A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy

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9781846681783: A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy
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At the age of seven Thomas Buergenthal was imprisoned in Nazi ghettos and camps, being rescued by Soviet and Polish troops when he was eleven. Separated from his parents in Auschwitz and surviving the 'Death March' of 1945 he was miraculously reunited with his mother a year and a half later. The rest of his family and almost all of his friends were killed.

After experiencing the turmoil of Europe's post-war years - from the Battle of Berlin, to a Jewish orphanage in Poland - Buergenthal went to America in the 1950s at the age of seventeen. He eventually became one of the world's leading experts on international law and human rights. His story of survival and his determination to use law and justice to prevent further genocide is an epic journey through 20th Century history.

Buergenthal gives his perspective - as a child - on life in the camps. And, uniquely, he shows how his past has informed his understanding of the modern day war-crimes he sees as a judge. His book is both a special historical document and a great literary achievement, comparable only to Primo Levi's masterpieces.

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There is a contrast between the horrors Buergenthal recounts and the positive tone of his memoir. He has waited more than 50 years to write A Lucky Child, and it is the detachment of distance, coupled with the author's gracious spirit, that steers the prose away from self-pity or anger ... It is what makes this memoir so rewarding: in the darkness, the indomitable spirit of the child (Genevieve Fox Telegraph 2009-01-10)

An understated and quietly powerful memoir ... not one to miss (Libby Purves Radio 4 Midweek)

Passionate and objective (Harry McGrath Sunday Herald 2009-01-18)

As understated and optimistic as it is harrowing (Christopher Hart Sunday Times 2009-01-18)

A tour de force: simply narrated, at times almost naïve - and even more shocking as a result (Camilla Long Sunday Times News Review 2009-01-18)

Thomas Buergenthal is not your average misery memoirist ... What he has to say, both in bearing witness to the Holocaust and in describing his moral coming-to-adulthood, deserves our attention. He has serious things to tell us about forgiveness, justice and the curious effect of deep trauma on the mind ... Buergenthal largely steers away from emotional theatrics ... his is an extraordinary story and he tells it straight ... A quietly courageous undertow to this story is Buergenthal's willingness to look this fact in the face: he doesn't flatter himself he was singled out by God, or destiny, to survive. Only chance separated him from the six million - and accepting that seems to underpin his humane understanding of the world (Sam Leith Daily Mail 2009-01-23)

Extraordinary and moving ... His memoir is a shining light in the darkness of history ... and a tribute to the irrepressible spirit and optimism of childhood. A book that just has to be read (Pam Norfolk Lancashire Evening Post 2009-01-21)

In the plainest words and the steadiest tones (as an intimate would speak deadly truth in the dead of night), Thomas Buergenthal delivers to us the child he once was: an unblemished little boy made human prey by Europe's indelible twentieth-century barbarism, a criminality that will never leave off its telling. History and memory fail to ebb; rather, they accelerate and proliferate, and Buergenthals voice is now more thunderous than ever. Pledged to universal human rights, he has turned a life of gratuitous deliverance into a work of visionary compassion. (Cynthia Ozick)

An extraordinary and inspiring book by an extraordinary and inspiring man. It's one of those rare books you devour cover to cover in a single reading. It deserves to be read very widely indeed, especially for anyone desperate for a hint of light in a world that can often seem so very dark. (Professor Philippe Sands QC)

It's a unique, almost magical story - the little boy is like a Kobold or goblin - or some wily younger son in a story by the Brothers Grimm. He survives by a mixture of cunning and sheer dumb luck - he experiences utter horror, but also extraordinary kindness and compassion. This book is also about the getting of wisdom, and young Tommy's determination not to let his dreadful experiences crush his essential humanity. (Kate Saunders)

Book Description:

Thomas Buergenthal is unique. He is a judge at the International Court in The Hague who was rescued from the death camps of Auschwitz at the age of eleven. In his funny and heartfelt memoirs, he tells the story of his extraordinary journey - from the horrors of Nazism to an investigation of modern day genocide.

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9780316339186: A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy

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