A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 24 Dec 2013
When Thomas Buergenthal arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944, he was nearly placed in the line that head toward the gas chambers. Somehow, he was able to convince the man in charge that he could work, thus allowing him to survive the selection, and ultimately, survive the Holocaust. Aptly named A Lucky Child, this memoir of Buergenthal's told of his story. Although he was no Elie Wiesel, whose Night had since become among the most important memoirs of the Holocaust, unlike Wiesel, Buergenthal continued to convey his hopeful attitude through the entire book. While he spoke of those who sacrificed their sense of morality for self preservation, he also spoke of those threw bread into the open-air prisoner trains, a simple act that saved many. His narratives were unadorned and straight forward, but his story was a powerful one nevertheless. Buergenthal would later become a judge at the International Court of Justice, specializing in human rights law; through this book, I could appreciate how his difficult childhood gave him the motivation for his later career.
I had reviewed this book in its audio book format. Don Hagen did a good job reading, but what I enjoyed the most was the concluding chapter of the book, which was read by Buergenthal himself. It gave me the feeling that the author was passionate with this work, so much so that he wanted to personally tell the story.
A Lucky Child was not as elegantly written nor as powerful as some other Holocaust memoirs, but I had enjoyed it very much nevertheless.
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945