener to survive his dreadful ordeal and eventually come to the United States to make a life. Here, in Prisoner B-3087, Alan Gratz and Jacob Gruener tell the story of this ordeal and eventual redemption. While there are many Holocaust books this particular addition to this vast library of suffering and hope is particularly effective. One can hardly imagine anyone surviving the manifold horrors that Yanek Gruener faced let alone his living to see his complex story told in print. By reading books such as Prisoner B-3087 we come away changed by the paired knowledge of the depths of evil that people are capable of alongside our innate ability to live via hope. This is a fine book told with elegance and realism. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
VOYA - Susan Redman-Parodi
Based on a true story, (now) Jack Gruener—Polish name Yanek Gruener—was a ten-year-old Jewish boy when World War II broke out. Jewish citizens in Poland were brutally forced out of their homes and either killed or required to work in labor camps run by the Nazis. Wrenched from his family, Yanek is moved to more than ten concentration camps in the years of the war and made to endure unspeakable tortures, including starvation, beatings, and being worked mercilessly in deplorable conditions, always with the threat of imminent death. With a will to survive despite the terror he faced, he lived through one of history's most devastating atrocities to tell his story. Prisoner B-3087, Yanek Gruener, tattooed by the Nazis and counted as their inventory, will be forever marked by these events with the crude tattoo on his forearm; however, his determination made no offering to the Nazis who bargained for his life and soul. Heartbreaking, gripping, raw, and emotional, the story will draw readers into the plot and have them invested in the history of what so many were robbed of the chance to tell. Storytelling at its finest, Prisoner B-3087 is an excellent choice for a companion in teaching the Holocaust and as a resource to aid understanding of the unimaginable plight of the Jewish under the Nazi regime. This selection will bring about awareness and spark discussion in classrooms where a textbook history lesson may leave the learner devoid of the impact that a "based on a true story" historical fiction account will leave. Ruth and Jack Gruener travel the country to speak about their experiences with the Holocaust, and this book is both a testament and an account that will have far-reaching significance and should not be missed. Reviewer: Susan Redman-Parodi
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—"If I had known what the next six years of my life were going to be like, I would have eaten more. I wouldn't have complained about brushing my teeth, or taking a bath, or going to bed at eight o'clock every night." Yanek Gruener was 10 years old when the German army invaded Poland in 1939 and trapped his family inside the walls of the Jewish ghetto in Krakow. Over the course of World War II, he saw his parents deported by the Nazis and survived 10 different concentration camps. Through Gratz's spare, persistent prose, the story of the boy's early life unfolds with the urgency and directness necessary for survivor stories. While some liberties have been taken, with the permission of Gruener and his wife, Ruth, also a survivor, the experiences and images come directly from the Grueners' collective memories of the war. An author's note provides further biographical information. A powerful story, well told.—Sara Saxton, Tuzzy Consortium Library, Barrow, AK
Kirkus Reviews
If Anne Frank had been a boy, this is the story her male counterpart might have told. At least, the very beginning of this historical novel reads as such. It is 1939 and Yanek Gruener is a 10-year old Jew in Kraków when the Nazis invade Poland. His family is forced to live with multiple other families in a tiny apartment as his beloved neighborhood of Podgórze changes from haven to ghetto in a matter of weeks. Readers will be quickly drawn into this first-person account of dwindling freedoms, daily humiliations and heart-wrenching separations from loved ones. Yet as the story darkens, it begs the age-old question of when and how to introduce children to the extremes of human brutality. Based on the true story of the life of Jack Gruener, who remarkably survived not just one, but 10 different concentration camps, this is an extraordinary, memorable and hopeful saga told in unflinching prose. While Gratz's words and early images are geared for young people, and are less gory than some accounts, Yanek's later experiences bear a closer resemblance to Elie Wiesel's Night than more middle-grade offerings, such as Lois Lowry's Number the Stars. It may well support classroom work with adult review first. A bone-chilling tale not to be ignored by the universe. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545459013
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 23,186
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author


Alan Gratz is the author of a number of books, including SAMURAI SHORTSTOP, which was named one of the ALA's 2007 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults, and THE BROOKLYN NINE, which was among Booklist's Top Ten Sports Books and Top Ten Historical Books for Youth in 2010. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Alan is now a full-time writer living in western North Carolina with his wife and daughter. Look for him online at www.alangratz.com.

