We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust

We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust

3.7 18
by Jacob Boas
     
 

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The five diarists in this book did not survive the war. But their words did. Each diary reveals one voice, one teenager coping with the impossible. We see David Rubinowicz struggling against fear and terror. Yitzhak Rudashevski shows us how Jews clung to culture, to learning, and to hope, until there was no hope at all. Moshe Ze'ev Flinker is the voice of religion,

Overview

The five diarists in this book did not survive the war. But their words did. Each diary reveals one voice, one teenager coping with the impossible. We see David Rubinowicz struggling against fear and terror. Yitzhak Rudashevski shows us how Jews clung to culture, to learning, and to hope, until there was no hope at all. Moshe Ze'ev Flinker is the voice of religion, constantly seeking answers from God for relentless tragedy. Eva Heyman demonstrates the unquenchable hunger for life that sustained her until the very last moment. And finally, Anne Frank reveals the largest truth they all left for us: Hitler could kill millions, but he could not destroy the human spirit. These stark accounts of how five young people faced the worst of human evil are a testament, and an inspiration, to the best of the human soul.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Holocaust survivor Boas bears powerful witness to what happened to ordinary families as they were crowded into the ghettos, persecuted, and murdered.” —Booklist, Starred Review

“The cumulative effect of the five journals is overwhelming.” —The Horn Book Magazine

“Boas brilliantly unfolds the history of the Holocaust through poignant excerpts from five teenagers' wartime diaries, enhanced with skillful commentary.” —Publishers Weekly

“A riveting collection of texts that, rather than variations on a theme, remain stubbornly individualistic, adding up to a stereoscopic vision of the Holocaust.” —Kirkus Reviews

“We are privy to the thoughts of five adolescents who wrote about, and then died because of, the Nazis' persecution of the Jews.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred Review

“Boas ably guides the reader through these literary landscapes of hell, where none of the writers survived. . . . [These] young people make the accounts more universal, and permit us to see the common humanity of each of these different witnesses.” —Jewish Bulletin

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312535674
Publisher:
Square Fish
Publication date:
03/17/2009
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
283,948
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
970L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Jacob Boas is a Holocaust survivor who was born in a concentration camp. He has a Ph.D. in modern European history and is a historian, writer, and translator. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife.

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We Are Witnesses 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
of-course More than 1 year ago
There's nothing else to say - just Powerful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a kid I read Anne Frank like most. Reading this was in my opinion better because it showed more that just one side. Different teens in different places all experiencing the same torment but looking at it in different ways. When I would stop reading I remembered that it was real and it did happen. It all seemed so surreal. It's scary to think that one man had so much power, one can only pray the world has learned from his torturous reign.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite the fact that there was a lot of commentary, this was a great book. It was heart touching and heart breaking to read these teenagers diaries. Reading some of the diary entries and quotes brought tears to my eyes. I was personally touched by all of the stories. The book makes me look at Anne's story in a whole new light as well. I wouldn't suggest this for an 8th grade class to read because understanding it means you have to dig deeper into the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved this book, but the fact that they kept having little informational parts was reeeally annoying, and they definitley should've put more in for anne frank then they did, but still, it was a pretty good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I normally love reading books about the Holocaust. This time it was very different. I started to read it and i had to read the first chapter about 3 or 4 times and i still dont get it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i thought that it would have more quotes from the diary than the explanation of how the germans eventually took over most countries.overall, it was okay it could have been better and i think we should all stick to reading the original diaries......
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book was meant for older folks because a lot of these words are hard to pronounce, and require dictionaries to understand whats being talked about. I liked the book. It definitly showed what it was like to be a Jew during the Holocaust.
Guest More than 1 year ago
ok..this is like a really heart breaking and a soul touching book...It is not something that an eight graders mind would understand but it is an amazing book!! People you should definitly read what these teenagers went through...It's a Gr8 book!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a great book. People realy should read it. Some peole may think they have it bad, but wait to you read this book about 5 innocent Jewish kids who have to suffer. No one can come close to thi much suffering. It is heart breaking. Please would you take the time to read about these suffering kids. ~!THANKS!~
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree with some of these guys. This book needs more diary entries and less 'research paper' material. We read it with our English group and we almost killed ourselves because of how boring it was.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was great, it helped you to understand what the teenagers were going through. I was a little hard to understand at some points and really hard to pronounce, but it was an excellent book
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book made me think long and hard about my values. I think these teenagers are revolutionary. I loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
We had to read this book for english and everyone in my group thought it was horrible. If you are in the 8 grade atleast. Please trust me. I did not have ebnouph of their feelings toward what they were going through. needed more diary enteries
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great because the details are so vivid and makes you feel their pain that they suffered.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We Are Witnesses by Jacob Boas is an inspirational book about hope during World War II. The diaries of five Jewish teenagers who lived during the Holocaust are compiled in this brilliant work of art. The book goes through the sacrifices each had to make and the hope they held on to in order to abide to Hitler¿s laws. We Are Witnesses goes in detail with their everyday lives and how they changed as Hitler¿s laws grew more intense. Each teenager lived in a different part of Europe so in turn experienced his wrath at different times. None of them were able to pull through however, so all that is left of them is their diaries. David Rubinowicz, Yitzhak Rudashevski, Moshe Flinker, Eva Heyman, and Anne Frank all had goals they wanted to achieve after the war was over. David wanted to move back to his house and run and play in their fields like he had done so many times before in his life. Yitzhak had dreams of studying until he could know no more. Moshe wanted to become the leader of his people in their own state. Eva wanted to once again live her mother, the most important person in her life. Anne wanted to become the best writer she could be. Each one believed they were going to have the chance to stay alive and live their dreams. ¿We now possess so much consciousness that we can say that we are not ashamed of our badges! Let those be ashamed who have hung them on us.¿ (47). They weren¿t going to let Hitler¿s new rules get them down, they were going to reverse the effect he was trying to get to show he couldn¿t win. Overall this book was very good. It gave insight into the Holocaust and taught you about it. Compiling the five different experiences was a great idea because it gave the viewpoints of many different perspectives. However, some people might not like reading the portions of diaries and then reading the author¿s viewpoint on each part. The author does do a lot of explaining of the changes Hitler was making at the time the diaries were being written, though, so it does help in understanding why they wrote what they did. Hope got these young people through the rough times in their lives, unfortunately it was unable to save them. We can use hope in our lives to keep us going and we don¿t have to worry about not being able to live our dreams and fulfill our goals. We need to take the opportunities in our lives and make full use of them, like the teens in this book would have.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is dedicated to the lost lives of these 5 children.I am a serious bookworm who is interested in the Holocaust because I live in Germany!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
if you understand and feel what the holocaust must have been like,you will enjoy reading this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an outstanding book. Even through thick and thin, hope still exists. Each individual count. They didn't put to much attention on Anne Frank and made every character important. Terrific, and it is as if I understood all five teenager's pains.