The Troubling but ultimately Triumphant Memoirs of Holocaust Survivor Hank Brodt
A story of resilience, Hank Brodt Holocaust Memoirs - A Candle and a Promise makes the memories of Holocaust survivor Hank Brodt come alive. It offers a detailed historical account of being a Jewish teenager under the Nazi regime, shedding light on sickening truths in an honest, matter-of-fact way.
Hank Brodt lived through one of the darkest periods of human history and survived the devastation of World War II. Born in 1925 into a poor family in Boryslaw (Poland), he was placed in a Jewish orphanage. Losing his family when the Germans invaded Poland, he waged a daily battle to survive. Moving from forced labor camps to concentration camps, one of which features in Schindler’s List, his world behind the barbed wire consisted of quiet resistance, invisible tears and silent cries for years on end.
This story of survival includes rare photographs from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum that powerfully illustrate these intimate and shocking memoirs. One recently discovered picture shows Hank Brodt in prison uniform removing the dead on carts at the liberated Ebensee concentration camp on May 7, 1945.
It is hard to believe that someone who endured such horrific events could go on to live a life of gratitude. Through his unwavering compassion towards others, Hank Brodt managed to keep his humanity and find a way to move forward. After the Second World War, Hank Brodt testified at the trial of Nazi war criminal Amon Goeth in Dachau, Germany. He has joined the March of the Living since 2006, walking from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Yom Hashoah to pay tribute to the millions that died. Lighting the candle, he made a promise to himself to always answer the call to talk.
Hank Brodt’s Holocaust memoirs are a necessary reminder of one of the ugliest times in the history of human civilization.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
1 − Witness and Survivor
2 − Family and Early Years
3 − A Mother’s Difficult Decision
4 − Orphanage
5 – Return Home, 1939
6 − My Crime
7 − Return of the Nazis
8 − Life Gets Worse
9 − A Mother’s Intuition
10 − Plaszow
11 − Number 12891
12 − One Day at Plaszow
13 − Children in Plaszow
14 − Wieliczka
15 − The Front Comes Closer
16 − Journey to Mauthausen
17 − Arbeit Macht Frei. Mauthausen
18 − Work in Mauthausen
19 − Melk
20 − Work Underground
21 − The Horror Continues
22 − Humanity Within the Barbed Wire
23 − Conversation with a German Officer
24 − Death March
25 − Ebensee
26 − Beginning of the End. The Tower of Babel
27 − Life Goes On
28 − Work and Housing
29 − The United States
30 − Greetings from Uncle Sam
31 − Our Life in a Nutshell
32 − The Search for Family
33 − March of the Living
Postscript − Personal Letters and Reflections from Loved Ones
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“A Candle and a Promise” contains sincere and emotional recollections of memories of a Holocaust survivor, as written down by his daughter. Any Holocaust memoir is as important as the previous one, as it is a story that must be told, over and over again. It is therefore all the more challenging to write a memoir that succeeds in shedding new light on the horrors of the Second World War and in particular the Holocaust. Unfortunately, the author sometimes tells too much and fails to instead show the reader the atrocities, as well as experiences, with which her father was confronted during these unimaginably cumbersome years. The story is weirdly wonderful and constantly intriguing, and you gain incredible respect for Henek (or Hank) Brodt; all the hardships he endured are so much worth telling and one cannot deny the weight of the narrative. However, the style of writing fails to enhance this feeling and leaves one wishing that if only the writing had been better, the book would have seriously increased in gravity and legibility. Take for instance Primo Levi’s 'Ecce un Uomo’ which draws you in entirely, vividly draws images of life in the concentration camps and provides its readers with a terrible feeling of powerlessness. “A Candle and a Promise” sometimes feels a bit dry, I got a feeling that not everything is shown and the author sometimes thought that a single sentence describing a certain situation or scene would suffice, which occasionally results in unawakened greater potential for impact. Nevertheless, the effort made by Donnelly is praiseworthy and she deserves all my respect. She attempted to lovingly record her father's memoirs and they are definitely worth the read; I personally finished the book in 2 days, simply because the attitude of Brodt is so praiseworthy; he appears very thankful and appreciative of life. This makes the story highly valuable and incredibly inspiring, in spite of the at times unfortunate style of writing. A nice addition in the epilogue are the letters of loved ones, family and friends, they are a resultant of the hopes and dreams to which the young Henek Brodt held on, and of his determination to live.
A memorable and moving testimony and a sensitive tribute to one man's humanity and will to survive
A candle and a promise is a great book for those who don’t just want to find out about how life was during the Holocaust but also how life was before and after. The colloquial language and the short chapters allow readers to be able to process the information easier. Overall I would give it a 4 / 5. I have been given Hank Brodt Holocaust memoirs in exchange for my honest review.