A New York Times bestseller
“Both moving and memorable, combining the emotional resolve of a memoir with the rhythm of a novel.” —New York Times Book Review
In 1945, in a now-famous piece of World War II archival footage, four-year-old Michael Bornstein was filmed by Soviet soldiers as he was carried out of Auschwitz in his grandmother’s arms. Survivors Club tells the unforgettable story of how a father’s courageous wit, a mother’s fierce love, and one perfectly timed illness saved his life, and how others in his family from Zarki, Poland, dodged death at the hands of the Nazis time and again with incredible deftness. Working from his own recollections as well as extensive interviews with relatives and survivors who knew the family, Michael relates his inspirational Holocaust survival story with the help of his daughter, Debbie Bornstein Holinstat. Shocking, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, this narrative nonfiction offers an indelible depiction of what happened to one Polish village in the wake of the German invasion in 1939.
This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.
A New York City Public Library Notable Best Book for Teens
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The horrors of World War II and the Jewish Holocaust are so unfathomable, they’re hard to think about. Written for older children, Survivors Club makes one family’s story specific, vivid, terrifying, and gripping. The book is based on Michael Bornstein’s experiences as a four-year-old Auschwitz survivor and his relatives’ own histories; he wrote it with his daughter after seeing his photo used on a Holocaust deniers’ website. Simply and beautifully written, this historical narrative feels important—a poignant reminder of calamity and its aftershocks.
After Bornstein discovered an image of himself as a child and other young Auschwitz survivors being used as Holocaust-denying propaganda, he resolved to research his history and share his memories. Assisted by his daughter Debbie, a news producer, he learned that out of 3,400 Jews living in Zarki, Poland, before the Holocaust, fewer than 30 survived, almost all from his family. Enhanced by meticulous archival research, Bornstein's story unfolds in novelistic form, beginning with the arrival of Nazi soldiers in Zarki in 1939. Through the retelling of harrowing eyewitness stories, the authors recount the increasing degradation, deprivation, and terror of Zarki's Jewish citizens, and the courageous attempts of Bornstein's father to save many neighbors from death. Bornstein's family's fight for survival included his aunt and uncle leaving their three-year-old daughter at a Catholic orphanage while hiding in a neighbor's attic; in Auschwitz, Bornstein's mother hid him in her barracks. The story of a silver kiddush cup, which Bornstein's father buried and his mother recovered after the war, bookends this moving memoir, an important witness to the capacity for human evil and resilience. Ages 10 14.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A very inspiring story about a family who never gave up. It was hard to put down. The strength and fortitude that this family put forth was beyond anything that I could imagine. The writing was well balanced and the lack of hatred towards people who harmed them is remarkable. Everyone should read this book to gain insight in how to overcome the worst thing imaginable.
Thank you Michael for telling your story. I remember meeting an uncle that still had his numbers when I was a kid. To my recollection he was at Auschwitz as well. Anyway my point is these are stories that are vital to share with the world so that we can never forget.
This is an extremely well written book and a very special story. I really wish I could meet this amazing family one day.
Everyone should read this book especially with what is going on in the world today. If you can read this and not feel any differently about life after then you will need to read it again.
Once again thank you Michael you have done the world a great service with your bravery in telling your story.