The Lost Childhood: The Complete Memoir

( 8 )

Overview

This compelling memoir takes readers through the eyes of a child surviving World War II in Nazi-occupied Poland. As a nine-year-old, the author witnessed his father being herded into a truck—never to be seen again. He, his mother, and sister fled to Warsaw to live in disguise as Catholics under the noses of the Nazi SS, constantly fearful of discovery and persecution. A sobering reminder of the personal toll of the Holocaust on Jews during World War II, this book is a harrowing portrait of one child's ...

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The Lost Childhood: The Complete Memoir

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Overview

This compelling memoir takes readers through the eyes of a child surviving World War II in Nazi-occupied Poland. As a nine-year-old, the author witnessed his father being herded into a truck—never to be seen again. He, his mother, and sister fled to Warsaw to live in disguise as Catholics under the noses of the Nazi SS, constantly fearful of discovery and persecution. A sobering reminder of the personal toll of the Holocaust on Jews during World War II, this book is a harrowing portrait of one child's loss of innocence. This edition contains previously unpublished content from the original text.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For readers who have gone stale on the Holocaust, Nir's record of a child pursued will reawaken awareness, shock, understanding, and conscience."  —Cynthia Ozick, from the introduction

"Quite marvelous. I don't remember reading anything that tells the story so matter-of-factly. Its very lack of hype makes it so frightening and compelling."  —Hal Prince, Tony Award–winning producer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780971059863
  • Publisher: Schaffner Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 677,904
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Yehuda Nir is an associate professor of psychiatry at Cornell University Medical Center and a speaker and lecturer on the Holocaust, drawing largely from his own personal experiences. He and his wife, Bonnie Maslin, coauthored the book Patterns of Heartbreak. He lives in New York City. Cynthia Ozick is an award-winning novelist and essayist and a National Book Award Finalist in 2002 for her novel The Puttermesser Papers. She lives outside New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2010

    The story of a Jewish boy caught in the terror of the Holocaust.

    The Lost Childhood brings readers into the life of a young Jew during the Holocaust. Innocent Yehuda, along with his mother and sister, avoid death camps by creating new lives for themselves as Catholics. However, the danger is far from over as they could be discovered and turned in to die at any moment. They must discover how to earn the trust of those surrounding them, blend in, and, most importantly, survive. Yehuda continually demonstrates the major themes of determination, hope, and love as he fights for his right to survive. His hope for a better future is what allows him to continue moving when everything else seems to be falling apart; his determination to live drives him forward; and his love for his family gives him the added push as he fights to keep them alive with him. As soon as one of these qualities begins to waver, trouble arises for Yehuda and his family. Their lives are in peril until their determination to live and the hope for a better future returns. Throughout The Lost Childhood, I was continually surprised by the vivid details; it amazed me that the author was able to retain all of this information from his childhood and reform the memories onto paper. The family aspect to this story, the reliance and trust they placed in each other, was intriguing. It made me realize how precious family is to people and truly emphasized the idea that family members would do anything for each other, especially if placed in a life-threatening situation. My least favorite part of this book is the fact that it is entirely true. The Lost Childhood was the perfect title, Yehuda truly did have his childhood torn from him as he was forced to think and behave like an adult or die. I cannot even begin to fathom what it must have been like for him. While I admire Yehuda immensely for his unending courage and determination, I greatly dislike the fact that he had to endure this great pain just because he was a Jew. I would highly recommend this book to more mature readers, seeing as the content is serious and is not to be taken lightly. For those interested in the Holocaust it provides a different perspective from other books because it is told through the eyes of a child living and interacting with those who sought to kill him. However, if readers are looking for a lighter read, I would not recommend this book for them. If readers found this book appealing to their reading interests, I recommend that they look into other books regarding World War II and the Holocaust. Overall, The Lost Childhood was an awe-inspiring book about determination and hope that taught me to have patience and never give up even when it seems that nothing good could happen.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    In my opinion The Lost Childhood by Yehuda Nir was a great book

    In my opinion The Lost Childhood by Yehuda Nir was a great book. This book was a very coarse and honest view of WWII. I really enjoyed this book for many reasons; one of them being that it was a very personal memoir. I like this aspect of The Lost Childhood because it brought me right into the stressful situations that Yehuda had to go through, while trying to survive the war.
    Another reason I enjoyed this book so much was because Yehuda was about my age during WWII. This was interesting for me because it helped me really relate to Yehuda Nir’s feelings. Yehuda’s father and my father both died when we were about 11 years old. I find it so inspiring how Yehuda kept persevering after he lost his father. Not only did he persevere through losing his father, but he persevered through almost losing the rest of his family numerous times.
    Although this story was very good it was also very heavy. Yehuda painted graphic experiences in his story that really open my eyes to the terror of the Holocaust. Another aspect of this story that was especially good was that it was fast paced, and had many events. It kept me on my toes and made me want to keep reading.
    Even though this story was great, it was hard to understand at times. There were so many names and events to remember, but in the end it gave me a wide understanding of the war and how it affected everyone emotionally (including the Germans). Altogether I think this book should be read by more people because it makes learning about WWII a lot more interesting than just reading out a textbook. I believe this book is a great illustration of the every Jewish child’s mental struggle during the war and the hope they all shared. I couldn’t imagine having my childhood taken away from me in order to survive. Could You?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Living Through the War

