No matter how many times we've read the manifest, it's still impossible to become inured: mother perished at Auschwitz;...

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WITNESS TO THE TRUTH

No matter how many times we've read the manifest, it's still impossible to become inured: mother perished at Auschwitz; father killed; sisters, uncles, cousins, neighbors missing and presumed dead. And those who have borne witness to the Holocaust -- Ka-Tzetnik, Wiesel, Kosinski among them -- have added an artistic as well as a moral dimension to our understanding of the trauma. Yet the guilt at having survived which so many carry perhaps too heavily is disregarded and thereby somehow demeaned by this latest testimony. Shappel, born in the Upper Silesia region of Poland, was among the last from his village to be sent to the camps. Shrewd and cunning he befriended the occupiers, trading fabrics for favors for himself and friends -- ""favors"" being an extra crust of bread, one more day kept off the lists -- a guile that helped him survive Auschwitz and other horrors until the liberation, and again later as he emerged as a valuable leader among the homeless and wandering Displaced Persons. It remains a story of a people's courage and nobility -- and even the egocentricity of this account, as repugnant as it is, cannot diminish it.

Pub Date: April 22, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: McKay

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1974