Ruth Gruener was born Aurelia Gamser in 1930s Poland. Ruth and her parents survived the Holocaust by hiding in the homes of gentile families. After World War II was over, Ruth and her family moved to the United States, where Ruth tried to start an ordinary teenage life in Brooklyn. Ruth is married to Jack Gruener, another Holocaust survivor, and they have two children and four grandchildren. Ruth and Jack live in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, and Ruth works as a docent at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in downtown Manhattan. She and Jack travel all over the country to speak to schools about their experiences in the Holocaust

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    Prisoner B-3087

    I love learning about World War II, and this book was just the right one for me. It described all of the terrible things that the Nazis tortured the Jews with. I couldn't believe how badly they treated their own kind... like animals. Reading this book made me so grateful for what I have--especially my family. This book is about a teenage boy who's whole family gets transported away from the village and killed. He never sees any of them again. In this astonishingly true story, you will read about something you never would've thought happened only a few years ago.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    AMAZING!

    This a great book for all ages. I just read it now and i loved it. F you want to learn about what it was like in a concentration camp or are looking for a good book to read this is the book for YOU! Worth reading.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good for middle grade

    This was a very interesting story it is fiction but the author says at the end that it was inspired by the true events of one man’s life. I chose this book because of the description saying he had survived 10 different concentration camps which fascinated me; however there were times when the descriptions of these different camps left a lot to be desired the first camp we got more of a feel of what he went through. Then the salt mines was only 7 pages long and it never really says just how long he was there, it felt like this section was only there to tell you what happens to Judenrats. In Birkenau when Yanek is taken straight to the showers but only water comes out because the Nazi’s like playing games, I’m just not sure if this is something that really happened often? Also he says that he was in Birkenau for a couple months but this section is only about 20 pages. In Auschwitz when he is getting into the train station and sees the new prisoners still in their own clothes and carrying luggage, still believing that everything will be ok, this was a powerful visual of the prisoners who were dirty and skeletal and these new people thinking that would never be them. Once he is leaving Auschwitz to walk to the next camp, they are hearing more allied troops getting closer hoping they will come rescue you but seeing things just get worse and worse. Yanek was told by his Uncle Mosche to be invisible and to not show caring for anyone lest it be used against you Yanek held that belief throughout all the camps only going against it a couple times and it seemed that every time he went against it something awful happened. I also can’t help but wonder how those words followed him throughout his life after surviving the camps. I think this would have been an even more compelling book if the author had gone into more detail of each camp, as it is, it is one story from each camp, like that is the only thing that happened the whole time he was there. But I did learn new things I never realized they moved prisoners so often (or at least this book makes it seem like they do). Also this is a book for young people so maybe the shorter stories are better but I still wish there had been a little more to it. In the afterward we find out that Yanek now Jack survived, went to America and was drafted into the Korean War all I could think was wow hasn’t he been through enough you’d think he’d be exempt! Luckily he survived another war and went on to be married and have children and grandchildren and he and his wife speak about their experiences in the Holocaust , I will be doing some more research to find out more about Yanak/Jack. Recommend for middle grade readers. 3 ½ stars Full disclosure I received this book from netgalley and the publisher for a fair and honest review.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2014

    Prisoner

    This is a great book. And to think that it is a true storyis unbeleivable. The graphics you get in your head are unbeleivable. You can imagine being there with him. This is a wonderful book that inspires you and others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

    Yes.

    Greatest book I've ever read!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2014

    Great!

