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I Did Not Want to Die: From Norway to Auschwitz

Robert Savosnick | As told to Hans Melien


IN SPITE OF IT ALL: Julius Paltiel - A Norwegian Jew in Auschwitz

Vera Komissar


A child’s cry pierces the stillness. The wail breaks the dismal silence that fell when the doors were locked. It’s as if the child’s tears give us all permission to let out our despair. Julius Paltiel grew up in Trondheim, Norway, where he lived with his mother and his brother. Like all the Jews of Norway, their lives changed forever when the Nazis came to power in April 1940. His arrest at the age of eighteen in 1942 marked the beginning of a journey of inconceivable horror and brutality in the Nazi concentration camps. Initially incarcerated in Falstad, a Nazi concentration camp in his native Norway, Julius Paltiel was then deported to Germany by sea in February 1943 before boarding a train to Auschwitz. He was selected for forced labor to work for IG Farben in Auschwitz III–Monowitz. In January 1945, he was sent on a death march to Buchenwald where he was liberated by U.S. forces on April 11, 1945. Julius Paltiel is one of the few Norwegian Jews who survived and returned from Auschwitz and one of the Jewish survivors who testified in the war crime trials against the Nazi perpetrators in Norway. He dedicated his life to the fight against antisemitism to ensure that such horrors would never happen again. As one of only a handful of Holocaust testimonies from Norway, In Spite of It All sheds light on Julius Paltiel’s personal ordeal to survive the Holocaust as well as on the Jewish persecution and murder of Norway’s Jewish community. This tale of survival also serves as a warning of the atrocities that are possible at the hands of ordinary human beings.


Inherited Words: A Testimony of Resilience

Zoltán Roth


There were many times when I felt an irresistible desire to stop, and those were moments that I had to really choose between fighting for life or not. My other option was to continue walking. It seems that struggling for the yet unlived part of my life was stronger. I didn’t stop.



Mama, It Will Be Alright

Sol Silberzweig


Menachem & Fred: Thoughts and Memories of Two Brothers

Frederick Raymes and Menachem Mayer


My Involuntary Journeys

Hanna Temkin


In My Involuntary Journeys, Hanna Temkin shares her story for the first time, shedding light on lesser-known aspects of Jewish life and survival in Eastern Europe before, during, and after the Holocaust. Moreover, Hanna’s story is an inspiring tale of female empowerment and serves as a testament to her ability to overcome the worst odds.



No Place for Tears: From Jedrzejów to Denmark

Sabina Rachel Kałowska


One Step Ahead: David J. Azrieli (Azrylewicz): Memoirs, 1939–1950

Danna J. Azrieli


Upon arriving at the kibbutz, after years of running and living in a constant state of fear and anxiety, I finally felt that I could unburden my heart and mind. I had dreamed of the day I would arrive, alive, in Eretz Israel. The constant stress of the last few years was made easier by my constant desire to achieve that goal. So, when I first arrived in the kibbutz dining hall, it was as if all my dreams had come true.

David J. Azrieli was born in 1922 in Maków Mazowiecki, Poland. Written by his daughter Danna, this gripping account of survival during World War II describes David’s extraordinary travels, always just one step ahead of life-threatening danger, which took him to the Soviet-occupied zones of Poland and later to Ukraine, Tashkent, and Buchara. He subsequently served in the Anders Army, before making his way from Baghdad to the frontiers of British-occupied Palestine.

The memoir chronicles David J. Azrieli’s arrival in Palestine, his studies at the Technion in Haifa, his experiences as a soldier in the War of Independence, and his realization that most of his immediate family had perished in the Holocaust. Azrieli finally settled in Canada in 1954. There he married his wife, Stephanie, and together they raised four children—Rafi, Sharon, Naomi, and Danna. This story of survival is all the more remarkable given Azrieli’s later achievements as a successful real estate developer and philanthropist. One of the economic giants of the Jewish world, his many developments changed the face of Israel and stand as a striking testament to the strength and courage of a boy whom Hitler could not defeat. The highlight of his activities is the establishment of the Canadian and Israeli Azrieli Foundations, which focus on improving the lives of present and future generations through education, research, healthcare, and arts.

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Remembering Regina: My Journey to Freedom

Fanny Bienenfeld Lust