Taking Risks

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On the Night the SS Rounded Up the Jews of his Ukrainian ghetto, eighteen-year-old Yosel Epelbaum crawled on his hands and knees to a nearby forest. There he joined a diverse band of pro-Soviet partisans, led by a kind of warlord in the wilderness, who created a "forest republic" behind Nazi lines. With his courageous comrades, Epelbaum disrupted the German war effort for almost a year and a half and saved hundreds of civilians at the same time.

After the liberation, the young survivor became caught up in Europe's robust black market. With little money or formal education, and knowing no English, he immigrated to San Francisco in 1947 and within a year opened an ice cream shop in the city's outlying, foggy Sunset District. Only a decade later Joe Pell was well on his way to becoming one of the leading real estate developers in Northern California.

Taking Risks, related in a taut and vivid style, is his story-one of loss and torment but also daring, ingenuity, and uncommon resilience.

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What People Are Saying

David Biale
Through this life, so passionately told, we gain invaluable insight into some of the secrets of modern Jewish suffering and survival.
editor of Cultures of the Jews
Deborah Lipstadt
A powerful story about a powerful man, Joe Pell, gives new meaning to the word 'survivor.'
A powerful story about a powerful man, Joe Pell, gives new meaning to the word 'survivor.'
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571431165
  • Publisher: RDR Books
  • Publication date: 11/15/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Prologue: Nazi-Occupied Ukraine 1
1 Butcher's Boy 4
2 Out of Place 19
3 Life under Stalin 39
4 Purely by Chance 51
5 In the Partisans 68
6 My War 83
7 A Strange Freedom 111
8 Flimflam Man 123
9 Reading the Signs 147
10 Becoming Joe Pell 167
11 A Time to Build 184
12 My Family and My World 207
Epilogue 219
Afterword and Acknowledgments 225
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2005

    A must read for historians of WWII and the Holocaust

    Written in a vivid style, this work is both saddening and triumphant. His accounts of taking revenge against those who had destroyed his family and his people will have you cheering while you read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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