    Yehuda Nir was a regular 11 year old Jewish boy, when the war started. His father was executed by the Germans, and Yehuda lived with his mother and sister from there on. Throughout the war he hid his identity and fought the Germans every way he could without killing himself or his family. He joined the Polish army, worked for Germans, and learns how to kill. Yehuda Nir and his remaining family made it through the war but not without losing there childhood innocence. Yehuda makes the theme of the story obvious: lost of innocence changes people beyond repair. Because of how many times Yehuda reminds us of certain details it is hard to be swept away by the book. Also Yehuda foreshadows what is going to happen to many times and to obviously. Though some parts are very captivating towards the end, overall it is a hard book to get through. Yehuda does do a very good job of making you understand the characters more than normal books. For example: by the end you could have known Lala, his sister, your whole life. Anyone who is interested in the holocaust should read this book; it gives you prime examples of what it was like to be a boy learning to survive the holocaust. But if you are not that interested in the holocaust then this will not be the book for you. Another book anyone might want to read would be ¿I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing up in the holocaust¿ by Livia Bitton-Jackson. She tells what it was like to live in the death camp called Auschwitz.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2008

    the lost childhood

    The Lost Childhood: A World War II Memoir by Yehuda Nir is an inspiring book. If you are interested in World War II and/or the Holocaust, this is a good book for you. Set in Poland during World War II, this book is a first hand account of how one boy, his sister Lala and his mother escaped from the Nazis. Filled with thoughts and feelings, this autobiography shows you the Holocaust through a young boy¿s eyes. It leaves you with a feeling of strength and it makes you feel that, like Yehuda Nir, you can get through any barrier or obstacle if you try hard enough. The Lost Childhood: A World War II Memoir is narrated in first person. The book tells the story of a young Polish Holocaust survivor and his family. In the beginning before the Soviet invasion Yehuda is the rich son of a carpet factory owner and lives in the town of Lwow in a large and luxurious apartment in a building that his father owns. Soon the Soviets invade Poland and Yehuda¿s father loses his company. The family is moved to a smaller apartment and Yehuda¿s father becomes a bookkeeper for the government while he sleeps at his friend¿s house at night after being accused of being a capitalist. Food was not in great supply during the Soviet invasion but the atmosphere was peaceful compared to what was to come. When the Germans invaded the situation became much worse. Yehuda¿s family had to turn in their radio, their only form of communication from the outside world. The Nazis started to filter out all of the Jewish people in Lwow, starting with the men. After a few months of the German occupation Yehuda¿s father was taken and, they found out later, he and several other Jewish men were brought out to the woods and shot with machine guns. Yehuda saw his father being led away and tried to follow him but a Nazi soldier pointed a gun at him and told him to go away. He knew his father had been killed but wouldn¿t admit it to himself and he wouldn¿t let his emotions take over because he knew he needed to survive. Yehuda, his sister and his mother got their old apartment back and had several roommates over time. When all of the Jewish people were being sent to the ghetto Lala¿s boyfriend, Ludwig, forged false Catholic identification papers for Yehuda¿s family and they fled to the nearby city of Krakow. On the way back from transporting a Jew with false papers Ludwig was killed by the Nazis. In Krakow, Yehuda lived an uneventful life. He was confined to the room he lived in and was not even known to be alive by the landlord. Though he had no contact with the outside world he still had problems. His mother, stuck with him inside most of the time was starting to get depressed. One day when Lala didn¿t come home from work, Yehuda¿s mother said she would kill herself. Luckily Lala came in before she left. Yehuda knew he could no longer rely on his mother for support, but he learned to cope, and fend for himself because he knew that the most important thing was to survive. Several months after they got to Krakow they went to Warsaw after a neighbor had told them that the landlord suspected they were Jewish. Though the neighbor may have been lying because she thought her husband had fallen in love with Yehuda¿s mother, they couldn¿t take the risk. When they went to Warsaw, Yehuda and his sister lived together in an apartment with several others, though because they were posing as Catholics with different last names they had to pretend they barely knew each other. Yehuda showed his true cunning as he had to pretend to be Catholic and make sure he was not found out to be a Jew. Yehuda¿s mother worked as a domestic and was abused by her employer. Soon she got a new job with a kind German and Yehuda got a job as a messenger to a German dentist that provided living quarters. So Yehuda was now 13, living by himself and working full time. He now lived close to his mother, who provided him with food she stole from her employer. Though he was still

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    A reviewer

    its a great book. it gives good detail of what the boy and his family had to endure to stay alive and hidden.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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