    When I read this, I truly fell in love with it! It was such a good book, and so interesting, oh my gosh! 5 stars from me, that's for sure!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Awesome

    A great story for all ages. Lots of action

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Nazi atrocities towards anyone they believed to be their inf

    The Nazi atrocities towards anyone they believed to be their inferiors is something that students must continue to learn and study if we hope to avoid something similar in the future. Yet, it is such a tricky subject to approach when children are younger. The need to protect a child’s innocence wars with the need to inform. Often this can result in a story that only hints at what happened, forcing children to infer the truth, if possible, or leaving the tougher questions for their teachers and parents to answer. Alan Gratz’s Prisoner B-3087 is one of the few novels that fully informs but does so without scarring or scaring its young readers.




    Geared towards children through grade nine, Prisoner B-3087 is written in such a way that readers of all ages can appreciate Yanek’s story and learn varying lessons from it. For those older readers, including adults, the full horrors of Yanek’s experiences are difficult to believe and to stomach. Yet, for younger readers, they will be able to gloss over the more morbid details and focus on Yanek’s personal narrative about keeping his sense of identity and his will to survive. Each element of his story is important and vital for starting discussions, but it allows those discussions to be age-appropriate in a way few novels about the Holocaust are.




    This is not to say that Yanek’s narrative is not without its sense of the macabre. No story about the Holocaust can be without discussions of the gas chambers, the chimneys, the starvation, the cattle cars, the humiliation, and the sense of isolation that the Nazis utilized so well. Yanek witnesses and experiences things no one person should ever have to see in his or her life time, and he does not hide those experiences. Yet, as If to ease the emotional turmoil of his story, it is Yanek’s profound sense of identity and his all-encompassing drive to survive upon which a reader focuses his attention. It is this desire to live which leaves a reader filled with hope rather than despair.




    One grows up learning about the atrocities of various concentration camps – Birkenau, Bergin-Belsen, Dachau, Auschwitz, and too many more to name. The thought of someone surviving one of those locations is difficult to imagine, but to have survived living in ten different labor and death camps is unfathomable, which makes Yanek’s story so effective. If anyone has a complete understanding of the Nazi methodology and mindset, it would be someone who understood how to play their games and did so to survive almost unbeatable odds. Even though Mr. Gratz mentions that there is a fictional element behind his tale, Yanek’s story is still one of profound courage and strength of mind. The facts remain that Yanek Gruener survived not only the Krakow ghetto, he survived not one but two death marches, multiple journeys by overcrowded cattle car, labor camps, death camps, sadistic camp commandants, fellow prisoners, total starvation, and the mental and physical games the Nazis employed to further subjugate their prisoners. He not only survived but continues to share his story with others as a lesson in fortitude and human depravity. This is ultimately what makes Prisoner B-3087 so effective for readers of any age.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2014

    This novel about world war two is awsome, but tragic and sad.

    If you like to hear stories from people of world war two, this book is probably a "yes, definetly" choice! Its an awsome book, but also tragic and sad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2014

    I read this!

    It brought me to the edge of my seat! It was sad and intense but well written and on my favorites list. You should read this. WARNING!!! If you do not like things about the holocaust and Hitler then this isn't for you. This is also a true story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2014

    Wow

    Have u scrolled through the ratings??? Not ONE bad rating!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014

    Prisoner B3087

    Love love love

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2014

    Prisoner b-3087

    This is one of the best books that i have read great decriptions of the text and you can image every single thing that yanek is talking about also.great author :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2014

    B-3097

    This was the most incredible book I have read recently. It was a difficult time for the jewish people and this book most definitly portrayed that. This man was full of courage and strength. God blessed him with life after this horrible event. Praise the Lord he was able to see happiness after all that struggle. Great book and would recommend to anyone

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2014

    Pisoner B3087

    I loved thus book i read it last year if anyone is looking for a good book to read, read Prisoner B3087!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2014

    Great and sad story

    I loved this book but it was really sad

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    I really like this book

    Its awsome
    im single and ill take email plz

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    Prisoner B-3087

    Favorite book in the whole world, it shows a different side and tell different events that you wouldn't normaly picture when you think of the holocaust.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2014

    Wonderstruck

    I love this book sssssooooooo much. It is eally heartwarming and tells a great story of survival. Jade

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2014

    WOW

    This book was so good I fead it in one night

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews

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